Ming Thein’s Photography Compendium for iPad


Six months in the making, I’m proud to present Ming Thein’s Photography Compendium: an iPad app like no other. It’s not for taking pictures or processing: it’s for learning and reading on the go, and all content is also retina-display native. It’s now available for $1.99 on the Apple App Store:


The Homepage aggregates the latest posts from the site, images from my photostream on Flickr, as well as the latest video tutorial content. Think of it like the Huffington Post, but for photography – it of course updates by itself every time there’s new content, too.


On the bottom tab bar, the Dictionary icon takes you to a searchable lexicon of photographic terms – if you’ve ever wondered what the difference between longitudinal and lateral chromatic aberration is, here’s the place to find out. If I’ve missed something, you can also request a definition. Drag and release to update the list and contents – same for the blog aggregator, Camerapedia and video list, too. The dictionary content is available exclusively through the app only.


The blog tab is an offline aggregator for recent posts – you can load up the most recent posts to read on the go when you don’t have an internet connection. It also includes a mini-browser that activates whenever external links are in play.


For everybody who’s been asking for digital delivery of the Photoshop Workflow DVD and Leica M-Monochrom workflow DVD, both are now available as a HD download through the app. There are also all-new and more detailed video segments; and there will of course be more videos over time with several currently in the works. (The physical DVDs continue to be available in the normal way at the previous links for those who don’t have iPads or prefer to have a physical disc.)


Finally, we’ve translated the CAMERAPEDIA! into a searchable database of equipment. Tempted to buy something during your next camera store visit? Check out my opinion first.

If you have any feedback or questions about the app, you can contact me here.


Visit our Teaching Store to up your photographic game – including Photoshop Workflow DVDs and customized Email School of Photography; or go mobile with the Photography Compendium for iPad. You can also get your gear from B&H and Amazon. Prices are the same as normal, however a small portion of your purchase value is referred back to me. Thanks!

Don’t forget to like us on Facebook and join the reader Flickr group!


Images and content copyright Ming Thein | mingthein.com 2012 onwards. All rights reserved


  1. Paul Bingham says:

    I think you misunderstood my post. I know that it is your real name, however, I have a different name that I use when when I tell my wife that we have rec,d a new posting. We refer to each person we subscribe to by a pet name or pseudonym. I seem to have made this complicated and in my first comment I spelled genius wrong. Sorry about that. Please no need to respond. Let’s leave it there. It may be an age thing as I turn 71 in a few days. And I do understand that the compendium is gone and not available for purchase.

  2. Paul Bingham says:

    I can’t say that I am not disappointed. It appears to that it is still being sold? However, I did not test to see if I could buy it. I will continue to read your blog on gmail. I just say to my wife, “hey Kid, here is another post from the Genious.” And Never condescendingly. Works for me as many times it appears that way. So in our house that is how you are known. I am just stating fact. I don’t subscribe to many and each one has their own name that is not their name. Please keep posting your great work. We read them all.

    All the best.


    • It’s not, we took it down because it just became financially impractical to keep supporting – and never turned a profit to begin with, to be honest. Sorry about that as the email list will continue to be the main update method. And yes, it’s my real name 🙂

  3. Sebastian Trzaska says:

    Hi Ming! Thanks for all the great content and inspiring photos on your website!

    I bought the ipad app and purchased the video for color correction, but I it gives me an error (NSURLErrorDomain error 403.) when I try to download it. I have enough space on my ipad, and I tried reinstalling the compendium, but I still get the same error. Any suggestions?


  4. HE Bjoergan says:

    Hi Ming!
    I bought the iPad App to my iPad Air yesterday, through App Store. There’s a problem, no videos can be bought because my App ID and password are not found(?)
    The app has been removed and reinstalled without solving the problem…..My App ID and password works perfectly fine wen checking.
    Any suggestion?

  5. abouna2 says:


    We bought the whole Compendium/In-App add on’s a couple years ago. Unfortunately we no longer have an iPad. Are we out of luck?

  6. Wow! Only just found your site today. What a great repository of learning and awesome photos. I have bookmarked you and look forward to plenty more interesting articles in the future.


  7. Owen Lam says:

    Thanks for a wonderful informative site. Enjoy reading all your stuff. I’ve purchase the app to show support 😉 Look to improving my photos

  8. Hei Ming, the processing of color pictures is including in in-app purchase? Is the video courses same as the video in teaching store yours? And I read that you made camera profiles for getting same looking in pics, are these profile include in the teaching store packs? I use EM-5 and A99 now.

    • No, we’ve stopped supporting the iPad app because of the enormous ‘apple tax’ levied, plus the number of variations of hardware/ software is just too many to economically support. Please purchase the videos from the teaching store. I do not provide colour calibration profiles, those have to be done for individual cameras and to suit your workflow/ style – it wouldn’t make any sense.

      • Thanks for reply, for color photo processing in Photoshop, which EP shall I purchase? Do you also use Lightroom to adjust RAW pics?

        • Intro to PS workflow and Outstanding Images Ep.5, processing for style.

          I don’t use LR as part of my main workflow because it doesn’t give me enough control for some things like dodging and burning.

  9. Steve Jones says:

    Ming do you plan to update the camerapedia? I noticed after refresh that the OMD EM1 and 12 – 40 zoom doesn’t seem to be included yet.

  10. Vishal Bondwal says:

    Hi, I didn’t get much time for photography these past few months, and tried to resolve the video-not-saved bug only now. The method you’ve described earlier on this page, of deleting the app, reinstalling, and then restoring purchases, isn’t working unfortunately. Tried it twice, on different days. The old videos still vanish when I download new ones, or even when I switch to another app and return to the Compendium. I use the retina-display “new iPad” that was launched sometime in 2012, with iOS 5.1.1 . The videos are informative and helpful, it is painful to find them gone whenever I need to refer to them. Downloading every time I want to watch is generally too inconvenient since am not always near high-speed wifi, plus have download quotas. The videos must necessarily be downloaded in HD quality, which increases the size and time taken. Please get the app updated if possible.

    • Try updating your software to the latest version of iOS. We’ve been using the same iPad running 6+ with no problems. I suspect it’s something in that particular version which isn’t playing nice with the back end, but with millions of lines of code combined to debug in iOS/the app, it’s not exactly easy or cheap, sorry!

      • Vishal Bondwal says:

        Thanks for the quick, and frank, response (better than a diplomatic “we’re working on it”). If the videos work after updating, then no problem. It is reasonable for the programmers to assume the users will be on the latest OS.
        P.S. lovely OM-D (M1) review.

        • There are only two of us producing this entire site, the videos, the app, the store, and commercial photography, so as you might imagine – resources are somewhat limited 🙂

          • Vishal Bondwal says:

            Hey again, I finally got around to updating my iOS. Got the latest one, i.e. iOS7, and unfortunately the app still has the bug. I deleted and redownloaded it, then restored purchases, and downloaded two (of the seven purchased) videos. As before, the “Play” bar for the first video vanished after the second one had been downloaded. When I click on the download button again (in the first one) it says, “Are you sure you want to download the video again?” This indicates the video is still on the device and the app can access it, it’s just the absence of the playing interface that makes it unusable. I don’t think it’ll be a major bug, please get your two-man army to spend the few hours it would take to fix it. Else my thirty bucks go waste, which I can live with (what option do I have anyway), though it’ll be harder to live with this OS update, looks like was designed by a tween on a sugar rush.

            • Do you have enough free space on your device?

              It’s not a simple fix. We’ve spent considerable time trying to resolve the issue, have managed for some os/hardware combinations, but not all – there are no apparent differences in the code, but obviously Apple isn’t telling us everything. Bottom line: we’re trying. Sorry.

              • Vishal Bondwal says:

                Yes, have several gigs free, is a 64 GB iPad. Anyway, don’t worry about it too much then, focus on writing good articles. I can at least download and watch the vids when the situation allows, so it’s not entirely a waste. As an ex-hacker (in the original meaning of the term) since the days of DOS, I can empathise with what you say about Apple. They treat users like idiots. Give absolutely no control. I just discovered my playlists have been wiped after the OS upgrade. We can but shrug and move on (to Android).

                • Well, if you happen to have any insights into what might be the issue, they’d be much appreciated! We’re looking and looking…but there are seriously so many HW/SW combinations to debug it’s a nightmare. Which specific ipad model are you using?

                  • Vishal Bondwal says:

                    The model it is telling me in the General>About tab is MD368HN/A
                    I haven’t ever done any coding for Apple, so can only give the general principle of debugging, which you would already know: start ab initio and change one variable at a time. I.e. On all device configurations that are giving you trouble, get into as clean a state (slate?) as possible (might need a hard reset) and see if your app works, and continues to work or not as you toggle different settings and launch various other apps. On the forums, people have found that having “Find my iPhone” set to off or on changes whether their music gets wiped out, others say having or not having the device set to auto-lock (after idle) affects if music syncs with iTunes. This just shows how crazy unwanted interferences can be. It’s not going to be a cakewalk, but you have already established that. In any case, best of luck.

  11. Vishal Bondwal says:

    Thanks Ming! Got the sharpening video first for a test run, and was amazed at how much I didn’t know about this ‘simple’ tool. Since then I’ve been buying them one-by-one and now almost all are done. Came here to find out how to resolve the deleted-after-watching issue, and found the solution. You manage to compress a lot of helpful stuff in 8 minutes. The Camerapedia and gear list runs smoothly and is very interesting as well. Thanks.
    (P.S. there were some comments somewhere with people asking for a ‘trailer’ for your Photoshop Workflow DVD. Maybe you could ask them to get the much cheaper app+single video and take it out for a test ride.)

    • Thanks for letting me know! There’s now a workshop trailer, so I feel the need for a ‘demo run’ is amply satisfied – plus of course there are large numbers of happy testimonials from the buyer pool…

  12. would love a version of this app on my mac as i don’t use iPad (yet)…

    • Hmm…the app-specific content is the dictionary, offline reader and ability to purchase things directly. I can supply you with all of those if you need in a format that’s mac-friendly – shoot me an email. (Actually, the videos are available via the store).

  13. Hi there,

    I seem to be having difficulty viewing the videos. I have purchased the Sharpening, Color Correction and Basic Workflow vids. All seem to download correctly but have no audio? The sharpening video worked correctly yesterday prior to reinstalling the compendium to resolve the redownload on every view issue, now none of the videos have any audio. (To avoid the obvious ones, yes, the audio level on the ipad is high enough, no, it isn’t muted, youtube works correctly)


  14. Hi Ming, great videos. It seems the videos don’t stay on the iPad once downloaded. If I want to watch them again, they get downloaded again. Is this supposed to be like that? Any tricks to keep them on on the iPad and save download quota?

    • Oops, that shouldn’t be the case. We have a bug with a couple of hardware and iOS combinations – fortunately it’s solved by deleting the app, then hitting restore purchases. They should save permanently after that if you have enough space; needless to say downloads are best done over wifi.

  15. Hi Ming, I’m very close to ordering the workflow video on the iPad app. In the comments for the workflow DVD post, you mention that the Quicktime files are huge because they’re encoded at a quality level that lets us see the effects of your processing. Is the iPad video of similar quality, or would one be better off ordering the DVD? Thanks!

    • There’s a tiny bit of compression applied to the ipad app in order to make it easily distributable, and it doesn’t run at native screen resolution (but there is a retina-native version) – so it’s really up to you. If you’d like that extra bit of quality, then the DVD is the way to go, if not, then the ipad video is available immediately. 🙂

      • Perfect! So when I produce my usual mediocre pictures, I can blame the fact I got the iPad version instead of the DVD. 😉 Serious question: is the current iPad video at Retina resolution, or are you saying there is a Retina iPad version coming in the future?

      • OK, got it. Thanks. I just ordered it last night, and it looks pretty good.

  16. Yee Meen Chai says:

    Will the digital downloads work on a regular Apple computer running iTunes?

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