Member Spotlight: Stephane Thomas

Though he enjoyed photography growing up, other interests took Stephane away from it for many years. But a trip to South Africa rekindled his passion, and in 2022 he was named one of Australasia’s Top Emerging Photographers.
“I am still learning and want to get my photography to the highest standard I possibly can,” he says.

Rediscovering the magic

Growing up in Lille, France, Stephane was fascinated by the dark room in which his father, a keen photographer, developed his black-and-white prints. “It seemed magical,” Stephane says.

Their father’s interest in photography meant that Stephane and his siblings all had their own point-and-shoot cameras to experiment with. When he was 16, Stephane got his first SLR film camera, but struggled to learn what to do with it.

“There was no internet back then, so learning photography was a bit more difficult!” he says.

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© Stephane Thomas

Even when he got his first DSLR, he opted to use it mostly in auto mode because he didn’t have the patience to master manual mode.

In 2005, Stephane moved to Australia. The move was supposed to be temporary, but ended up being permanent. In Australia, long-distance triathlons became a big part of Stephane’s life, which meant photography had to take a back seat.

Preparing for an African safari in 2016, Stephane treated himself to a hybrid superzoom camera. The trip was life-changing.

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© Stephane Thomas

“I really loved capturing the amazing African landscape and its incredible wildlife,” he says. “I was hooked and bought a new Canon DSLR as soon I got home."

Unfortunately, four days later, he dropped his new camera into Sydney Harbour! Undaunted, he purchased a better tripod, replaced the camera, and continued his photography journey.

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Stephane Thomas

Variety and experimentation

Since then, photography has become part of Stephane’s daily life. He has also been lucky enough to meet and learn from some of Australia’s best photographers, including Daniel Linnet and Mieke Boynton. 

Though he doesn’t have his own studio, Stephane does have a good collection of kit. This includes Canon R6 and R7 cameras, a selection of lenses ranging from 16mm to 800mm, Godox lights, NiSi filters and SIRUI tripods.  

Rather than specialising in one particular genre, Stephane likes to experiment in a variety of them.

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© Stephane Thomas

“I find landscape/seascape very relaxing and a great way to escape from the bustle of city life,” he says. “Architecture challenges me as I find it more difficult composition-wise, so it is very rewarding when the final image turns out well.”

He also enjoys studio shoots, with artists such as musician or dancers. “I am quite new to it but I love the planning and figuring out how to overcome the challenges. Plus the sessions are always fun.”

Artistic integrity

Although he has been approached on several occasions by businesses looking to hire him, Stephane prefers to stay away from commercial work.

“Photography is for me an artistic outlet,” he explains. “I am time-poor and only want to focus on shots I want to take, without the pressure of earning money.”

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© Stephane Thomas

This purist approach has led Stephane to great artistic success, earning him honours in multiple photography competitions around the world, including the Canon Clique Awards, the International Exhibition of Photography, and the International Salon Fortuna.

In 2021, he was named runner-up in the Animal category of the Australasia’s Top Emerging Photographer competition. And in 2022 he received his most impressive accolade to date when he was crowned winner in the Architecture category of the same competition, and third overall.

“It was nice to see that hard work and attention to detail pays off,” he says, humbly.

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© Stephane Thomas

Solving problems and overcoming challenges

Despite already being an extremely talented and accomplished photographer, Stephane knows that there is always room to improve, and always more to learn. That’s why he subscribes to Karl Taylor Education.

“It’s a fantastic platform,” he says. “I love Karl’s no-nonsense approach. He calls a spade a spade and I find this very refreshing compared to other over-polished videos I’ve encountered.”

Stephane also appreciates the diverse range of educational content on offer. “The live shows are my favourite as they demonstrate real-life, real-time scenarios. They’ve helped me overcome many challenges in my own photography.”

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© Stephane Thomas

Given Stephane’s relative lack of experience in a studio setting, he particularly enjoys the Environmental Portraits series. “They are great videos that helped me plan my own shots more thoroughly.”

The main thing Stephane has learned from Karl is that, in photography, every problem has a solution. “Bringing it back to a basic understanding of physics – and more precisely light – will help you solve most problems. Break it down into small pieces and it will work. This is what Karl demonstrates in all his videos.”

ONLINE PHOTOGRAPHY COURSE

Environmental Portraits

In this six-class series, you’ll learn how to capture stunning portraits of professionals in their places of work – stables, studios, stores, and more.
Watch Now
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© Stephane Thomas

Opportunities and collaborations

So, what lies ahead for Stephane?

“I am hoping that the quality of my work will lead to exciting shooting opportunities,” he says, “such as working with elite athletes or collaborating with leading artists to create amazing images.”

Considering the high quality of the work he’s already producing, we can only assume Stephane will keep going from strength to strength – especially given his commitment to learning and improving.

Whatever he achieves next, we’re excited to watch his journey continue.

Check out Stephane’s work at stphotos.net.

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