How My Phone Has Rescued My CY365 Project

So, you’ve started a photo-a-day for 365 days project, and if you’re like me, it runs along smoothly for quite a while, no missing a day – you’re on a roll!

Then, there’s a snag along the way – a family illness, an emergency meeting you have to attend, or a million other things that can seem to make off with your precious free time.

Any of these can potentially derail your project. Let’s face it, life has a way of throwing us curve balls, and sometimes a long string of them!

The realization that this can happen took me by surprise, crazy as that sounds. No time to work on my photo-of-the-day? How could that ever happen? It did and it still does. I have had to let go of the notion that every day’s photos has to be perfect.

I learned that you can’t set up every day of your life any more than you can set up every photo you want to take.

What this means is that snapshots are ok.

They have to be.

And the funny thing is, as your skills improve, photos that are literally snapshots become better pictures.

Enter my phone and it’s camera capabilities to the rescue of my project.

I used to sort of look down my nose at phone cameras, but then I started using mine more and more and have gained quite a bit of respect for it. And these days, the cameras are constantly improving, as are apps for working with the photos.

I could write paragraph upon paragraph as to how much I’ve come to depend on my phone and how my respect for these images has grown. The list of whys and hows seems endless.

Let me break it down into the “Top 5” ways that my phone has saved my Capture Your 365 project!


1) It Takes Less Time

This is the top reason my phone often gets put to use for my photo-of-the-day. You’ve been busily going about your day and remember you haven’t snapped your daily photo yet; on top of that, you have only mere minutes between errands, appointments, work, or fixing dinner within which to get it accomplished and not get skunked for the day. I have numerous photo memories to look back on in my CY365 Project because I put my phone to use on these kinds of days!


Quick shot while picking my son up from school.

Quick shot while picking my son up from school


While fixing dinner, I grabbed the grape tomatoes, put them on my porch for an impromptu background and snapped.


I needed a quick photo for the prompt “Snack Size” and Lucy obliged!


2) It Takes Less Energy

Some days, time and energy shortages seem to go hand in hand, but then there are days I may have a bit of time to spare, but my brain and body are just flat-out drained. I don’t want to get out all my equipment, rearrange the furniture to get set up for decent light in my house, I just don’t have the inclination for any of it. Once again, phone to the rescue – it’s fast and easy to get a photo with little fuss. Generally, it’s just point, shoot and done, and if you choose, some fun editing in a photography app of choice!


Baking cookies for Harry’s class treat for his Birthday the night before they were needed, and was still in need of my photo for the day.


Stuck in bed sick, I managed to capture a picture of Lincoln, a.k.a Fang, who was laying with me.


The set up of my Chocolate Stout Cake fit the bill for that day’s prompt,”Currently Loving”, and was super quick with my phone – one snap, quick edit and done! 


3) It Requires No “Gear”

When my mom was in the hospital at Christmas after breaking her ankle one year, I couldn’t bear the thought of hauling my young son, my husband, all the Christmas trappings for the day to the hospital, and then my camera gear – it just wasn’t feasible. But, I had my phone, and permission to use it – so I captured what ended up being her last Christmas. There are many unflattering photos and I know she’d have a fit if she ever thought of me sharing them.However, because I had my phone, I have priceless photos of her playing with Harry from her chair in the hospital. They aren’t the best images technically, but thanks to my phone I have them. 

There’s also been many a time I have gone away for the weekend to my in-law’s house with normal luggage, camera bag, tripod AND laptop for processing, editing and sharing. That can get a bit cumbersome if it’s a spur of the moment trip, or for some reason you need to travel lightly. My phone provides me with camera and editing all in one, plus then the ability to share wherever I choose – with one device from the palm of my hand.

My Mom and Harry playing with his cars while she was in the hospital.


Out of town appetizer at dinner – my Bruschetta photo was taken while out to dinner with my in-laws, my Father-in-law pointed out that it would be good for my photo-of-the-day, and he was right!


Taken at my in-law’s house – selfie photo-of-the-day! Found some great light in front of their sliding glass doors!


4) The Surprise Photo Op

Sometimes you’re out and about on regular old boring chores, thinking there’s not going to be anything worth photographing, let alone making it your photo-of-the-day.

I have found that you’d be surprised how many times I’ve been doing something just like that and have captured my photo-of-the-day!

Just like my photo of Gracie on my lap, I was just sitting in my chair and looked down to see her looking so pretty, and her eyes sparkling – grabbed my phone and took s quick shot that has ended up being one of my favorites of her. Another example is the day we got flu shots as a family, I’d taken one of my son to send to his Grandma to show that he survived it. I got home that evening rather disappointed I’d not gotten my daily photo – then I remembered I did actually get my photo that represented my day and I was able to fit it to the daily prompt too (and that is the case more often than not, I can always seem to make my photo fit the daily prompt!) – it was Officially Flu Shot Day! And I can’t forget the photo I had mere seconds to capture, of Lucy as a tiny kitten still in my husband’s slipper!


Simply Gracie on my lap, with the light from the side window lighting her perfectly.


The photo I’d taken for Harry’s Grandma at dinner after our shots to show her he survived Flu Shot Day!


Lucy “hiding” in the slipper about to pounce!


5) It’s Always Available

One benefit about it being mobile is that you can snatch the moments of time you may have in between errands, appointments and so forth, and put it to work for you. Many times I have been known to be sitting at the bus stop waiting for Harry’s bus to arrive and editing my photo-of-the-day. It’s a great way to utilize the time I’d just be sitting and waiting, plus it also helps to pleasantly pass the time!







My strawberries, the lollipops and Lucy all were taken quickly at one point during the day, and edited at another when I had a few minutes here and there! Most likely while I was waiting for my son’s bus at bus stop at the end of the school day! 

There you have it, my “Top 5.”

I hope they can help you see your phone as a powerful ally in your photo-a-day project.

It’s most certainly become a valuable tool for me and my photography! I apply my knowledge of good light, composition etc.

The phone can take a lot of the fuss out of the process for me. I find I am more adventurous in edits and more relaxed on how many shots it takes to get the one I want! Some days, that’s just what I need to get my photo done in a way that makes me happy with what I create. At the end of the day, being happy with my CY365 Project is what matters most!

Do you use your phone for your photo-a-day project? What do you love about using it?



  1. Martha Schlesselman

    I don’t know how I missed this last fall, but what a great read Tracey. Thank you! We are typically on the road a lot each year, moving about from one place to the next where it’s just not practical to use my big girl camera, tripod, etc. for every shot. Your words give me encouragement to use those times to really make an effort to be more creative with my phone, and to try some of the apps you mention. There’s learning to be had there, too, and creative photography learning is why I joined this group in the first place! (Love your photos! And that kitty in the slipper is priceless!)

  2. Donna Mohney

    More of my photos are taken with my phone than with my DSLR – convenience is the big reason and availability! My phone is always there!

  3. Tracy, you and all the commenters have made me feel less guilty for using my phone. This year I finally got a big girl camera, but find I still need to “resort” to my phone. I am so encouraged that many of my most-admired CY photographers depend on their phones too. (Really, Rhadonda!!?? Wow!) Thanks for lifting the burden of guilt! 😀

  4. Kristin Baker

    I think that I have used my phone more this year than any year in the past. It has helped to capture moments that I would have missed otherwise. That makes me happy.

    One issue…there are more photos of Lucy than of Harry!! 🙂

    Thanks for a great read and “permission” to use my phone as often as necessary!

  5. Lee Glasby

    Oh this has come just in time, I am off with the girlfriends for a couple of days shopping in the UK, think I will just take my phone with me and leave my big girl camera behind for once. Your photos are super cute, and the slipper well! Thank you for your inpsiration

  6. Faith Haynesworth

    Love the points in this article but absolutely LOVE the photos you included as illustrations! Motivation, incentive, inspiration and encouragement for me to resume daily captures of my own. Would you share the names of your editing apps? Thanks so much! ❤️

    • Tracey Gehring

      Thank you Faith! The apps I use all the time are: Rhonna Designs Magic (I use that app for tweaking brightness, adding blur etc), Rhonna Designs (I finish with a filter here and use it for text and stickers), Hipstamatic and RookieCam (my go-to for simple frames). All the above photos were edited using at least one of them!

  7. this was sooooooo good Tracey! I wish i had a good enough phone camera to use– because it’s definitely easier– dragging my DSLR everywhere can be a pain– and that kitten in the slipper? <3

  8. Amy Jordan

    Tracey your suggestions were spot on and photo fantastic!!
    With the holidays hustle coming I needed a reminder to relax and go with it – cause your right those quick snaps always end up being a fave!!

    • Tracey Gehring

      Thank you Amy! I have found so many “just take the photo!” photos end up being my favorites! LOL

  9. Sue Griffin

    This is great Tracy, you are so right! Life gets busy and your phone can fill in the gaps and really get some memorable shots.

  10. Irene MacDonald

    I really enjoyed reading this, Tracey, and found myself agreeing with everything you said. Because of all my mobility problems, I find using my phone is usually the ONLY way I can attempt the photos I want.

    • Tracey Gehring

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I really do enjoy using my phone, as you know, it’s a powerful tool to have for fun photography these days, makes some things possible that wouldn’t be otherwise!!

  11. What a great read Tracey!!! Love it. I use my phone now 99% of the time for the sole purpose of convenience!

    • Tracey Gehring

      Thanks Rhadonda!! Me too, I use mine a lot more than I ever did before!! 😉

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