PhotographyYour Shot Photos of the Week

Your best photos of the week, December 14, 2018

Each week, our editors choose stunning photos submitted by members of Your Shot, National Geographic's photo community.

This week has been a wonderful whirlwind for the Your Shot community. We published our first ever yearly round up of your best photos of 2018 and on that same day we published our 150th story!

This week’s edit features a handful of striking portraits that came through uploads that immediately struck me. Then I started to worry, “what if the edit is portrait heavy?” Then I remembered a really lovely thing Maggie Steber said during her Not Just a Face assignment she ran on Your Shot this past summer: “You can make a portrait of anything.” That has stayed with me since the moment she said it.

I think photography can frequently be restricting when we aren’t willing to question the “rules.” I remember in my classes in college we were expected to learn the rules before we can break them but it can be a good exercise to always question what we know. You can make infinite creative discoveries when you “dare to fail,” as Jenn Poggi always says. Taking that dare and being willing to push your limits will undoubtedly lead to some “fails” along the way but you will come out on the other side with valuable lessons in creativity.

So, who is to say you can’t make a portrait of any kind of noun? Why can’t a landscape image be a portrait of a breathtaking vista or how much you love your backyard or even create a narrative about infrastructure? Why can’t a found still life be a portrait of everyday life and human behavior? There’s no right or wrong answer here, of course. Just food for thought…

Associate Photo Editor Kristen McNicholas looks at daily uploads from Your Shot, starting each day by sifting through thousands of photographs. This series is a selection of her favorites from the past week.