Which Of These Images Is Best? Vote Now!

Which Of These Images Is Best? Vote Now!

Update: The results are in. Patrick and I are once again competing to see who can photograph the same model best. It's up to you to decide.

The two images are below and further down are two questions. Please answer the poll to let us know which one you think is best and who you believe took each shot. 

There is also a bit of a twist to this competition that you will learn about when the video comes out in a few days. Can you guess what it is? Let us know in the comments below. 

Lee Morris's picture

Lee Morris is a professional photographer based in Charleston SC, and is the co-owner of Fstoppers.com

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1 is a winner in my books!


Same for me and the reason that picture one is "classier" (mood, angle, color...).

light looks more unobtrusive

Photo 2 is way too busy. Is the model the subject or in the way? Obviously the model is the subject but you see where I'm going.

Is there any context? Such as "better" for what genre? I assume "best" as a fashion shot for the portfolio of the photog or model? Or is it "best" for a clothing advert?

I don't like the colors of the background in picture 2, it looks like the background the model colors don't match

2 it is for me. Very tastefully shot. Sets the mood of the mermaid. Lovely background and great lighting overall.

I agree with Ivan, 1 her hand is distracting and big. Her other hand is ok, but it's usually best for females to show the pinky sides of their hands. Otherwise the lighting I like the her expression in 1 better, and 2 has better composition but the beautiful background may compete for the subject. Not being picky, just honest critiques as I think that's what you were looking for. :)

Both are amazing but 1 just looks more inviting. 2 has the same look that all the kids shoot these days, HHS blah blah. 🤣

You mean HSS 😉

Wasn’t HSS at all.

Fine, no HSS but has the same HSS look. Nice foot photoshop. lol

The artificiality of the flash in #2 is more prominent and detracts from the overall image, so I'll go with #1.

#1 is Lee.


1 is the winner for the more natural look in regards to lighting for me

#1 takes it for me. The editing and the way flash was used in #2 is exceedingly artificial. Images like that ruin any sort of connection between the subject and the surroundings. They just look like someone photoshopped a studio shot of someone into a separate image.

The natural lighting (or, at least, the natural appearance of natural lighting) in #1 is far more aesthetically pleasing.

Both are extremely good portraits! The colors of image 2 work amazing together. The only thing holding me back from image one, but again, it's a great shot, is the hand being toward the camera and being a bit large and distracting. It reminds me of the King of Queens episode when their friends gifted them a portrait. =P

I agree with your assessment, photo 2 has better color, and photo 1 is near perfect pose except for the hand that draws my eye.

Dear Lee Moreass -:) I love the both images equally. But Nr. 2 is probably the winner, the Mermaid pose.

I prefer the pose of number 2 but to me the illumination of the model is a bit strong and throws off the balance between her and the environment. My choice is number 1 because the light is more subtle and better blends with the setting and gives a more classic vibe.

Artificial light outdoors have to be really subtle. So both failed.

The "best" or winner of the two pictures are not at all indicative or necessarily correlative to who took the pictures. "Best Picture" at its best could have been shot by both photographers--no problem. One question is not necessarily indicative of the other question being asked. The outlier or third party variable here is simply and nothing more than the viewer's preference and subjective analysis. Pictures #1 & #2 could end up in a dead heat, while the "photographer" question can be nullified as well given both photographers could have flipped a coin on which perspective they were to shoot--there were no pre-conditions set before the shoot--it was just a matter of chance. Both photographers could have shot both perspectives equally as well. The twist to be revealed in a couple of days is nothing more than the viewers personal preference and artistic bias and favorability. Bottom line: it says nothing about which picture is best or who the best photographer's eye and creativity were sharper. The results could be changed, modified and distorted and nobody would ever know the difference or the truth. Again, it's just an illusion. Just like so, so many of the pictures we judge every day of our lives!

Ive just read this twice and still have no idea what the point you are trying to make is.

I'll use a direct quote from the end of the article: "Does this mean that the iPhone is a better camera than the Nikon D850? Of course not", "But it is pretty telling that cell phone photos taken with adequate light, and displayed on the web (like 99.99% of photos) can look just as good, or even better than, professionally shot and edited photos". 5% in the other direction like I said would have been a "dead heat". The 99.99% Lee is alluding to the "illusion" we have become accustomed to--people just can no longer see the forest for the trees when it come to evaluation photography. What if Patrick shot with the iPhone instead--could we add anything else to the commentary? Not hardly. I'll say is again: "Bottom line: it says nothing about which picture is best..."

From the thumbnail on the main page my initial reaction was number two but after looking at them properly it has to be number 1. The flash was a bit too much in 2 so it feels jarring with the lower ambient exposure. I can see why it was done because the sky looks awesome. The pose is great but I love the expression of 1 and it feels more intimate. I don't mind the hand in 1 but the light coming through the trees is a tad distracting - that's just being picky - it's an amazing portrait.

no winners here

I Prefer 2.
1 Is too underexposed for my liking.

I prefer number one as it show more mood and less landscape.
With the number one, we sit near the model, we feel something confident, but we recognize the background as a tropical beach.

The number 2 is nice in a set of photo as it may justify the point of view. But alone this is "a first shot" as everything comes to the eyes in the same time and we don't know what to look at, what too choose. As I spend less time on the image number too, you spend less time to feel the mood too.

Number one - even it's clearly more classic.

clearly 1 ... 2 looks amateurish, HSS overflashed, like somebody doesnt know how to ballance natural and artificial light .. but that is just personal taste
Is this another "amateur vs pro takes the same picture" upcoming article ? ;)

Prefer (2) but her upright position looks unsafe on the rocks as if waiting to be rescued?
For (1) her right hand on her face too much of a pose? Her hair flows beautifully in (2).

Mood (1) Pensive; nicer casual dress
Mood; (2) Friendly; forgot her bikini?

First photo is better but the model is underexposed. Flash has been used on second photo and looks amateurish.

The twist? Sky replacement has been used in the second photo.

Yeah they are pushing Luminar so much I wouldn't be surprised if all the editing was done with presets in the new Luminar AI

They both good. There are things to like in each one of them. Although I'm usually prefer environmental portraiture as in photo number 2, the close frame in number 1 is leaving to me more opportunity to wonder about the story around the model. What around her and who she is staring at. Anyway, good one for both of you.

As you can read here, everyone has their own preferences. Just like the two photographers. The question of which is the better photo is therefore purely philosophical. It is important that every photographer produces the best result for himself and his customers. Therefore, in the end, both variants have their justification. Best wishes.

Perhaps the model after climbing over slippery rocks in (2) she was relieved to sit down in (1) getting a chance to relax by wearing a more comfortable dress and consider her latest marriage proposal?

By any means , was image 1 shot on an iPhone ?

Impressive, you were the only one to guess correctly.

Funny enough, we never removed the EXIF data from the shots.

That is why I did not think that it was a “twist”! A “twist” is something unexpected. This is not the first, “shot on iPhone” thingy. Lee did a “real estate/architecture” kitchen shoot on an iPhone just then.

“Shot on iPhone with flash,” in fact. I was searching for a real twist.

[EDIT] I thought the first one was shot with a Canon, so I had looked at the EXIF data. Just looked at the EXIF for № 2. No surprise there, but I did see signs of partial image replacement, but got the thing replaced, incorrect.[/EDIT]

[EDIT] You also left your edit history in your EXIF data for both images. I did not realise that. I guess that all the secrets are now out. Also, № 2 gave himself a 5-star rating, while № 1 gave himself a 4-star rating. Is this telling? 😉😆😁[/EDIT]

I don't know if my assumption is correct but , the telltale for me was the model's hair . Image 2 shows that your model has gorgeous hair . I've seen first hand the plastic lenses manufacturers use in smartphone camera modules . It's usually 4 elements . I know that these plastic lenses don't have the resolving power of the lenses used in ILCs . In image 1 her hair looks messy . Maybe a combination of noise / high ISO and the resolution power of these small plasticky lenses . My bet is that your model didn't like like her hair in image 1 .

No, I had plenty of images where her hair was blown all over the place. I'm not sure I've noticed a difference in hair quality from phones to pro cameras.

I prefer 1 but the awkward left hand spoils it a bit.

Seems like another iphone shootout. And on top of that it may or may not have been edited by Luminar AI.

That or you guys imposed some other artificial limit because these are not that good, IMO.

1 is better, but both could be a lot better.

I'm rooting for picture 2: Looks way more professional, more thought and concept went into it, the lighting is very flattering, it's overall well-exposed, and looks more like a professional's "high-end" work, in comparison to the ambient light shot that anyone can take.
Still, I have no idea who took which picture. At first, I thought Lee took 1, because he's usually more the lazy guy of both and goes the easy way, but then I thought about the judo-sports shoot he did with a trainer, where he set-up multiple lights as well and chose a full-length pose. So now, I have no idea who took which picture. But one thing is clear: I like picture 2 definitely much more!

1 for me. It tells more of a story. What is she awaiting?

I like #1 better but the light on the model isn't believable. If it were slightly brighter than the trees behind I would get it but why would there just be light on her from that direction and no spill from the sun on the background? There technically could but I don't believe the photo.

I don't find much of anything about #2 to be believable. The landscape part of the shot isn't well balanced with the lighting on the model and the light on her is not subtle at all, clearly contrived. Is the sky replaced? Something doesn't look right as compared to the foreground. The light in the clouds looks like the sun is to the right of them. It could be that a cloud is blocking the entire landscape part but why not wait? If that was the real sky it clearly is patchy enough to expect some sunlight to come through.

Yep, real sky and real scene

1 is why people shouldn't use wide angle lenses that are too wide for portraits...

It is not the lens; it is distance to subject. Stand further back, use whatever lens one desires for the framing.

That being said, deliberate distortion from getting close can help in certain situations. (This is not one of them).

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