Black and white landscape photo taken in Galicia, Spain.

Creative Exercise: Your Best Ten Images From 2016

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At the end of every year it’s a good idea to go through your photos taken during the last 12 months and pick the best ten images. It’s an interesting exercise that helps you identify the themes and ideas that you have explored in your photos. It’s also helpful in the search for future ideas and projects.

The idea is to pick your best photos, rather than your favorites. This helps exclude images of family and friends that have emotional value for you but may not be of much interest to other people.

As you look through your photos ask yourself the following questions.

  • What themes emerge as you select your best photos?
  • What cameras and lenses did you use the most?
  • Are you drawn to making photos of people, places or a mixture of the two?
  • Are your best images color or black and white?
  • What links can you find between your best images? Are they linked by subject matter or post-processing treatment?
  • What ideas for future themes and projects emerge from your best images?
  • How do your best images from 2016 compare to your best photos from 2015, 2014 and so on? Can you see an evolution from earlier photos to your present favorites?
  • How can you improve on your best photos from 2016? What do you have to do to move on to the next level in 2017?

The answers will hopefully help inspire you and create even better photos in 2017.

My Best Photos From 2016

My best photos from 2016 were all made in Spain. It was a year of two halves – I spent the first few months concentrating on street photography, and the rest of the year on landscape photography.

The first five images were all made at carnival in Cadiz. Singing and performing is a big part of the carnival. The singers’ elaborate costumes make them an ideal subject for photography.

The last five images were made in the regions of Asturias and Galicia in northern Spain. This part of northern Spain is known for its beautiful coastal scenery that’s ideal for landscape photography.

Portrait of singer at carnival in Cadiz, Spain.

Portrait of singer at carnival in Cadiz, Spain.

Portrait of singer at carnival in Cadiz, Spain.

Portrait of singer at carnival in Cadiz, Spain.

Portrait of singer at carnival in Cadiz, Spain.

Black and white landscape photo taken in Asturias, Spain.

Black and white landscape photo taken in Asturias, Spain.

Black and white landscape photo taken in Galicia, Spain.

Black and white landscape photo taken in Asturias, Spain.

Black and white landscape photo taken in Galicia, Spain.

I’ve selected these images as my best because they represent the two main themes that I explored throughout the year – street and landscape photography. Personally, I find the street photos most interesting and intend to expand more on this documentary approach to photography in the future.

I worked a lot in black and white in 2016, and in 2017 I intend to make a change and work a lot more in color.

In terms of future themes and projects I’d like to photograph more interesting cultural events in Europe.

The seventh photo in this selection suggests an interesting project photographing abandoned places. This is an idea I will explore further in 2017.

When I compare these photos with my best images from 2015 I can see that my favorites from 2015 all involved people. I would like to work more on photographing people in 2017.

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About Andrew S. Gibson

Andrew S. Gibson is a writer with a camera. He started writing about photography while traveling in Bolivia, and has been published in many prestigious photography magazines including EOS magazine, where he worked as a Writer and Technical Editor for two years. He lives in south Devon in the UK and is inspired by meeting new people, seeing new places and having new experiences. Check out his photography ebooks here.


  1. Stunning collection of work. Always a pleasure to see your year end photos and really appreciate your participation in this years Best Photos of the Year blog project. I hope you and your family have a great 2017!

  2. Thanks, it was helpful to read those questions and I will now make this work as well. But the difficult thing is to see beyond the emotion linked to a photo in order to choose the best ones. What shall I look for, what makes a good photo? That I can use in competitions? I haven’t figured that out yet. It’s difficult. What makes a photo unique?

    1. Author

      Hi Kristina, that’s a great set of questions. The best way to answer is to look at the work of other photographers and ask yourself those questions about their work. It’s much easier to be objective about other people’s work than your own.

      Here are some questions you could ask yourself:

      How does the photographer use color? Do the photos have a limited color palette? If the photo is black and white, why do you think the photographer used black and white and not color?

      What type of light was the photo taken in? How atmospheric is the light? What time of day and what atmospheric conditions do you think the photo was taken in?

      How well are the photos composed? Where is the main subject or focal point/s placed in the frame and why do you think the photographer placed them there? Did the photographer use a wide-angle lens or a telephoto? Shallow depth of field or is everything sharp? How did the photographer create a sense of depth in the image? What are the visual relationships between the different elements of the photo in terms of balance and tone? Is there any negative space?

      How interesting is the subject? How much effort did it probably take from the photographer to find the subject?

      Hope that helps!

  3. I wish I could’ve had digital when younger , I bought my first 35mm at 18 /canon AE1 . ( a Kodak brownie at age 10 ). have been having too much with 11-16 , 24-810superzoom , A7R , 6 digitalocameras plus Minolta with 10 lens +bellows . love your b+w constantly amazed at others ART .Studied art history and went to the Vatican / uffizzi gallery and museum . That was awesome now with digital stuff is going to be ………… the next 20/50 years .I wish I could do that stuff now . SORRY supposed to comment / havenot tried B+W with my A7R yet . Inspired by you !! mike

  4. Ive been having too much fun with digital…..

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