My virtual mentors are my angels: great inspiration for creative minds

First, I’d like to mention two wonderful and very powerful editing softwares that I’ve been using in addition to Lightroom. I’m not getting paid to advertise for them, so you can trust me! These tools are Silver Efex Pro and Exposure X. You can try both for free for two weeks too!

Here are two portraits I had originally shot in color once I put them through Silver Efex Pro:


Now, as I am in the process of building a new website dedicated to my photography and since I am a Youtube nut, I wanted to share some really inspiring people and videos with you. Coming across this material and “meeting” these people has truly helped me with my creative process.

I was telling my friend Mimi (my photo buddy) that I feel especially inspired by three photographers these days: Parker J. Pfister, Ben Christensen and Julien Payette-Tessier.

Make sure you check out Chase Jarvis’ Youtube channel. Especially his interview sessions. Some of my favorites are the ones he did with Julien Smith and Brenée Brown… Great resources for creative minds!!!_MG_6032

Anyway, here are some links to some great videos and websites.

Parker J. Pfister working on black & white

Parker J. Pfister photos

Ben Christensen photos


Julien Payette-Tessier

Really great light tutorial!!!

Improve your food photography

How to learn with Chase Jarvis

Chase Jarvis and Julien Smith

Go check these out and have yourself a great creative week!!

38 Comments Add yours

  1. chef mimi says:

    Can’t wait to check these out, and I look forward to your new website. Now that all of my family has left, I’ll have time to watch videos. Hope 2016 is wonderful for you, glad we survived the holidays!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      You must have read my mind. I was going to send you my best wishes for 2016. I’ve survived, but barely! One more big lunch tomorrow for mom’s birthday. After that it’s carrots and soup until you come back 😉 But seriously now, I wish you, Dave and the girls all the very best for this year. I cannot tell you how fortunate I feel to have you in my live. I suspect you already know that! Much love my dear friend!

      1. chef mimi says:

        Thank you Stéphane! We all feel the same way. Can’t wait to see what you have in store for us in 2016! A little leftover cheese, then it’s carrots and soup for me, too!!!

  2. Thanks for the information! Pinning this for future reference. 🙂

  3. gigiistheone says:

    AWESOMENESS….all of it!!

  4. This is so helpful. You’re so talented and it’s been great reading these links. Thank you!

  5. Angeline M says:

    This post is a gold mine! Thank you, Stephane. I am an ardent admirer of your work!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Glad you like it Angeline and thank you!

  6. Jodi says:

    thanks for sharing so many great resources! and your photos are exquisite

    1. My French Heaven says:

      You are most welcome!

  7. ladyredspecs says:

    I need time to digest all this, but I loved the discussion with Steve, I think you have a style, don’t mess with it. Your subject matter, composition and all the tech stuff are head and shoulders above most of what you see online, stick with what you do best, click, click click….

    1. My French Heaven says:

      You are so so kind! I never seem to be satisfied with my work and it makes me crazy sometimes…

      1. ladyredspecs says:

        I suffer from perfectionist tendencies too…..

  8. Thank you for all those links Stephane. Of course the food photography link was the first one I clicked! Your photographs are always so inspiring and beautiful.

    1. Oh and p.s., the light tutorial link is broken. 🙂

      1. My French Heaven says:

        Just fixed it. Thank you so much!!

    2. My French Heaven says:

      You are too kind! I think you’ll enjoy the Brenée Brown interview very much too! Have a lovely week!!

  9. Steve says:

    You know, I just realized that I never sent you to my photography site in all these years. I haven’t posted any new work in a while, so it’s more of a retrospective. Have a look:

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Oh wow! You are so crazy talented. There is such rawness (is that a word) in your portraits. Plus I’m falling in love with black and white a little more each day. The shot of the haircut in the street is my favorite (I went through them fast). There is something so sensual about B&W… Makes me feel dirty and excited at the same time. The New York feel you know? The site needs some work though you’re right. I’d so love to see your pics taking up my full screen. If you send me a bunch of picture (full size in retransfer), I’ll build your new site for you!!! I’m serious!

      1. Steve says:

        That’s very kind and you’re right that’s why I haven’t posted any thing recently. It’s about 10 years old and at the time the file size capabilities were low, hence the small images. Maybe I’ll send you 10 of the best in full size via Dropbox and give you the access code to the web site. But I don’t want you spending too much time on this. What do you think?

        1. My French Heaven says:

          Never used Dropbox? Use Retransfer. It’s free. I don’t need access to the website. I’ll use my own platform. Send me 20 to 24 pictures. Don’t put any watermarks on them as it looks cheap and it is distracting. You know they are safe with me! I think you will love what I can put together. They truly deserve to be showcased properly! Can’t wait!

    2. My French Heaven says:

      I don’t know why I get so much more excited by other people’s work than my own. It’s very disturbing…

  10. Steve says:

    I Like your work because I find it very honest and not contrived. A lot of what you see is so intensely planned, contrived, and manipulated in PS. My all time favourite photographer was Edward Weston. His philosophy was to render, “The thing itself”. Worth a look. Of course the photos don’t do justice to the fact that he shot in 8X10 sheet film and contact printed. Can you imagine the detail????

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I’m almost ashamed to say that I had never heard of Weston until now… Yet another brick on my road. I never use PS. I like my photos to feel organic in a way. All I do in post is highlight what I think my picture is about. Try to make it more apt to translate a specific feeling or tell the story I want to tell… A simple dark room really…

      1. Steve says:

        That’s a good way to work. I believe HCB never did any darkroom work, he had a technician who did everything. He hated the technical side. Weston had an almost religious obsession about not cropping. If he didn’t “see it right’ at the moment of conception he wanted nothing to do with it. There’s a purity and discipline to these methods that is highly focusing (no pun intended). Today it’s just keep shooting willy nilly till you get something.

  11. Steve says:

    As you know, I am both an agent provocateur and a contrarian. As a serious photographer for the last 47 years, I’ve learned to limit my photography reading to simply viewing the work of others for admiration (not inspiration) and avoiding at almost all cost, any technical reading which in the end, is nothing more than distraction. One camera, one lens (35 or 50), shoot only those things that I really like, forget being inspired by others as it always leads to imitation (even unconsciously), and publish only the really great stuff. Like Sherlock Holmes, I limit what I allow to enter my brain to only those things I care about. Haha…..

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Good phylosophy my friend. I hope I get to where you are someday. For now I still feel a need to look outside myself for inspiration and confidence… My photography is still wayyyy below the quality and debth I want to achieve and I still feel excited as I do the research and listen to Cartier Bresson’s advice and personal phylosophy… Anyway, different needs, different paths… It’s all good 😉

      1. Steve says:

        As Gerard Depardieu said to Andy McDowell in Green card when she talked about gardens and environmentalism, “If it amuses you”. Personally, I think your work is already there. My professional advice (psychological) is to stop reading and spend the time shooting even more. That way you’ll get even better and won’t be beholding to anyone. Do you think Cartier-Bresson or Weston were reading photography books? Haha. Screw what anybody else thinks (including me) and go for the gusto! 🙂 I’m starting to do that with my cooking by the way….enough with the cookbooks! Revolution!

        1. My French Heaven says:

          Ha ha! Excellent ! Yes, I doubt Cartier Bresson ever copied anyone. Or maybe he did in some other way… Yes, let’s do the revolution. I don’t think I’ve ever followed a recipe either… My mom and my sister’s dishes have inspired me though and my culinary experiences in Japan were mind blowing… I don’t know what to think anymore. Damn you! Well maybe that’s the problem, I think too much…

          1. Steve says:

            I’ll send you my bill…with the friends and family discount of course 🙂

  12. Beautiful Stephane. You are a gifted photographer.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thank you dear friend. I watched the lighting of the tree the other day on the web. Made me so homesick for New York. The best Christmas city on earth!!!

  13. Great photos, I’m trying to learn more about photography for my cooking blog. Thanks for all the help.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      We always want to learn more when it’s about what we’re passionate about. Youtube is such a great source of inspiration to me. I learn so much more by watching than I could ever do reading… Have a lovely week Gerlinde!

  14. Steve says:

    Lots of talent!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I think you’ll enjoy these 3 photographers I mentionned…

  15. Beautiful portrait. Have you a good evening

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