Photographers at the Yakima Herald-Republic are often asked “What’s the favorite photo you’ve taken?”

That’s a hard question to answer.

In the first 11 months of 2012, the Yakima Herald-Republic published 17,471 photos shot by its four photographers — Sara Gettys, Gordon King, TJ Mullinax and Andy Sawyer.

So, choosing one favorite photo taken this year is no easy task.

And what makes one photo the “favorite photo”? It could be the subject of the image. Or the lighting. Or the circumstances surrounding the taking of that photo. Maybe it’s the composition. For every photographer, the reasons are different.

Here are our four favorite photos of 2012. For more about each image and a photo gallery of more top photos of 2012, go to yakimaherald.com.