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

I noticed how Mike changed his style several times, always improving. Now I think he draws more attention to colors and shadows, which I really like! Maybe someone will say that in the second set the pictures are darker, but I like it, the composition is very balanced and well arranged, interesting colors and pleasant atmosphere. The first set looks like Mike's style when you made WAMA 1 :) Sorry if I'm wrong;)

Sorry Mike!!! I need to LEARN MORE!!!

It has been well over 24hrs for the results. I am excited!

st-micca's picture

I can't get past photo #4, you guys wouldn't give 2 to it! The other 2 photos in that set are much better, and probably better than those in set 1 (even thou the kitchen is too dark), but because of the #4, it is a tie for me.
First set has a lot of other issues, like distortion on the right (which would be unacceptable for a serious commercial shoot I guess), or the composition in the first one, where, if you're not going to get buildings on the side completely in the frame, get closer and get the trees out of the composition.
First duel was better.

I am probably completely wrong with my vote, but I still gave it a shot. Hm...looks like I am the only female commenting on this.

Andy C's picture

Easy ;) - look back at the first shootout and you'll see that Mike used a border frame between his photos and Lee didn't. They've both repeated this here - Mike has used a black border frame between photos and nothing from Lee. Therefore Mike Set 1 and Lee Set 2

Craig Jeffries's picture

I'm curious if there was a problem with firing the Profoto's, I don't see any use of them in the photos? To me everything in Set 2 is too dark. I voted that Mike took set 1, but it's anyone's guess as to who took what, so not really sure. I don't feel these photos are either's best work.

I think Set 1 sells the house better as it's all just a bit brighter and more inviting. I like the composition of photo 5 (set 2) the best, but it seems undercooked / too darker shadows.

My caveat - I'm quite happy with my photo skills, but I don't work in architectural photography, so all my comments aren't qualified.

Patrick Hall's picture

Profoto worked well. They both used strobes but also shot a lot of natural light. I'm editing the video now. Hope to have it done by Friday.

Dan Thompson's picture

Set 1 is the best....

Francisco B's picture

Set 1 is Mikes. This is his bread and butter and I feel like set 2 is compositionally way too clunky to be his.

Steve Hall's picture

Set 1 has a calm repose. The doors are open in shot 2, suggesting a sense of place beyond a simple snapshot. In shot 1 the drive leans into the composition as a leading line to the front door with light from all the way through the house. Very nice. The values for all three shots are well-balanced. I'm slightly unsettled by the shot 2 one-point perspective asymmetry of the ceiling beams, but it seemed necessary to get the more important fireplace opening without several hours of moving furniture or a wider lens. Shot 3 might seem a tad crowded/cropped for some, but I like its focus on the house shapes and lit internal spaces coming out to the pool instead of sharing it with the expansive yard.

Set 2 has two ultra-wide landscape shots that appear to reach for more than can fit into the lens. All the darks are too deep. A third of the frame in shot 5 is grass and the sky replacement is disturbing. (I can't believe Mike could do that.) The umbrella through the window in shot 6 blocks the more interesting scene behind. I don't understand what shot 4 is about. I think the ceiling is too dark and heavy and needs cropped out more. But then I don't understand the huge table and chair and little piece of wall through the pool. It needs to zoom out or in.

Last time Mike didn't spend any time in post, but I bet he doubled down this time, indicated by the balanced values in Set 1. Lee tends to like more contrasting values, so Set 2.

Set 1 is Lee doing Mike's style to fool the viewer, Set 2 is mikes, Image 6 in the kitchen has his pillow trick and the table is set.