There is an incredible amount of beautiful photography shared through 500px, and each month we enlist the help of 12 “Guest Curators” to play Editor and dig the best and brightest out of the archives.

Then, when they’re done picking their favorites for the month, we sit down with them to ask a few questions and find out why they picked the images they did.

Today it’s time to meet Guest Curator Raquel Lopez-Chicheri, a Fuerteventura, Spain-based photographer whose portraiture ranges from moody and mysterious, to joyful and dreamlike.

Raquel was one of our December Editors, and today we get to share her favorite 500px photos and the reasons why she loved each one. Scroll down and enjoy!

500PX: What do you believe makes a good photo?

RAQUEL LOPEZ-CHICHERI: Different things can make a good photo: to transmit a feeling, to tell a story, it may have impressive composition, a special moment captured, incredible light…

Out of all your own photos, what is your most favorite, and can you share the story behind this shot?

RAQUEL: It is such difficult matter to choose just one photo, but i will try… this is just a very simple portrait, it isn´t prepared at all. Normally these are my favorites, the spontaneous moments where the kids looked at me when I said, “let´s take a photo!”

RAQUEL (continued): It was after a surf session. The kids were happy, full of joy, they took some nice waves. The light here it is beautiful and I like that one of the kids is totally in the shadow… this makes the photo more interesting.

There is also a body totally in black that breaks the central composition. This is the kind of photo that makes my heart beat faster when I see it for the first time on my computer. It also has so much atmosphere.

Raquel Lopez-Chicheri’s Favorite 500px Photos

Alright, now that you’ve gotten to know Raquel a bit better and understand what it is that she believes makes a good photo, scroll down to see her 5 favorite photos and why she chose to bestow the coveted Editors’ Choice on each.

Sea by Madamilein

I find this portrait awesome. There’s something disturbing about how the girl looks at the camera and the other is not. The composition is very good, it guides you on both senses: one girl guides you towards the sea, and the other one directly to you.

I found in this photo a kind of Yin & Yang, and the B&W works perfectly to make that feeling stronger. I imagine the two different personalities on the same girl.

Anyway, all these thoughts that I am trying to express in English (which is hard because I am Spanish), are just ideas that come to my mind when you ask me to explain a photo, because this process of thinking about a photo… I never never do it. The photo either appeals to me or not, and I never spend time thinking about why it does or does not — it is an instant feeling, very quick.

Swimming With Giants (B&W) by Christian Loader

This photo really speaks to me because swimming with whales is a recurring dream that I have — not only a dream like a wish, but a literal dream. The b&w works better that the color because it allows more room for the imagination to play a part. The composition it is also very good and, of course, the magical moment captured.

* by Juris Justs

This is an awesome and very strong close-up portrait: the expression, the background, the light, the blacks.

Untitled by Giulia Muraglia

I have a special love for smoke portraits. In this one, the b&w is beautiful; I also like the focus, the way the smoke goes out of the mouth, the closed eyes and the framing.

West, Africa, Mali, Mopti by Vittore Buzzi

Photojournalism is my passion. I wish I could travel all the time and be inspired for different people and situations. I like very much wide angle lens to include in the photo several persons on different distances, this photo is a good example.

A big thank you to Raquel for taking the time to be one of our Guest Curators and answer these questions so you could get some insight into why she picked the photos she did.

To see more of her wonderful work, be sure to check out her 500px profile or pay her a visit on her website, Behance, and Pinterest.