Here we are, halfway through 2017, and looking back at the first half of the year, I can't help but be impressed with the photos that the PhotographyTalk community is putting out day in and day out.
I mean, seriously...you guys have been rocking it!
Below are 30 incredible images, all taken by folks that make the PhotographyTalk community such a great place to learn and thrive in your creative pursuits.
But don't take my word for it...
Scroll through the images below, learn a little tidbit about improving your photography, and see what you can do to make your photos in the latter half of 2017 better than ever!
June started off with a bang with this stellar shot by Jola.
What immediately caught the eye of our editors is the lighting - the soft glow emerging from the background to illuminate the tree tops.
There's a gentleness about this shot as well, both in the still waters of the lake and in the mist in the background.
Those colors in the foliage aren't half bad, either!
In one of the most breathtaking maternity photos we've seen, Marina Strachan demonstrates how a little drama goes a long way when creating a gorgeous portrait.
Placing the model on the beach with the form of the waves and the texture of the sand gives the shot tons of interest, but without distracting the eye from the model.
The deep, saturated color of her gown (and the fact that it's catching the wind) immediately draws our attention to the mom-to-be.
And talk about a background! Usually, a nondescript backdrop is the way to go, but as you can see here, that's not a hard and fast rule!
There's a couple of things going for this landscape shot that aren't typical.
First and foremost, the inclusion of the hot air balloon adds some interest and whimsy to give the landscape a different look and feel than most shots of this type.
Secondly, the vertical aspect of the shot accentuates the height of the mountain in the background, making the image that much more visually impressive.
If you have tall subjects, shoot vertically for a similar height-enhancing effect.
Sometimes, simplicity is the most powerful statement when it comes to photography.
This gorgeous shot is an ideal example of this concept.
There's little variation in color, and the building occupies most of the frame.
However, the inclusion of the foreground interest - the texture of the sand - and the incredible golden lighting in the background give this photo tons of impact.
When trying to create a more visually appealing image, sometimes, less is more!
Though golden hour is a preferred time of day for taking outdoor photos, this beauty by Debby proves that you can get a stunning image any time of day.
The late afternoon light bathes Mt. Rainier in warm rays, while the long shadows add depth and dimension.
The inclusion of the water in the foreground for a perfect reflection only adds more interest to the shot.
One of the keys to a great nighttime shot is to have something in the foreground that gives context to the sky above.
In this case, Horseshoe Bend is an ideal candidate, as the looping shape of the river and the texture of the rocks gives the image the depth it needs.
Note as well how the walls of the canyon act like a frame within a frame, almost pushing our eyes toward the center and the background of the image.
That's how you compose a fantastic astrophotography image!
What else is there to say but WOW?
There's all sorts of learning moments in this shot - the timing at golden hour, the framing of the image in a vertical format, and the inclusion of foreground interest, just to name a few...
The water in the foreground also acts to brighten that area of the shot - a trick landscape photographers use to reduce the dynamic range.
If you want to lighten dark areas of your landscapes, try adding water!
This image was captured with the help of Arsenal, the world's first intelligent photography assistant.
Arsenal helps perfect the camera settings for virtually any subject, and as you can see, the results aren't bad at all!
What's more, the framing of the shot such that the foreground boulder balances nicely with the background rock formations makes this a pleasing image to view.
From our editors: "This abstract photo is especially eye-catching because of the contrast between the dark lines created by the piers and the bright colors of the setting sun. Bob Retnauer shows us that photos don't always have to be in focus to have tons of impact."
I couldn't agree more - this shot definitely has impact!
There are plenty of composition tools to help you give your landscapes more impact, but one of the most powerful is leading lines.
In this dandy shot, there are two sets of lines that help direct our eye deeper into the image - the highway on the left and the river on the right.
Note how the two lines appear to converge in the distance, just below the highest mountain peak.
Now that's how to direct a viewer's attention!
Creating an elegant maternity shot isn't just about the wardrobe the expecting mother is wearing (though it helps!).
As you can see, in this shot, the pose helps elevate the image while the soft, warm lighting gives it a classic look.
The low perspective from which this photo was taken also helps make it a more visually appealing image with the blurry grass in the foreground acting as a nice frame.
The beauty of this shot isn't just in the action of the grizzly catching his lunch...
Instead, the little details are what makes this such an incredible photo.
Note the scars and injuries on this old bear, which tell a story of how hard it is to survive in the wild.
No matter the subject you photograph, strive to include little details that help you tell a more compelling story.
Jola makes another appearance on our June list with this beautiful shot of a tiny hummingbird.
When photographing birds - especially those hovering or in flight - timing is everything.
With a fast shutter speed, Jola was able to freeze this little guy's movement as he feeds on the flower's nectar.
But note as well how the focus is absolutely spot on - the bird is perfectly sharp.
That's a lot harder to do than it looks!
Black and white photography is all about finding ways to add visual interest in the absence of color.
In this image, you can see how lines, shapes, and textures all contribute to a more interesting shot.
It's also worth mentioning the dynamic range here - there's a beautiful array of deep blacks, midtone grays, and bright whites to delight the eye.
I've never been to Mauritius, but this photo makes me want to visit!
The long shafts of light emanating from the clouds in the background create a perfect backdrop for a dramatic image.
The inclusion of the boats in the foreground help ground the image as well, and give it a bit of a story with the addition of a human element.
Great work, Dave!
When composing a photo, bear in mind its visual balance.
In this case, the large mountain on the right is an imposing figure in the scene, yet the photo is well balanced by the inclusion of the foreground rocks and the buildings on the left.
That sunset in the middle of the background is a beautiful addition too!
When undertaking a maternity photo shoot, you don't just have to take photos of the mom-to-be.
In this beautiful example, you can see how a mommy and me shot shows the relationship of mom to her existing and upcoming children.
The addition of the "unicorn" adds a cuteness to the photo and provides a little levity for mom and daughter to smile about.
Black and white images - especially foggy ones - benefit from elements that provide a bit of structure.
In this case, the branches of the trees give that structural element while also providing a little more dynamic range.
The result is an image that feels a little mysterious, don't you think?
Working in low lighting conditions can be a challenge, but as you can see in this shot by Jens, it can often pay off!
With so many dark tones in the photo, the addition of the pops of green in the foreground and the sunset colors in the background give it a little more vibrancy.
Note as well how everything from front to back is in sharp focus. That gives the image wonderful depth and impact!
What do you get when you combine a perfect composition with fall colors and a wide-angle lens? This shot!
Not only do the colors of the Maroon Bells pop off the screen, but the deep blue of the sky adds a nice contrast to those bright yellows.
Using complementary colors like that gives your image more eye-catching qualities that help viewers engage with it for longer.
That's a winning combination!
This image is the most popular Inspirational Photo of the Day we've ever had.
I think you can see why...
The action, the low perspective, and the black and white treatment make this an image that is worthy of hanging on your wall - or in a museum!
Timing was everything here, and Alex W. certainly nailed that aspect of the shot as well.
Kudos on a great shot, Alex!
As our editors stated when they selected this photo, "This image of Benjakiti Park demonstrates how adding water to the foreground gives a cityscape a more dynamic feel. With the reflection of the lights on the water, the photo has better depth, and with the height of the buildings, the image seems taller too."
They took the words right out of my mouth!
There's an interesting lesson in this photo...
How often have you seen something like a field of flowers and just kept driving by?
As Dan shows us, there's value in stopping to smell the roses (or the sunflowers) and taking a few minutes to enjoy the scenery and take a few photos, too.
You don't have to have an especially spectacular subject to make a great photo - you just have to stop and take the time to take the shot!
Could you last 8 seconds on a bull?
I couldn't, but this guy sure seems to have given it his all!
The action captured in this shot is incredible, and likely something that was made possible by shooting in burst mode.
However it was accomplished, the mid-air flight of the cowboy is sure something to look at!
When composing a shot of a sunset, it's important not to just frame the shot of the sky.
Instead, you need foreground elements to give some context to the shot, like the plants and mountains in the image above.
Doing so helps give the image more interest while providing some depth at the same time.
When taking a portrait, consider the mood you want to convey.
In this case, the background seems a bit dark and mysterious...
But with the bright white gown the model is wearing, she seems almost angelic.
That's a nice contrast to have that makes this image much more interesting!
The angle from which you shoot your photos is an important factor in determining how impactful the image will be.
In this case, peering through the arch with the sun just at its edge helps create a dramatic sunburst that draws our attention to the center of the frame.
From there, your eye sees all the detail in the background, particularly in the interesting rock formations.
If you want to create a more dynamic photo, think about the perspective from which you shoot!
In this gorgeous black and white photo, you can see the value of two things - light and forms.
The simple streetlights give the scene plenty of illumination, but not so much that it loses its mysterious vibe.
And the forms of the trees, with their crooked and winding branches, give the shot tons of visual appeal that only add to the haunted, mysterious feel of the shot.
Well done, Bryan!
When photographing landscapes in the winter, one thing to be careful about is not making tracks in the snow.
As you can see in this stunner of an image, the pristine snow lends to the crisp, clean mood of this shot.
And that light in the dead of night isn't bad either, right?!
In another stellar example of landscape photography, we see the value of framing the subject.
In this case, the fallen tree and the foliage in the foreground help restrict our field of view, yet still add to the shot with tons of visual interest.
The mountain peak reflected in the lake helps make it doubly appealing and draws our attention to the background of the photo.
There you have it...30 photos to inspire your creativity in the coming days, weeks, and months!