A few weeks ago, Pye Jirsa from SLR Lounge traveled back down to Puerto Rico to battle Lee and I for the "World's Best Photographer" award. Today, we have the results and the full behind the scenes video of the shoot-off. Brace yourself; things do not go as expected.
This is now the third time Pye Jirsa has visited us in Puerto Rico, and it's also the fourth time he and Lee Morris have battled head to head. The first shootout occurred here in Old San Juan (watch the video here), and the rematch took place out in Orange County, California (watch that video here). To mix things up, I joined the next shootout when Pye returned to Old San Juan, and you can see our first three-person shoutout here. Without giving away too many of the results, Pye wound up with the most wins, so both Lee and I were out for blood.
For this shootout, the rules were much simpler than in the past. We had one camera, a Nikon D850, two lenses, the Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 and the Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8, one Profoto B10 strobe light, one location on the beach, one model who had actually never modeled before, and one single outfit. We also could use anything in the camera bag, which included a few light modifiers, some filters, and a few other accessories that were used later on in the shoot.
Each person only had 20 minutes to form a concept and create the single image that would be submitted to our audience for judging. During this 20-minute shooting period, the other two photographers would both assist but also heckle the working photographer in hopes of throwing off their game. Over the course of these shootouts, the goal often isn't as much about creating an amazing image as much as it is making the photographer as anxious and stressed as possible.
The Final Submissions
Below are the before and after images from all three photographers.
As with all of these competitions, we like to upload the images onto Fstoppers and have our readers pick the winning images. What's exciting about this process is the photographers never know what style or elements will be best received by the Fstoppers community. Sometimes, they pick the image with the most retouching or Photoshop. Other times, it is the pose, location, or subject matter that stands out the most. In this case, I think our readers just wanted to see an image that wasn't flat-out horrible, and for that, I do apologize! I think it's fair to say that all three of us felt these final images weren't any where near our best work, and in a way, that made waiting for the results that much more agonizing.
Congratulations to Pye Jirsa for a close but successful victory once again. In my mind, all this proves is that we need another rematch now that I am 0-2 in these three-person challenges and 3-0 in head-to-head competitions.
Pye's New Visual Flow Presets
If you watch the video above or scroll through the before and after slider on his winning image, you can see that quite a bit of post-production was done to his final photograph. When I first saw his before and after, I thought he had spent a ton of time in post only to find out this stylized edit was accomplished in less than two minutes. Pye Jirsa has been a top educator on teaching how photographers can quickly apply presets to large batches of images and drastically decrease their workflow time. With the release of Digital Flow Presets, saving time while achieving awesome looking final edits has never been easier.
Without getting too technical in the process, most presets only work well on images that perfectly match the lighting and color scheme of the original photograph the preset was based on. If you've ever applied a generic preset to one of your images, more often than not, you find yourself having to still make a ton of micro-adjustments in order to make your image look correct. What Visual Flow does that is so revolutionary is that each preset is based on very specific lighting situations, resulting in a final image that only needs an adjustment tweak of exposure and possibly white balance. Since the software is based on a database of hundreds of images, each time you apply a Visual Flow Preset to your image, it should always look accurate, regardless of if the image was lit with direct flash, backlighting, open shade, soft lights, hard lights, bounce flash, or blue hour lighting.
The below example shows how much detail you can pull out of an image with a single preset click.
We are going to release a few videos soon showing just how crazy the results can be and how much better the image quality can be in a fraction of the time compared to a manual edit, but for now, if you want more information, head over to the Visual Flow Preset Website and check out even more examples.
If you enjoy this type of content and want to see more of our shootout videos, make sure you subscribe to the Fstoppers Youtube Channel and also head over to the shootout playlist, where you can see many more videos like this.