• March 20, 2014

Your Shot: A Community’s Expression of Love

“Keep up the good work Monica and don’t forget to browse others’ work to get inspired…”


Several years ago, not long after I’d submitted a photo to Your Shot, I received the above comment from another member of the community. This person had no idea that I was a picture editor at National Geographic but liked my photo and wanted to pass on a helpful hint—learn from looking. This could easily be the tagline for the community.


“Looking at the pictures on Your Shot is a really wonderful way to see a lot of really great pictures and learn something. I think that we learn how to take better pictures by looking at better pictures … If you spend the time, you can really grow as a photographer.” —Maggie Steber, National Geographic photographer

Picture of father with small infant premature
Photograph by Amanda Linden, National Geographic Your Shot

Let’s take a step back and assume you have never heard of Your Shot. Who and what is it? It’s a group of people who are passionate about taking pictures and want to get better at it; who love all types of photography; who enjoy an energetic debate and respect differences of opinion; and who share their lives through images and words. It’s a community of almost 400,000 members from 196 countries—more than half of which live outside the United States. Apparently photography is a universal language because the quality of the conversation and the depth of personal connection that happens on a daily basis are inspiring. Last year we redesigned and reengineered the entire online experience. One consequence was that the conversations that had been happening on a small scale in the shadows were enlivened and exposed for the first time. It’s no surprise that many of the photos submitted to National Geographic are amazing, but what really distinguishes Your Shot is the conversation.

“I started going to the discussion section and it was there that…the richness of the experience occurred. Because I started to converse with individual photographers and make more comments—really having back and forth conversations with people. And that was completely fascinating to see how passionate this community is. They really want to get better. It’s meaningful to them … and that changed the entire experience (for me).” —Lynn Johnson, National Geographic photographer

Picture of parents mourning
Photograph by Cristian Munteanu, National Geographic Your Shot

Each month we run several assignments that are led by editors and photographers who curate their favorite photos and add their own commentary to create a collaborative or crowd-sourced story. Our most recent story was edited by National Geographic photographers Lynn Johnson and Maggie Steber, and National Geographic magazine senior photo editor Elizabeth Krist. The Love Snap assignment was a transformative experience for both the community and the editors.

“It’s moving to see how engaged people are. I think it says something wonderful about photography.” —Maggie Steber

Picture of a girl and grandmother in garden
Photograph by Joanna Szymańska, National Geographic Your Shot

The editors’ preconceived notions about what makes a powerful image were broadened to include photos that while not technically strong, were powerful in showing raw emotion. The community was challenged to go beyond the cliché and find unexpected moments of tenderness. The result was our most emotionally charged story thus far. And the heartfelt conversation continues…

Picture of young girl and dying grandfather
Photograph by Elizabeth Flora Ross, National Geographic Your Shot

“I am so very honored to be included in this collection. It is even more meaningful since my father passed away a few days ago, and this was the last photo taken of him with my daughter. What a wonderful legacy to have their special bond not only captured, but immortalized in such an amazing way. Thank you!”Elizabeth Flora Ross, Your Shot photographer


Interested in hearing from the Love Snap editors? Listen to a Behind the Edit session on the Your Shot blog.

There are 27 Comments. Add Yours.

  1. julie
    June 15, 2014

    this is love thank you for sharing

  2. Fiona B
    May 13, 2014

    How beautiful

  3. Manas Saha
    May 9, 2014


  4. Angelica Cyril Adivoso
    May 5, 2014

    Pictures can capture the best moment of your life.

  5. Eliud Alicea
    May 4, 2014

    Son muy emotivas gracias por compartirlas

  6. mostafa
    May 4, 2014

    Very lovely.tanks

  7. Ahmed siraj
    April 15, 2014


  8. Yasmine
    April 14, 2014

    I love photos, because it conveys feelings and emotions.

  9. raghu
    April 11, 2014

    lovely images…

  10. Jocelyne Sauvageau
    April 8, 2014

    Des photos à couper le souffle!
    Des photos d’une grande beauté et sensibilité!

  11. Lucy Belle Howells-Love
    April 7, 2014

    What a Wonderful World!

  12. valentina ceccatelli
    April 4, 2014

    those pictures gave me back my faith in humanity

  13. Karlla L. Araújo
    March 30, 2014

    Fotos emocionantes lindas

  14. Lena Lafayette
    March 30, 2014

    Lovely, Amazing and a Wonderful work. Many thanks!

  15. Weigang Chen
    March 28, 2014

    very good,I’m so like

  16. aqani
    March 27, 2014

    love is like sun with out sun no light love is bond b/w two heart if you see any where in world you can see love love like photography b/c he need to improve and keep…..

  17. Cristian Munteanu
    March 26, 2014

    Hello and thank you!
    Monica Corcoran, Lynn Johnson, Elizabeth Krist, Maggie Steber, you all do a great job.
    I have a question. The photos can be taken from here, at a good resolution: 2048×1368 and, in my case, 1,6 mb. Can you do something to protect our copyright, please?

  18. Salman
    March 24, 2014

    Awesome images !!

  19. dinesh
    March 22, 2014

    live, life, & love.
    beautiful photos summing it all…

  20. Johana Joshardojo
    March 22, 2014

    Love is the universal language that binds every heart. Love exists everywhere. It is from love and its expressions where we can have lessons.

  21. Roxana Fernandez
    March 21, 2014

    Thank you for sharing your experience.

  22. Suhasini
    March 21, 2014

    Love is an unconditional emotion which can be expressed through so many ways.

  23. Hiro Kurashina
    March 21, 2014

    Gratitude is expressed to Monica Corcoran, Lynn Johnson, Elizabeth Krist, Maggie Steber and others for organizing the Love Snap Assignment. It has been a truly heartfelt experience, seeing powerful images of love and reading people’s stories. Special thanks to Lynn for her mentoring and unparalleled wisdom in photography!

  24. Anand puzhkaran
    March 20, 2014

    Beautiful images!…

  25. Rich Davidson
    March 20, 2014

    Please see global picks at KariDavidson.com a fourth generation NG viewer! Thank you!

  26. Mouthia
    March 20, 2014

    Really really love pictures in love charcter with much characteristic to be explain from soul with emotionally, life is love.

  27. Ana de la Serna
    March 20, 2014

    I absolutely agree that the best way to improve your photography is to look at the work of other photographers!

    I woul be delighted to receive to hear from the love snap editors as well as listening to a behind the edit session.

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