International Art curators and critics have noticed the visual references to the traditional Old Master paintings in the photographs of Kerstens. For example, a Dutch art critic stated that Kerstens turned his portrait Bag into a modern masterpiece in a similar way Frans Hals (1582-1666) did before him. Other art historians compared the photograph of Paula with a red turban on her head with the portraits of Jan van Eyck(c. 1390-1441).
Kerstens use of his daughter Paula as his primary model and muse has drawn comparisons to photographer Sally Mann with one American critic pointing out Paula's increasing agency in her own self-presentation as she ages, morphing the role of muse into that of collaborator to create "fierce self-portraits that rewrite the narrative of female objectification."
The National Portrait Gallery in London honored the photograph Bag with a Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize in 2008. Fashion designer Alexander McQueen gave Kerstens all credits of being the source of inspiration for his show The Horn of Plenty (2009). In 2013 magazine Harper's Bazaar asked Kerstens to give his view on fashion, photographing clothes and accessories of designers such as Dolce & Gabbana, Comme des Garsons and others. This shoot was granted with the 11th Lucie Award for the best fashion lay-out of the year. The works of Kerstens are also shown in museums and are part of art collections all over the world.