Vote For Mike Kelley VS Lee Morris Architecture Shootout Part 2

One of the most popular videos we have produced in the last year was with Mike Kelley and Lee Morris as they battled it out in the Amateur Vs Pro Architecture Photographer Shootout. This week Mike and Lee have set their rematch, and you our audience will be the judges! 

If you are a reader of Fstoppers then you obviously know Lee Morris, a jack of all photography trades but master of none. Mike Kelley is a master of architectural photography but rarely shoots anything outside of that field. Since all three of us a great friends, we figured it would be fun to revisit this shoot off and see if Mike can redeem himself after losing last year to Lee. 

The Previous Shootout

What is interesting about the previous shootout is that when the photos were posted anonymously, the overwhelming consensus was that Lee's photos were taken by Mike and that Lee's photos were the best out of the two sets. This is pretty ironic because Lee basically learned everything he knows about architecture photography by producing three of Mike's real estate and architectural tutorials Where Art Meets Architecture. The other irony is that after the results were revealed, much of the public changed their tune and opted for Mike's photos after they knew who was behind each set of images. 

All this being said, when the votes were pulled to reveal the winner, Lee Morris was the clear victor with 65% of voters preferring his images of Mike's photos. You can see the votes here on this article and you can view the final photos on the Dome House Shootout Article here

Who Will Win Round 2?

For this second competition, the stakes have been raised. Instead of shooting an exotic hurricane proof house like the Dome House, this competition will focus on a massive $6.25 million dollar riverside chateau located on the Wappoo Creek in Charleston, SC. Unlike the previous house, this massive 6 bedroom, 7 1/2 bathroom mansion has plenty of variety in terms of hero shots. 

The rules for this competition were simple. Each person had to produce 3 different photographs that could be used by the architect or builder, and all three images must be placed in a single 16x9 montage.  Each set of images would be voted on by you our readers anonymously and the winning set of images will be revealed live on camera in 24 hours. 

Single Manfrotto Backpack filled with FujiFilm 50s, two FujiFilm lenses, and 2 Profoto B10s

To make things a bit more challenging and interesting, both Lee and Mike had to shoot on the FujiFilm 50s Medium Format Mirrorless Camera and could use either the FujiFilm 32mm - 64mm zoom lens or the FujiFilm 23mm wide angle lens. For lighting, the two photographers were given two Profoto B10 flashes with no modifiers. Since Mike is known for using super expensive tripods and geared heads, the competitors also had to use the Manfrotto MT190 Go Tripod with Manfrotto MHX Pro-3WG geared head. 

Here are the two sets of images. 

Set 1

Set 2

Below, you can vote both for who you think took each set of images as well as which set of images best showcase this amazing house on the water. 

If you want to find out the results, make sure you subscribe to our Youtube Channel where we will be releasing the full shootout video and the final results!

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102 Comments

Previous comments

Lee took set 1, and they're better photos. Better editing, better lighting. I get the impression that Mike isn't even trying. But neither set is as good as the last time around.

Michael Borisenko's picture

Set 1 has better consistent light across the images and is better exposure-balanced. However the composition in all three images is lacking a little bit here and there. The tree in #1 is too heavy and makes the composition imbalanced, and there's too much of the empty foreground.
#2 has too much of the ceiling, the camera had to be lowered a bit as there's an impression my head will bump into the ceiling bars.
#3 is cropped too tight, and the camera is too low so I'm not sure what it is in the front of the house, a pool or a puddle.

Set 2 looks a bit too dark, #4 doesn't have a good light at all and the shadows had to be lifted, and I'm not sure what the composition is about. Is it trying to invite me to jump into the pool? But I'll have to jump over the chair first and dodge the flowers before entering the seemingly cold and uninviting water.
#5 looks good, but the house is pushed too far to the right.
#6 has good light but overall exposure had to be lifted by some 0.5 stops.

I struggled to choose who is who and which set is the best.

Miguel Santos Novoa's picture

Lee used hard light from strobes to lit the living room in the last competition, now the hard light is on the kitchen, that leds me to believe that Lee is taking the second set. I believe that Mike would take the time to diffuse that light if he had the time.

Mike's style is to change the hue of the artificial lights to a champagne color, not leave them in this extremely yellowish/orange glow (image 3). Probably he wanted to make the property moody that way. And the pool is not visible, that throws me off.

OSVALDO VÁZQUEZ's picture

Really Mike?! You went Michael Bay this time opposite to the last time?! Really?!

Gergö Nyirö's picture

Mike's style is easy to recognise if you follow his work, he took the first set obviously, which is clearly better!
What's also obvious is that Lee tried to save his with a colour grade :P

Aivis Veide's picture

Set 1 is Mike Kelley. Too good retouching and sky replacement. Set 2 is not so clean retouching, sky replacement looks dirty too.

Jamie Zollo's picture

Strong one point perspectives, light and elegant interior, tight exterior crop - set one is unmistakably the refined work of the renowned Mike Kelly. 'A' for effort Lee.

Scott Darby's picture

I like set 1 but #3 is the worst image there. Its so cramped

Ben Preece's picture

Cannot wait for this video, Ftoppers is the best photography channel out there.

Separating the two photographers here is tough. I believe set 1 is Lee and set 2 is Mike. The highlight on the picture frame in image 2 is something I believe Mike would have controlled if enough time was given but the sky replacement on image 5 throws me off. The second set is a more complete set and compliment each other with the tones and the lake is visible in every shot which sways me more towards Mike.

David Andrew's picture

I think set two is Lee, because I do not see Mike Kelly adding such a dramatic sky to his images, but I do see Lee plugging the sky replacement tutorial and I wouldn't be surprised if that's where the sky came from. I'm calling it now, "And you can find more skies like these and how to use them in Mike Kelly's Sky Replacement tutorial on the Fstoppers Store." I don't have a problem with that by the way, I think its great if you guys use the products your trying to sell.

I am saving to buy that tutorial as it is something I often find myself doing as I'm only 16 and live in Northern Ireland where basically 300 days a year it is overcast and I don't have the luxury of choosing when to shoot so I find myself replacing skies quite a lot

My favourite image is probably number one, I love how the house is framed and it just feels right. Although as a set I think set 2 has to be on top as it has a variety. I think when you are only showing three images you need to show three different aspects and I think set 2 gives me more of an idea about the property than set 1.

Tom Beckman's picture

A lot of people seem so confident. Personally I this one was pretty hard to tell who did what. I do feel the angles in set 2 are a little more thought out. Something you'd see with more experience. The lighting in set 1 is a little more appealing. Though I think set 2 is more inviting because of the lighting.
Call me crazy but this was a hard one.

I thought pic3 was a bit over the top so I originally thought that Lee did set 1 but then I noticed pic4 is such a nothing shot that I knew that set 2 could NOT be Mike Kelley. Therefore, Mike Kelley Set1 and Lee Set2.

Pat Black's picture

the best part of this comment section is that who ever took the second set of photos I am going to relentlessly bully

I'm kind of surprised there's any debate about this, folks. A) Mike uses a tilt-shift lens for his interior photos. The first set has an interior shot with a tilt-shift. The second has an interior that wasn't shot with a tilt-shift. That's a dead giveaway. B) It's important to look at the photos with a proper screen -- if you do, then it's easy to see that the second set is underexposed, especially #4, which wasn't lit properly in the first place. Professional photographers wouldn't make that mistake. Hence, Mike didn't shoot the second set. C) The first set is shot by someone who wants to provide a sense of the most important features of the house. That's why there's a wide exterior front, living room interior, and tight crop of the back. The second set is more random. It includes a decontextualized shot from the back porch toward the pool with few architectural details of the house, as well as a shot of the kitchen, which isn't generally as important as the living room. A, B, and C all support the idea that Mike shot the first set. For the same reasons, the first set is also clearly superior. They're also better conceived, better lit, and better post-processed.

Patrick Hall's picture

They were forced to use the Fujifilm 50s so no tilt shift lenses were used.

Oh, I see. Should have read the details. To revise A), then, whoever shot the first set was attentive to their vertical lines for the interior shot despite not using a tilt-shift. The photographer who shot the second set was not careful with their verticals. That evidence would still point to Mike shooting the first set.

Dragan Jereminov's picture

set 2 has better angles (perspective) and overall mood but poor sky replacement and ps work

Set 1 is more architectural and Set 2 stirs my emotions. Both sets are effective for different purposes. For my viewing pleasure I have to vote for Set 2. My guess is that Lee took Set 2.

Justin Punio's picture

Everyone seems to think that the best set of photos must mean they're taken by Mike. Lee is more than capable of winning again. Set 2 is the best in my opinion. Not sure who though!

I prefer the angles on set 2, but there is definitely some fuckery going on with the sky in pic 5. It almost made me switch.

Davide Preziosilli's picture

I find the composition in picture #1, #3 and #4 weird.
I prefer set 2 but I think it is a bit too dark.

(I think #4 was originally shot and designed to be horizontal and then adapted vertically for the contest)

James Ngai's picture

Poor lighting on set 2... dont know what was Morris thinking when composing the shot

Andrew Salonia's picture

This one's harder than the previous one. I have to say I really don't like #4, maybe you could have used some lighting there in the porch area, I understand you wanted to use natural light but it just looks underexposed and kind of like a snapshot to me. Because of that to my eyes set 1 looks better although I really like #5 and #6 from set 2.

Shawn Clabough's picture

The window frames are a dead giveaway in image #6 as to who did which set.

Also, using Chrome I could not vote. Pressing the vote button did nothing. Edge worked, but neither had a click pointer when hovering over the word "Vote".

wesjones's picture

Mike set 1, Lee set 2. Winner, set 1

Drew Zavala's picture

how the heck do we vote?

Ryan Luna's picture

Set 1 is obviously Kelly's. Lee underexposed set 2 by 1/2 to 1 full stop on some images.

David J. Fulde's picture

Set one is something super beautiful and bright thught the BG in shot #2 feels too bright

Set #2 is a lot more editorial, which I personally PREFER but I don't think is as MARKETABLE

Also Photo #6 in Set #2 i crooked and cropped wierd

David J. Fulde's picture

The sy replacement on Image 5 is just... Not good. SO much haloing!

Joe Raynak's picture

My vote goes to Set 1. I assume Lee.
Set 2 composition is nice but to dark.

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