Five-Minute Portrait Challenge: Pye Versus Lee Versus Patrick

A few days, ago we published three anonymous pictures and asked you to vote on your favorite. Now, you can watch the entire challenge and see who the winner was. 

The rules were simple: we each would have five minutes to create one portrait with one of two models around a historic property in Old San Juan.

Patrick, who insisted we needed to drive over an hour and pay $500 for this location, because "there's nowhere to shoot where we live," decided to go up to the roof and shoot his model in front of a dirty concrete wall and air conditioners. 

Surprisingly, his shot did turn out really well, and both Pye and I were impressed with the finished image. 

For my shot, I wanted to show at least a portion of our $500 location. I found an incredible window frame that showed amazing architectural detail. Because my scene was extremely back-lit, I needed to add a key light. I first attempted to bounce light off of the wall in front of my model, but I ended up adding a grid and pointing the Profoto B10 directly at her. 

Pye, in an attempt to show off, decided to shoot three different photos in three different locations within five minutes. This was obviously too ambitious, and we ended up giving Pye a couple of extra minutes to complete his shoot. All three of his shots were natural light, and he chose an image from the final location on the porch for his submission.

The Results

After 1,200 votes in 12 hours, my image was chosen as the favorite. 49% of you chose the red dress, 35% of you chose the white dress, and 16% of you chose Patrick's green dress as the best shot. 

I was certainly due for a win after being destroyed by Pye in our last two competitions. It feels good to once again be the best photographer in the world. 

If you want to follow the photography we are doing in Puerto Rico, make sure you check out the Fstoppers Puerto Rico Instagram.

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Nacona Nix's picture

Lee: There has to be a way in some future photo critique video to sneak one of Patrick's old (hopefully forgotten) photos into the set to see what he thinks of it. I believe that had he not been the one take his own photo in this series, he would have absolutely berated it.

Fun series in both cases, though. I enjoy the videos and look forward to another PTW series.

timgallo's picture

That is not a challenge. Its just a matter of taste. A challenge would be creating a 8-10 pages of editorial work in 5 minutes, on any location, with 30-50 min of preparations before shoot (better if location is never seen until you arrive on set). Assistants allowed. That is a real challenge.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

So, that's not really 5 minutes. More like 55 minutes.

Lee Morris's picture

That is not a challenge. A challenge would be shooting enough images to publish an art book, shopping it around, bringing it to market, and then competing to see who has the most sales.

Patrick Hall's picture

No no no, a challenge would be to do all that but then see who can invest those book sale profits into the stock market and see who makes the most gains 10 years later.

Mark Dunsmuir's picture

You guys are still playing small ball. You should then be forced to use those stock market profits to build a space program. Whoever makes it to Mars first is the winner.

timgallo's picture

talking about small balls. I knew that real challenge would precipitate them into shrinking and joking. lol.
also guys you still think small. why not see who outlive the other with all the money you get from those space programs. and let the fstoppers community decide who lived better in the end.

Mark Dunsmuir's picture

Ha! Just so we’re on the same page, small ball is a baseball idiom. I wasn’t criticizing anyone’s parts.

timgallo's picture

lol, I know, Mark. I know...

timgallo's picture

Lol. You guys are funny. Also the challenge I gave is pretty reasonable...
and yeah, the real challenge would be to create an actual art book, why not? (Idk about salesn though, who cares)
Have you tried?... that would be a better experience to share.

Btw, any of the things you suggest at least looks like a challenge. Probing your viewers for who liked what - is just that. If you did it on different platform (I dont know, drop it on dpreview forum f.ex. Lol) - youd probably had different results.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

Soak it in. Soak it in. :)

I guessed Pye's right, but, mixed yours and Patrick's up. When he and Joey did the swimsuit critique not long ago, he seemed very picky and needed everything to be straight and cleaned up so I figured the red dress image was his.

Lee Morris's picture


Jeff McCollough's picture

I knew that Patrick had shot the one with the white dress.

Patrick Hall's picture

To be fair, the reason for the $500 location wasn’t so I could shoot on the was so we would have a place to call home base and shoot inside if the weather was bad and the heat was too much.

Lee Morris's picture

So Patrick picked a place without AC that was insanely hot to shield us.

Jan Holler's picture

For what it's worth if I add: I like the "green" photo best, from the beginning. The composition is great, colours are well balanced, not over saturated and her pose gives some kind of dynamic! Her face, her gaze show the most interesting expression of all three photos. I don't mind the cables on the left top at all. The horizontal line at the bottom is a small disturbance you discover later and should have been removed, I agree.

Tony Clark's picture

I remember assisting Editorial shoots with celebrities, sometimes you have minutes and others give you 20-30 minutes. Of course, that was back in the film days and Polaroids took two minutes to process. A five minute shoot is crazy but looks like fun. Lee, congratulations and enjoy it while you can.