March 16, 2020

Tips for Starting a 365 Project | The Cobbler Series

Hello from day 4 of social isolation, my friends!

Since Wednesday evening, I’ve scrambled to bring my daughter home from her year abroad in Spain, left a photo conference early, and welcomed home my college sophomore.  My first reaction to all this sudden and unexpected togetherness was primarily one of gratitude and happiness.  I’ve planned, cooked and eaten epic family dinners and we’ve watched home movies.  We’ve played board games and taken long walks in the spring-like sunshine.  Everyone’s been home and present in a way that’s frankly rare.

This has been kinda fun so far.

But. “School” starts tomorrow, and I don’t expect this family euphoria to continue.  I’m an optimist, but I’m not delusional.  I know the stress will kick in, and the fights will start.  I’m trying to think of ways to make the best of this crazy time.  On Instagram, I’ve started a new hashtag:  #accentuatethepositive (As in, Ac-CEN-tuate the positive, e-LIM-inate the negative!).  I’m planning to post lots of happy photos enjoying the bright side of family life!

And today, it occurred to me.  I’ve always loved the idea of a photo-a-day project, and I’ve never been able to stick with it.  I’ve got a whole list of excuses that I’m sure you’re not interested in, BUT the biggest one has always been that my kids are BIG now, and they’re just not around that much during daylight hours.

Do you see where I’m going with this?  Yes!  Here’s my chance!  I can create a glimpse of this monumentally bizarre time, and maybe (juuuuust maybe) keep my sanity in the process!

How about you?  Have you ever considered documenting your family daily in photos?  Well, here’s your chance.  Why not start with a 21 day “containment” challenge and take it from there?  If you hit your groove, you can just keep an going until you complete a full year!

A few months ago, a group of photographers and I joined together in a “mastermind” group for goal setting and inspiration.  One of the things we’ve done is to write guest blog posts for each other.  My friend Lyndsay wrote the following post with tips on starting a 365 project.  Take it from Lyndsay – she’s documented her family daily for the past three years!  Could the timing for this possibly be any better?

starting a 365 project

Read on and enjoy, my friends!


Tips for Starting a 365 Project

Three years ago, I vowed to begin a 365 project to better document my family’s daily life. Taking one photo per day, every day, for an entire year felt like an almost unobtainable goal. As a busy mom of three little boys, I could barely find time to shower and brush my teeth daily. How on earth would I find time to take a picture daily?

At first I felt silly toting my camera along to the most mundane of activities. I photographed my boys in Target, in our car, in our bathroom and hallway, and at the grocery store. I photographed big milestones like birthdays and vacations but also little milestones like the first snow and the potty training process.

Sometimes I wondered if I should just delete some of the silly images that felt like boring placeholders when I was pressed for time. When the year concluded, I compiled all 365 images into a family album. It arrived to our house a week later and something extraordinary had happened…

All the tiny ordinary moments, when put together, had created something extraordinary.

I was holding in my hand the greatest gift– the story of my family for an entire year. The little moments had become the most important, a crucial part to our story. “Mommy is that me in a diaper??” my

then 5 year old asked incredulously. “Mommy, how come I don’t have any hair in this picture?” my then 2 year old questioned. My boys pored over these images asking questions and remembering fondly everything from trips to the playground to bath time shenanigans.

If you’re interested in starting a 365 project to document your family’s legacy, here are 5 tips I’ve learned over the last 3 years:


  1. Don’t discount the little moments! Something that is seemingly mundane may be an important part of your story.
  2. Don’t be afraid to take your camera (or your cell phone camera!) out in public. Photograph your family outside of your house too—grocery stores, target, the playground, the mall, play dates, and restaurant trips.
  3. If you’re planning to use a camera other than your cell, leave it out somewhere accessible and visible in your house. If you have little ones make sure they can’t reach it! I leave mine in the center of our kitchen island that way I can grab it and shoot away when the moment strikes.
  4. On an outing, don’t feel obligated to photograph your family the whole time. Take your camera out, shoot for 5-10 minutes, and then put it away. Don’t stress about capturing the best moment, strive for any moment you can manage.
  5. At the end of the year print your photos. Your family can’t fully appreciate the visual legacy you just created until they hold it in their hands.

Happy Photographing!


Be sure to check out Lyndsay’s work at Lyndsay Hannah Photography!

This is may latest entry in the Cobbler Series (you know, that series I started for the purpose of sharing some of the many ways that I bring my photos from the pixel world to the real world.  The Intro/Table of Contents post is HERE, if you want to see).  I hope you enjoyed today’s installment.  Thanks, Lyndsay!

Thanks for looking,



Jaye McLaughlin Photography specializes in documentary style lifestyle newborn photography in Westchester County, NYC, Connecticut and beyond.  I would love to begin planning your family photo session. View more of my work in my family portfolio HERE.  Check out some brand new sweetness in my newborn portfolio HERE. If you’re interested in a family, newborn or maternity session and would like to learn more, click HERE.  To get in touch, just go HERE, or email me or call me directly at or 914.263.0236.  I look forward to hearing from you!