About us

Ming Thein new headshot border

Ming Thein

Armed with a camera since 16, my photographic career has spanned many subjects. Photography is beyond a job for me: it’s a passion. Actually, until early 2012, it was a full time passion and a part time job; I’ve shot commercial assignments on and off for the last eight years, but went full time in 2012. I’m a physicist by training – I graduated from Oxford at 16 – and subsequently left a senior corporate career in M&A/ private equity (and more recently, as a senior exec director of McDonalds) because it simply wasn’t what I wanted to do, and so far, have been lucky enough not to regret it.

This of course means it’s very important to photograph the things you’re passionate about in their own right. Every photographer aims to find a unique look to their images in order to create a signature look for their clients. I take inspiration from many sources – classical photojournalism, abstract art, motion picture and film – to deliver a unique look and style for my clients. Natural color and dynamic lighting create a strong positive emotion in the viewer, which in turn makes the subject of the photograph – your product or service – memorable. I work on location with both available light and controlled lighting, depending on the needs of the client and subject.

I am a commercial photographer specialising in product photography on location and corporate reportage. Lately, I’ve also served as creative consultant and director to ensure a consistent visual look and feel across all aspects of a campaign, including video/ commercials, printed materials and exhibitions – right down to lighting design. It’s no longer just about the visuals: it’s about the experience and the emotion, too.

I have a diverse international client base including Koenigsegg, Nissan, Chun Wo Engineering and Construction, Jaeger Le-Coultre, Van Cleef & Arpels, Maitres du Temps, Richemont, the Swatch Group, Hijjas Kasturi Architects, Tange Associates Architects, Sunway Group, Maybank, Eastern & Oriental, The Boston Consulting Group, several Michelin star chefs including Fergus Henderson and Bruno Menard, The City of London and Moon Travel Guides. I also maintain an extensive library of over 250,000 high-resolution images available to license, both directly and via Getty Images. For 5 years, I was Contributing Editor to CLICK! Magazine, Malaysia and Editor for 2010. I was appointed a Hasselblad Global Ambassador in 2016, and served as Chief of Strategy at Hasselblad and Advisor to the Board of DJI from 2017-18. I am also a Nikon Professional Services member in the UK and was a consultant to Carl Zeiss AG.

Please do not hesitate to contact me to discuss a project, request a quote, or a specific portfolio of images. In addition, limited edition fine art prints are available from time to time directly via this site.

Ming Thein
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Email: mingthein@gmail.com
Ming Thein on Getty Images

Please note that I cannot answer ‘what should I buy’ questions. There is no right answer to this question – every person’s needs and shooting styles will be different. There are also pages and pages of reviews on this site, along with the recommended equipment list to help you decide for yourself.

Exhibitions/ In the media:
The Idea of Man, Part II, the Ilford Galerie, Kuala Lumpur (20 Jan-20 Feb 2018)
Un/Natural, with Stephen King, Alisan Fine Arts, Hong Kong (5 Dec 2015-15 Jan 2016)
– ‘The Idea of Man’, The Rangefinder Gallery, Chicago (2-31 Oct 2015)
‘Connection’, Hong Kong Arts Centre, Hong Kong, (11-17 June 2015)
‘Engineering Art in Metal’, The Centre for Asian Photographers, Kuala Lumpur (3-31 Jan 2014)
Interviewed on the official Carl Zeiss blog on food photography (14 Oct 2013)
DSLR Magazine, cover interview/ featured photographer (Feb 2013 edition)
‘Diametric opposites: East and West’, Leica Gallery Starhill, Kuala Lumpur (18 Jan-18 April 2013)
– New York Times/ International Herald Tribune – interviewed on watch photography (24 Nov 2012)
The official Leica Camera Blog – interview/ featured photographer (8 Nov 2012)
BFM 89.9 Tech Talk on Photokina 2012 (8 October 2012)
BFM 89.9 Tech Talk on photography (29 June 2012)
BFM 89.9 Careers unusual (4 May 2012)
The Edge Malaysia, p Op18 (July 2-8 Edition)
Horological photography exhibition sponsored by Jaeger Le-Coultre and Leica Camera, at Starhill Gallery (May 2012)
The Malaysian Reserve – commentary on democratisation of the industry and local support in Malaysia (14 Sep 2012)



Robin Wong bw

Robin Wong

I am a photography enthusiast who believes that photography is a lifestyle and a personal creative expression. I discovered photography at the start of my civil engineering career, as an artistic balance to an overwhelmingly technical world. Through photography, I have found so much joy in the process of shooting and sharing my photography journey through my blog, robinwong.blogspot.com. My blog has eventually grown from random photography musings to photography reviews, unexpectedly gaining audience along the way. I have reviewed primarily Micro Four Thirds system cameras and lenses. I was particularly known for adopting a less technical approach in my product review articles and focusing more on user experience and photography heavy approach instead.

Subsequently I left my engineering career when I found an opportunity to utilize my photography skills that can contribute positively to a camera company business. I officially joined Olympus Malaysia as a product specialist, providing consultation on consumer photography behaviour; organizing consumer related activities and events and supported the sales and marketing team. During my time with Olympus, I have the privilege to work with several leaders and experts in the local photography industry, and have gained much knowledge and experience on overall imaging business in Malaysia.

I have left Olympus Malaysia to explore the world of photography without being tied to a single camera brand. With this newfound freedom, I want to spend more time doing what I love doing, shooting more photographs and write passionately about my photography. I shoot street photography, portraiture, insect macro and urban landscape.

I personally believe that having fun is the most important thing to do in photography as a hobby. I have coined the phrase “shutter therapy” which simply means, having an enjoyable time doing a photo walk, either by yourself or with a small group of friends. The mission of my old blog was to spread the love and joy of photography, infect my readers with the passion to go out and shoot, and to motivate everyone to grow in photography. As I migrate to Ming Thein’s site, that mission remains the same for me, and shutter therapy goes on.

Robin Wong
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Email: hamish7ian@gmail.com
Legacy site and archive


  1. Hi Ming,
    Love your contributions to photography.
    On your Monochrome Master Class, how familiar with Photoshop should a person be to get the most out of the course?
    I’ve been using Lightroom for several years but want to step up my B&W image making skills. I have a very rudimentary knowledge of how to navigate and do very basic things in PS.


  2. Kevin Leopard says:

    Have you done a review of the Leica CL? If not, do you foresee doing one? Thank you.

  3. Hello Meng, I’m a semi-pro landscape photographer and have followed and have been inspired by your work and articles for many years. Let me start by thanking you. I was also heartened when you joined DJI to rescue Hasselblad. In large part I suspect it was you that helped much of the potential of the wonderful X1D camera to be realized. I’ve been shooting with an X1D now for about six months and I have a favor to ask of you if you still have any influence or connection with DJI since you departed, a sad event for all of us. It would be awesome for Hassie to adopt the .DNG universal RAW format like Leica. Many of us do not love Lightroom and prefer to use non-database developers. But few of the non mainstream but great developer programs have the resources to support the Hasselblad format. In the event you do have any contact with DJI the suggestion that DNG would be a huge boon to all of us loyal Hassie fans would be greatly appreciated. I’d suspect that it would increase sales on this great camera also.
    Thank you for reading this.

  4. Love this blog. You’re the best! 🙂

  5. David Harry Olson says:

    I am reading a lot of your site and your various opinions. I like your honesty and deeper/searching mode of thinking.

    Most people are conscious of some sort of reality. But that consciousness can be quite different for each individual. Photography and the Arts stay alive because of the explorers of reality. “Me too”, in contrast, is a ball and chain.

    Thanks for sharing your view.

  6. Mike Reid says:

    Ming, so much of worth in your site, so much good advice, words of wisdom and inspiration. You’ve definitely influenced how I see.
    But now to my difficult question. I read a quote of yours from years back on how you don’t like changing workflow, well neither do I, to the point that I’ve put it off for years. Having now moved to a Nikon D810 from previous models, I have to let go of Nikon Capture NX2, question is where do I jump to. Trialling pretty much all the options right now, all have their pros and cons, some easier to get my head around than others. Question is, if you were starting again, post processing wise, would you go down the Adobe route or the Capture One road. For a long time amateur hobbyist come landscape photographer.

  7. Ming,
    I just got done reading one of your articles on Black and White conversion. You are talking about that color digital done in RAW probably all will render the same results after processing In programs like photoshop. If you don’t mind I have the following question.

    1. do you think your theory holds true for cameras with CCD sensors or is that just true for CMOS? I say this because so many people love the look of the Leica M8 for its sensor and I can’t imagine they are just using JPEG.

    • Different native tonal response and different amounts of processing latitude, but you can get pretty close. TheM8 is slightly different as it’s also recording near IR through its famously weak filter pack; this tends to give more luminous shadows. Modern color only cameras try to filter out as much IR as possible, however this is offset by a lot more dynamic range so you have more latitude for recovery in the shadows – just different processing is required.

  8. Just want to say “Happy New Year”.
    Tried you contact email but it was not the way to go.

  9. Michael Cogen says:

    Has Hasselblad announced a release date for a 62mm lens for the X1D?

  10. Ming,

    Purchaser of many of your video series here. Re Workflow III, any help for us poor users of the “low dynamic range” Nikon D5? Failing a brand new ACR profile from you (please!) what would be the closest to use, and what tweeks to that would be best?


    • The Nikon 24MP FF profile is most similar in color response; the profile isn’t affected that much by low dynamic range – it’s more how much you can pull the exposure and recovery sliders if you need to…

  11. Incredibly impressive work. Photography is still a hobby for me, but one I hope to continually develop. I just discovered your site and I look forward to seeing more of your work.

  12. Ming, your Blog has been a great read for its technical savvy and philosophical wisdom about photography. It stands out amidst a blizzard of uninformed advice, and has prompted me to start my own Blog (www.bevdigital.wordpress.com). If I can help in any way, let me know–I owned a commercial studio for decades and continue to be interested in advancing photography on a professional level.

  13. Neil Brown says:

    Hi Ming,

    Great videos, photos and thoughts! Thank you. It’s also fabulous to see you move into the Chief of Strategy role at Hasselblad.

    Amongst other things, your review of the X1D helped me decide that the X1D would be good for me; though I still await delivery. I have read a number of other people’s reviews and I have a concern that I wondered if you might be able to help with. The Nikon D4 is my workhorse and Dance photography is my passion. The environment is often dark and obviously the dancers are moving (sometimes fast). Is the X1D likely to work well in these conditions? Other reviews seem to imply that the delay in shutter might cause me problems.

    Your thoughts would be most welcome.

    Kindest regards, Neil

    • Thanks. Short answer – you can use it in these situations but like all medium format cameras, some anticipation is required mainly for focusing rather than shutter lag (which I think is still present, but low enough that it isn’t usually an issue). We have to remember that the (2013 era!) sensor was never designed for live view AF, and both Fuji and Hasselblad implementations have to work creatively around this to focus at all…

  14. Dirk De Paepe says:

    Hello Ming,
    I just made a (terrible) mistake. One of my pictures that was selected by you to appear in your “The Reader’s Portfolio” was accidently deleted from the group by me. I thought to arrive at your account by clicking on the button, but apparently it just deleted the picture from the group. (What was I thinking?!!) Of course I re-clicked immediately before leaving that window, but the sign appeared that the picture needed approval by you (as all new pictures get this message). I really hope that you can re-allow this picture in the portfolio, Ming. The picture in question is titled: “Spectacle__Cheer”.

  15. Did you ever write the second part of Photography and Psychology: It’s All a Mind Game? I enjoyed the post and would like to read the follow up if it out there.

  16. Ong Kai Kiong says:

    Hi! Ming,

    Will you be conducting workshop in Tokyo for 2017? I would love to attend. Cheers

  17. Hello Ming,

    I just purchased your workflow III package, and after downloading the first video I received a message that the file had a virus or malware. Could this be possible? Or is my system seeing something as a virus that really is not?

    Thank you!

  18. Hi Ming,
    I’m interested in getting the new Hasselblad X1D and found your tutorials and site, which were very helpful, during my research.
    I have a technical question which I can’t fully wrap my head around and was wondering if you could clarify things for me.
    It’s the field of view difference/conversion from 4:3 medium format to 3:2 35mm.
    Essentially I need to get as close as I can to what a 16mm lens on a full frame DSLR gives me, by using the X1D. If I go by the formula that an 85mm lens on a medium format 4:3 sensor equals roughly a 50mm lens on a full frame DSLR, then the new XCD 30mm lens should equal a 17.6mm lens on a D810, for example.
    Assuming that the above is correct and since I don’t have the equipment to visually test, here is my question: As an example, if I am a given distance from my subject with a D810 and a 16mm lens and my subject horizontally spans exactly from the left edge to the right edge of my frame; will I see my subject more or less similarly from edge to edge of frame if I switch cameras in the same location to an X1D and its 30mm lens? With more space on top and bottom, of course.
    Sorry for the long question, hope it makes sense.

  19. Hey Ming, are you related to Ming Smith? Check out her photos in today’s NYTimes. In Multimedia/photos section ‘ghost photos”.
    Great stuff. . . .

  20. Herbert Brauer says:

    Hi Ming,

    I enjoy your site for it’s excellent content and professional opinion. I’m wishing you a really good 2017!

    May I ask you for a quick response as to why you never considered the Nikon 28mm 2.8 manual lens? I believe it’s extremely sharp and still relevant in today’s digital world. Personally I agree with your opinion about the Zeiss 28 f2, I certainly prefer it’s bokeh as well. Just wondering as I want to buy a 28mm manual focus.

    Many thanks,


  21. Edwwin waddel says:

    Ming you ever try the fuji Cameras and what you think of them…i am thinking of switching back to my D810 for macro, is it worth the hassle i love the fuji’s and the format, But DSL’s just cant be beat with speed to burn AF and IQ”

    • Yes, I owned an XT1 for a while and didn’t really get along with it. For small/fast/compact, I’d go M4/3, and for versatile, up a size – APSC sort of sits in no-mans’ land.

  22. Hi Ming,
    I was just wondering if you’ve written an article on how your passion for photography began and how you got to where you are today, career-wise? If so, could you send me the link? Thanks, your photos are so inspiring!

  23. Scott Root says:

    I purchased and use many aspects of your Bridge/Camera Raw/Photoshop workflow that is second to none in teasing out true-to-life subtleties in contrast, and that makes all the difference. I’m tired of pop culture norms vying for a second look–eye-candy glitter, surreal saturation, the photo-shopped straightened nose. Contrast is a close cousin to imperfection, and both accentuate a theme and beauty just like a good cup of coffee that is just bitter enough to bring out its subtlety of flavors. Subtleties in contrast is what makes my pictures now work. Take contrast too far and it looks unbelievable and a desperate grope for attention. Keep it subtle and it pops. It’s difficult to get right because contrast is relative. A neon light does not stand out in Las Vegas, but candlelight can pull us towards what it illuminates in a most powerful manner if the contrast is right. This is true in photography and is true with most aspects of the human experience. A great story hinges on contrast–good vs evil, man vs beast, beauty and the beast. Take the contrast of a story line to an absurd level and you lose your audience. Keep the contrast of the story line on the bleeding edge and you have a best seller. Humor works due to contrast–stupidity is funny because we know what is normal, irony makes us cringe because we know what should have happened. I’ve often wondered if mankind’s uncanny attraction to contrast has something to do with peripheral vision that is filled in by the brain with items in our peripheral vision deserving a second look when we notice contrast in color, intensity, or movement. And, just like our peripheral vision that is not in our face, contrast works best when subtle; beyond which it is not believable and boring like a blockbuster Hollywood movie that takes violence to a melodramatic level. Overfed, over-served, overindulged, over-sexed, franchised food, sugar and creamer supersaturated coffee–it’s all the same in being aesthetically empty. The mass media arms race for our attention has generated a grotesque genre involving too much bling, which makes your organic approach to photography so refreshing in this day and age. Thank you for what you do.
    Dr. Scott Root

  24. Manisha Sharma says:

    Hi Ming,

    I read your article on ethics of random street photography. I’ve been capturing people in touristy locations or places I lived in. By now I have some good collection and these days I do editing as well. Basically I want to start posting photos on Twitter and facebook. Recently I found a photo that I took of a bride who was on her photo shoot in Prague at the castle which is heavily flocked by people during open hours. Of course it was a stealthy capture and quick one, while I was covering the castle. Can I post it? The bride and groom are totally anonymous to me and I am just a photographer, not even professional. Photography is my hobby.

    Thank you!


  1. […] When I was first learning watch photography, and trying to figure out what equipment to use and how to light watch photos, I ended up on his site often, and we even spoke a few times, me usually asking him questions about photography. So, it comes as no surprise to me, that he’s currently the Chief of Strategy at Hasselblad and a commercial photographer, which you can read more about here. […]

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