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My Best Photos of 2017

This assignment ran from Dec 12 to Jan 2, 2018.

This Your Shot assignment is simple: share your BEST photos taken during the 2017 calendar year.

I’ve invited National Geographic photographer Matt Moyer to join me as the guest editor. He curated two of our stories this past year: “Unsung Hero” and “Finding Family.”

We want to see the best of the best. We will be looking for images that tell powerful stories on their own, but please pay special care to giving detailed background in your captions. The images selected for the final story will have wowed us with their composition, and with their compelling captions.

I want to thank everyone for being a part of our Your Shot family this past year. It’s been such a special year for me, and I can’t believe it’s almost over.

NOTE: Photos previously published in a 2017 story will be accepted and considered for this assignment’s final story. Any photo not taken during the 2017 calendar year will be automatically disqualified from being published in the final story.

David Y. Lee
Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot

Matt Moyer
National Geographic photographer

Curated by:

Matt Moyer
National Geographic Photographer

David Y. Lee
Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot
Assignment Status
  • Open

    Everyone’s welcome to contribute their best shot to open assignments. Learn more.
  • Closed

    Completed assignments—with our favorite photos included—will be published online. Learn more.
  • Published

    Once the submission period is over, we'll review all contributions and select our favorite images to be included in the story. Learn more.
Published Jan 16, 2018.
Thank you for your contributions!

Be Published on the Cover of Nat Geo Traveler magazine

Posted feb 14, 2018

FYI — there is a new Your Shot assignment right now called “The Trip That Changed My Life,” which is your chance to be featured on the cover of National Geographic Traveler’s upcoming “Epic Summer” issue (June/July 2018). Click here to submit your photos.

Check out our blog post featuring Your Shot photographer Victor Lima, who was previous winner of this opportunity. Victor bought his very first camera in November 2014; five months later he made the photo that was published on the cover of National Geographic Traveler magazine. This could be you. I hope you will all submit — I know I wish I could. Good luck Your Shot photographers. I cannot wait to see whose photos will be featured.

David Y. Lee
Producer, National Geographic Your Shot

Accidental Editor's Favorites

Posted jan 8, 2018

You might have recently noticed that you are missing recent editor’s favorites from me — our internal system accidentally favorited almost 1,000 photos recently. I know how special editor’s favorites are for you, so I feel awful for the confusion. I apologize. We have addressed the issue, so this should not happen again. The Your Shot team is working hard to improve the user experience, including for us editors so we can better engage with you, to help encourage you to become better photographers and more thoughtful storytellers. Thanks for your patience, and thanks for being a part of the Your Shot community.

David Y. Lee
Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot

Editor's Update 02

Posted dec 26, 2017

I’ve looked through a couple thousand images so far and this is certainly sharping up to be the Best Of 2017! Excellent work across the board. I’ve seen some stunning landscapes and beautiful portraits. I’ve seen storytelling photojournalism and some amazing insect photographs. All in all, it is an excellent body of work that is being submitted. You all have had a very busy 2017!

A few things to keep in mind. My final selects will be images that have soul, that have depth, and go beyond the superficial. They have to be different from all the other similar images being submitted. For example, I have seen many dozens of images showing off brilliant nighttime skies. Many are executed perfectly with a star-studded sky above a beautiful landscape below. If you are submitting an image like this, strive to have it say something more than just the usual. If you have decided to take an image with “star-trails,” there should be a reason for the “star-trails” beyond “they look cool.” Ask yourself how they help tell the story you are trying to tell.

I would suggest you lean towards the authentic with your images. Heavily post-processing (for example: extreme sharpening, clarity, luminance) will push an image OUT of consideration. If you spend more than seven minutes on an image “making it work” in Photoshop, most likely you are having to “fix” something that doesn’t work. Keep it simple, lightly adjust contrast, exposure, perhaps a slight tweak of the color. Trust that you made the image you wanted to make in the field and resist the temptation to “improve” it by heavily using software. This is not an assignment about Photoshop or Lightroom. This is about how you see in the field with just you and your camera.

Keep up the good work!

Matt Moyer
Nat Geo photographer

Opening Up for a 4th Submission...

Posted dec 22, 2017

I estimate that I have favorited over 26,000 Your Shot photos in the 2017 calendar year — which makes this assignment so much fun because I get to see many of these images again. But what I really love is seeing the photos without Editor’s Favorites or Editor’s Notes, and those that were not published in a Daily Dozen or final story. With 11 days left in the assignment, Matt and I have already favorite over 700 of your submissions. I love it. Keep up the great work everyone. And because we want to keep seeing your best photos taken during the 2017 calendar year, we are going to open up the assignment for a fourth submission. The submission deadline is still January 2, 2018 at 12PM EST.

As always, I really love how many of you are taking advantage of the assignment discussion board, and asking each other for advice and feedback on photos you are considering BEFORE submitting. I find this so smart. This is how you will get better as a photographer and storyteller, by encouraging and inspiring each other.

For example, this submission by Your Shot photographer Shannon Hunt is a perfect example of taking advantage of the discussion board: “Dance Like No One is Watching.”

I can’t remember which previous assignment discussion board Shannon shared photos of her daughter for, but I remember that throughout the assignment, Shannon kept working and ultimately improving the moment, composition, light, and overall visual narrative. She tried again and again, and again. Even though this photo was not selected for the final story, I am really proud of Shannon and how hard she worked to deliver this frame. Over 2017 through her continued engagement on the assignment discussion boards, I have witnessed Shannon become a better photographer and storyteller, and I am very excited to continue seeing her grow in 2018. My advice is to take advantage of the assignment discussion board. This type of engagement is what makes Your Shot so special: the opportunity to engage with a global community of photographers who all aspire to become better.

Also, if you want to be inspired, check out the "About Robbie Shone" Editor’s Note for our “Wow! What an Adventure” assignment curated by Nat Geo photographer Robbie Shone. Before Robbie was a Nat Geo photographer, he was a Your Shot member… I hope you'll submit to his assignment and share your adventures with him; the submission deadline is Tuesday December 26, 2017.

Keep up the great work everyone.

David Y. Lee
Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot

Matt Moyer

Matt Moyer

National Geographic Photographer
Matt Moyer is a photojournalist committed to documenting the social and cultural issues that affect our world. His intimate photographs go behind the headlines to put a human face on the biggest issues of the day. For the past decade Moyer has spent his time photographing feature stories for National Geographic magazine and documenting social issues for non-profit foundations. He has also worked on assignment for other prominent publications including The New York Times, Marie Claire, The Independent, and The Guardian. He has covered the major events of the past decade including the fall of the twin towers, security contractors in Afghanistan, healthcare in America, and the Iraq war.

David Y. Lee

David Y. Lee

Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot
Before joining the Your Shot team, David covered the White House for Time and Newsweek, and served as an official photographer for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. He also started The Waiting List, a non-profit storytelling project humanizing the statistics of organ donation.