10 Tips For Success with 365 | Myra Cherchio






Myra Cherchio is a “nearly native” Floridian, wife, mom and clinic director of a medical practice. She spends her free time with camera in hand, documenting her favorite memories with photos and journaling. Myra is also one of my dearest friends, I’m honored to share her insights with you.


Sometimes I think my 365 project has become so second nature that I almost forget how overwhelming it was in the beginning. I remember what a significant decision it was to participate, because once I started, I knew there would be no turning back.

I made the first year impossibly complicated. I thought each photo needed to be a masterpiece. A photographic essay of my best work. Seriously. That lasted a couple months.

This is what I know today about my photography: with shooting, as in life, I have good days, and not so good days. Some days represent exactly what I want to achieve with my camera. On other days, I realize I’ve just got a snapshot. It’s all good. Looking back at year one, there’s not a single photo I don’t appreciate.

Over the past three years, I’ve figured out a few things that might help others get their arms around 365.

1.  Make a plan for the year: It’s important to decide what you’re going to do with your photos. That will guide your processing and organization. If you’re going to design digital or paper albums for your photos, decide before the year starts how you will present them. There are so many options.

•   Scrapbook vs. photo album? Digital vs. paper? Maybe a simple digital slideshow makes sense.

If you’re creating scrapbook pages, ask yourself this:

•   How many photos per page?

•   Templates vs. free form pages?

•   Whitespace vs. a color scheme?

•   Journaling or photos only?

•   Will you create your own album or publish a book with a service like Shutterfly or Blurb

Once these decisions are made, formatting and organizing your photos becomes a snap.

2.  Delete: Sound simple? You would think, right? But in the beginning, I never deleted any of my rejects. My husband, (who I will admit to only among my friends here) is right about so many, many things. When I first got my DSLR, he urged me to delete. “What are you going to do with those photos?” he’d ask. “You have so many shots of the same thing.” “Dunno, I’d say. But they could be important one day.”

Now I understand that keeping useless photos is memory hoarding. Early on, I kept photos out of fear. I worried that I might need them, or that I might miss an important memory without them. So there they sat, cluttering my drive. I couldn’t see the important  photo that I loved because the junk was in the way. Now I delete as I import. I don’t even wipe off my card before I’m finding those rejects and clearing a path so I can find the gems and see my photo of the day with clarity.

3.  Create a file structure: This is the single most important thing I started two years ago. Looking back, I’m amazed that it didn’t occur to me from the outset. I read this tip from Katrina, and can’t imagine looking at my drive any other way.

At the beginning of the year, I create a folder for the year and call it POTD (year). I like to start with prefix of POTD (photo of the day) so that all of my photo of the day folders are grouped together. Nice and tidy. Each year has a subfolder for the month. Each month has every day listed. My photos have all been named like this:Now people, is this not the prettiest thing you’ve ever seen?

Using Lightroom makes it even easier. I tag my most important photos, and delete the rest. My photo of the day is tagged with: POTD, year, month, and any other useful tags. Then I export a processed full sized jpeg to my POTD folder. I also have a smart collection set up in Lightroom with the year and POTD so I can jump to all of my RAW files.

Last year, I used Ali Edwards’ grids to make my book. Keeping my digital supplies in the same place as my photos made the project so much more efficient.

4.  Share with a community: Real friends will keep you honest, and also give you encouragement. I upload my full sized jpegs. Every one. I keep it real and let everyone see that sometimes, my POTD just wasn’t that great. But that’s ok.

I’ve found some of the most incredible inspiration from people who have become dear friends, and I’ve been able to encourage others too. Plus, I kind of like looking in their “living room windows” now and then.

5.  Work with what you’ve got: It doesn’t take a fancy schmancy camera to participate in 365 (not that I don’t love getting my paws on a pro camera). Some of my favorite shots have come from my point and shoot. If you really want to capture life, you need to get those shots in the unlikely places that you can’t take a five pound gorilla of a camera.

Seriously, if I would have even mentioned taking my DSLR on our family bike ride to the beach, my husband would have groaned. And I would have missed Jake making it to the top of the causeway.

6.   Take fewer photos: Yes, you read that correctly. You only need one. Taking many photos each day is the quickest way to burnout. If you captured the moment and you’re happy, stop shooting. Remember, each photo you take has to be processed and that takes time.

7.   Experiment! Most cameras today have a manual setting. I use the manual setting on my point and shoot, and can control white balance, ISO and many other adjustments that give me creative control. The beauty of participating in 365 is that you have the opportunity to get better – push yourself into new areas of creativity. Katrina’s class, Your Life: Captured Through The Lens is a great place to start. Tackle one concept at a time, master it, and move on to the next. At the end of six weeks, you’ll be amazed at your progress.

8.  Get your family involved: This is what it’s all about, right? Many nights, I get home late from work, long after the light is low in the house. I often feel frustrated because all the exciting activity of the day has passed. That’s when I ask for help. “What’s my photo of the day guys?” Jake usually has a drawing, a Lego project, or Michael points out something that’s happened around the house that I might not have noticed. Including my husband and son has made my photography more colorful, connected them, and reduced their eye rollage when they see my camera.

9.  Keep a few notes on each photo: Let’s face it. We’re all busy, and sometimes it’s not easy to deal with your photos in the moment. I recommend a short one or two sentence journal entry to help recreate the page, album, or whatever your 365 project will be later.

10. Enjoy the process! Don’t forget to look at your photos throughout the year. There are so many ways to do this!

I happen to own AppleTV, one of my favorite Apple inventions. It’s inexpensive and was a snap to set up. We rarely use it to buy and watch movies, which of course is Apple’s intention. For our family, it’s our music server. I connected it to my Flickr account, and as it plays my favorite music, I get an on the fly slideshow of my photos. I often stop as I’m passing through the living room and remember. It’s become one of my favorite ways to enjoy my photos.

Whether it’s browsing through your computer, flipping through your old albums, or reviewing your photos in your community, there’s nothing like reviewing your year to get your creative juices flowing. It’s the reason we’re doing this, right?

I wish I wouldn’t have made things so difficult for myself in my early experience with 365. Now I know better and I do better. Just like in life.



    If your using a camera or a camera phone for pictures. Where are you journaling until you complete the pages in the album? I want to start a life project album. But have no idea where to start. Was starting on August 1, 2013. Doesn’t matter to me if it is January or August. Any ideas?

    • I journal in two ways. I complete a daily entry with OhLife.com. They send me an email each evening, I reply to it with activities from the day and it is recorded. I also add notes in the metadata of my photos in Lightroom. Then the info stays with the photo and is easily accessible when I’m ready to journal for a page.

  2. Michal

    I am just starting my 365 and my 12 year old son is doing it with me. He’s the real champ! My favorite tips from Myra are: delete, file structure and my most favorite is work with what you’ve got. I’m also posting a link on fb. Thanks for simplifying!

    • What a great thing to share with your son! Stop by and post your photos on the CY365 Facebook page too. I’d love to see what you do!

  3. Colleen

    I am not acutally doing 365, but somehow I take pictures almost everyday. As I try to learn more and more about photography, I want to go out everyday and try something new in taking pictures. I agree with the tip about deleting photos. I just realized this recently myself, and am in the process of deleting those photos that I really do not need. Great tips, thanks!

  4. thank you for the tips. I would like to record better the memories of my family this year…tanks !

  5. Thank you SO much! I am delighted to be the lucky recipient. I must say I was a bit distracted at work today. I was daydreaming of all the possibilities of this fantastic workshop. I can’t wait for March 22! I am going to blog about it, Facebook about it and talk about it with my friends to see if they would like to join in the fun. Again, thank you!

  6. Making a plan for the year is a great suggestion. When I tried this in 2009, I ran into a snag about halfway through the year. I actually stopped at that point. If I’d had a plan, I think I would have continued.

  7. Just posted a link on Facebook!

  8. Tweet! Tweet! 🙂

  9. Facebooked!

  10. I have to be honest. This year has been my best 365 year ever, and I wasn’t even trying. The secret? I use my camera phone because it is always with me, and I don’t stress if I miss a day. Love all the pictures, even the technically crummy ones.

  11. One of my favorite tips Myra had was to DELETE!!!! Memory hoarding is bad!!! That has just clicked with me! I have started to slowly go back into folders and just delete the photos that weren’t my favs! I don’t need them!
    Thanks for the chance!!!!

  12. I use my iPhone a lot, I also tend to post-process photos on my iPhone and upload them straight to flickr so everything can be done there and than

  13. Using the same template and keeping the focus on the photos and words.

  14. I just tweeted about the giveaway.

  15. I am writing down all the pictures that I have currently taken, and also have a list of pictures that I want to take this year.

  16. I tweeted!

  17. I always have a point and shoot camera in my purse. It makes it easy to capture my kids doing something cute no matter where we’re at!

  18. Nickolette

    I do 365 in a relaxed way…that is, not stressing if I don’t get a photo a day. I do love amassing a collection of my daily life photos…so wonderful to look back on what was happening! I would love the chance to take your class! Thanks for the opportunity!

  19. I use Aperture, and I am going to be using the tagging ideas – thanks! My tip is I have an “appointment” set up in my Google calendar so it emails me every day at 3:30 to remind me to take a POTD. I don’t delete the email until I have taken the picture. I have not taken a pic a few times already this year, but I have gone back and taken a pic of something that represented our day. I am trying to get better at taking good, interesting pictures and not just snaps. It is better now that we have more light up here in Canada! 🙂

  20. I appreciate your reminders to delete and to take less pictures. I’m facing a backlog of photos to be printed and feel overwhelmed sometimes by the number of photos to go through.

  21. I keep a little calender that I jot a quick note about my 365 picture down. Then if I get a little behind downloading or looking at my pictures I remember the story behind the picture I took that day for P365.

  22. I have been doing the 365project since Feb08 and have no intentions of stopping…yet. My tip is also Myra’s tip – not every photo has to be a masterpiece. It’s ok to have ok photos…just that you are taking one is enough!

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  23. I’ve found that having (a) camera with me everywhere I go has not only helped my P365 a lot, but it has given me the opportunity to catch so many wonderful memories that I otherwise would not have been able to preserve.

  24. Well I’ve not attempted a P365 yet, coming from a long time scrapbooker! I’m new to digi scrapping and I just purchased a P365 template pack. I’d love to start! I think my biggest challenges will be to 1; *remember* to get the camera out everyday, and 2; actually scrap my photos and get them printed!

    I totally agree with tip #10- look back through your photos- even photos I thought were horrible at the time become some of the most treasured memories :o)

  25. I love 365 scrapbooking. so I have been doing this for over a year now. Love having ideas for the day it soooo helps. thanks for the chance to win.

    Dawn mc

  26. BettyLou

    Shared on facebook

  27. BettyLou

    I’ve completed my first week, key to my success so far is using my phone and my camera. Either works. Key to my continued success is bound to be DELETE!

  28. I just posted a link on Facebook and shared it with all my shutterbug friends 🙂

  29. I’m brand new to your site and am loving it! Myra’s words about not needing to have a fancy camera is music to my ears. I’m having fun capturing the moments in my life and the joy of the creativity in the process.

  30. With my kiddos around, I always have something to photograph — even if it’s just a goofy face. If I happen to miss a day I don’t sweat it…I just pick an extra from a day that week. Just have fun with it….it shouldn’t become a chore.

  31. I like your tagging in Lightroom! I’d love to have a spot in the class!!!

  32. It’s much easier for me to capture my photo a day now that I have a point and shoot small enough to carry around in my purse. Yes, I love taking pictures with my DSLR, but it’s not always practical to take out and about while chasing three kids. The P&S takes some great pictures! Thanks for the great giveaway!

  33. OMG I never thought about using my AppleTV (which you are right is the best invention EVER) for my 365 photos! Thanks for that! 🙂

  34. Love the organization!

  35. I try to take my picture of the day early in the day before things get too busy. That way, I can be sure it’s done.

  36. I am keeping my daily journal cards next to my camera. I snap my picture and then jot down my journaling on the back I put image # so when uploading I can find it quickly.

  37. Christina

    I have my husband take photos when I’m not around, which is usually on the weekends while I’m at work. I used to have to ask him before I left, but now he knows to grab the camera without a text or phone call reminder.

  38. I totally agree with getting your kids involved if they are big enough. If I am having a less than inspired day I will ask my girls what should our picture of the day be & they are oh-so-happy to help! I also like to hand the camera over & let them have control over the photo.
    Another tip that has helped me is remembering that I am just trying to capture our life as it is right now. The things that my kids are into right now will change & those are the things I want to remember.
    The best thing for helping me keep up with the journaling (my weak spot) is keeping my album out where it can be looked at any time. One of my daughters loves to pick it up & she always asks have you added more words? She loves to see what I have written about our life.

  39. I also just tweeted (@wayleng).

  40. I posted a link to my facebook page.

  41. So much of what you wrote resonates with me and my approach to 365 this year. I would have say the top three things that are making it successful so far are:
    1) I’m using pre-defined layouts. I just change up my paper theme each month.
    2) I decided to pretty much just use my point and shoot camera since it is much easier to carry with me all the time.
    3) Being accountable to others. I am on a design team where I have committed to follow this through for the year. I have to keep up and post my layouts each week.

    Thank you for the additional tidbits to think about.

  42. margaret

    I must reiterate above post, and Myra’s sentiments- *enjoy the process*! The whole process has taken me deeper into understanding my life and experience! Thanks for the opportunity to win a spot in the class!

  43. For me, just remembering not to stress if I don’t get a photo every single day, and not feeling pressure to actually DO anything special with them makes it easier for me. Less stress makes it more fun for me!! 🙂 Thank you for the post and the chance!!

  44. Linda H

    This is my 2nd yr doing 365. My first time was 2009. I started in 2010, but after a few weeks into the year I stopped. By summertime I was wishing I hadn’t and could hardly wait for January 1, 2011 to arrive! What really helps me is staying current! I don’t let myself get more than a week behind! I’m not a routine-type person, so being able to do this project and have a completed project at the end of the year feels GOOD! Now, I’d love to be able to take better photos …..

  45. I mentioned this the other day in the comments, but I really like using an eye-fi card. It is a wireless SD card that automatically uploads my pictures to my computer and flickr. I really think it’s made the difference on my perseverance this year on this project.
    (I’m not affiliated with eye-fi – I just LOVE the concept. It works so well for me!)


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