Vote: Who Is the Best Photographer?

Vote: Who Is the Best Photographer?

Many of you know Mike Kelley is visiting Patrick and Lee down in Puerto Rico. This last weekend, they set up a rather unique challenge to see which one of them is the best photographer. We need you to vote on which photograph is best and who took each image to settle the debate once and for all!

If you've followed Fstoppers at all for the last year or two, you know that Lee Morris and Mike Kelley love to battle it out to see who is the better architectural photographer. Lee won the first challenge as they shot the famous Dome House in Charleston, SC, but then, Mike Kelley completely destroyed Lee in the rematch as they photographed another luxury home in Charleston a year later. 

This past weekend, Lee, Mike, and Patrick Hall all battled each other to see who could take the best image in a triple head to head competition. We won't spoil the surprise and tell you the rules or what the situation was just yet, but we do need your help in ranking the images below. 

Here are the three images submitted by each photographer. 

Image 1

Image 2

Image 3

The first question we have is: which Image Is Best?

We are also curious if you can figure out who took which image?  Can you pick each of these photographers' styles, or maybe they are trying to fool you?

Stay tuned, because next week, we will reveal the challenge, all the shenanigans, and reveal the results live to all three as they battle for "World's Best Photographer!" In the meantime, check out this hilarious prank video of the boys critiquing Ansel Adams photos.

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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The votes aren't registering.

Which photo is best? None. All are rubbish.

Indeed, none are what I would consider "great photos".
So there must be a catch, trying to get us to vote against our existing expectations.

I agree. It has to be some sort of joke or trick.

Maybe one picture is from Ansel Adams :-D

Now that would be funny. :D
Certainly then it must be the picture attributed to Mike :P

1 and 2 seem ok, or in CTC standards, they are a 2 (needs improvement). 3 is rubbish in my own opinion.

1 is a good subject and composition for my own taste. It is just the processing that I don't like, not a good B&W post process work.

2 also seems like a good landscape, but the concept and post work are not great as well. If it was approached in multiple exposures in a great golden hour time frame, I feel that landscape would have been great.

1 could have been a good photo. But the processing is odd.
2 is nice and all. But as desaturated as it is.... not the best.
3 is just odd composition and i just don't like that shot.

And all the shenanigans you're pulling lately just make me feel like when your hands are tied you can't take good photos.

my thoughts exactly. And they judge other people????

C'mon guys, what's your game?

So, what's the catch this time?

Another "phone camera vs 'real' camera" trick contest? :P

Image 1 was shot on the iPhone 12 Pro . Image 3 was edited on Photoshop 22 on a Mac . Lee seemed to prefer building his own Windows PCs . Images 1 and 2 were edited on Photoshop CC 2019 on a Windows machine . Also the Date Taken info on the EXIF says 10:15 AM for the iPhone 12 photo , but Image 2 and 3 , it's 9:35 PM . All images the Color Representation is shown as Uncalibrated , so probably smartphones . Mike is visiting Lee and Patrick , so he probably forgot to adjust the clock of his iPhone / smartphone . It would seem Patrick and Mike used the same iPhone / smartphone to shoot their images while Lee shot using the iPhone 12 . Is it correct ?

All three photos are horrible, sorry. you have to see some tutorials to improve you photo skills.

Can we vote for which photographer we think has the biggest ego?

I read the comments first, so I figured this has to be some sort of 'gotcha' or some such thing. I have to agree with the comments; if those were my shots, I wouldn't post any of the pictures here or anywhere else.

best out of worst or least worst?
Curious to know how does it matter who took ‘em.

So clearly these are all smart phone images. No separation and the addition of B&W to cover up low contrast is sort of a giveaway IMO.

There is a grammar mistake in the title.

Isn't Lee the dude that didn't realize the photo he was looking at on the computer was the room that he was sitting in at the time? How can a person who is so oblivious of his surroundings be a good photographer?

No that was Mike and Lee was the guy pulling that prank on Mike.

But I feel it's rather harsh to write off someone as photographer based on that incident, where he was in unfamiliar surroundings and was there to look at things on a screen, not a corner of the room.

It wasn't in the corner, it was directly in front of him.

the third photo looks like the picture your camera takes when it is dropped and was on a timer and randomly takes a pic.

I assume there were some type of rule that would prevent you guys from taking an actually good photograph, there is something going on but the # 2 at least seem to be correctly exposed and the fog provides some atmosphere to the landscape scene.

And still somehow it doesn't work for me, as a landscape scene.
Photo 1 works much better for me, but is a bit dark -- loss of detail in the shadows.

And I'm beginning to wonder if it's a sky replacement.

I have a hunch -- not only are some of the photos (or all?) taken on mobile phones, I suspect that the first one has had some AI sky replacement done -- and we're invited to see if we will vote for that picture with a sky replacement and perhaps other AI performed enhancements, since apart from shooting with your mobile phone, that's the thing that "real photographers" get worked up about the most.

So this is the prejudice they're trying to shoot down this time.



Apparently I just dont see things the same as most of the rest of you. To me 1 is by far the better photo. Comparatively 2 is quite ho hum boring. 3 is an exciting action pic but not as good as 1. I am not fond of 1's composition but crop the top and bottom some and its worthy of a big print. Perhaps on metal , edge to edge no frame.

It's the better, but something stops me from saying it's great.
It's perhaps on the level of photos I could take myself, not the level of photos which I expect from seasoned professionals. :D

Maybe you. should think a bit more highly of your own work. Seasoned pros shoot many poopers. Lee , Mike and Patrick all shout bad photos every time they go out. Their percentage of great shots may be higher than ours but if you have been shooting for some time you likely can produce images on par with theirs. If you watched their video about the Ansel Adams prank it proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that even the greatest photogs shoot images the rest of us just shrug our shoulders at. ...Peace...

I understand that, but you wouldn't expect them to use those shots when they actually honestly try to make out who's the best photographer.

Hence I suspect it's another setup, like the iPhone vs Nikon D850.

This time I suspect they did something with AI image enhancement.

I am certain it is another setup but since they set themselves rules and time constraints they are hardly seriously trying to prove their own prowess as photogs. In fact other than a few glimpses I would say we have seen precious little of their genuine work. I liken them to serious musicians getting together to jam. Since they are great anything they play will sound good but the jamming is for fun and not necessarily their best.


Aren't we supposed to be staying home in our own bubble?