Check out our photo a day

How to not fail photo a day

Fat Mum Slim /

The thing I hear ever-so-often from people about photo a day is that they’ve failed it. They’ve missed a day, or a few and deemed themselves a failure. Let me just say, there is no fail. This is meant to be fun. It isn’t school, and I’m not sitting over here marking everyone off. I promise.

But there are a few things that help me remember to do it everyday. I have nearly forgotten twice. Here they are:

1. Save the list as your screensaver

By putting the list somewhere highly visible {like your phone’s home screen or your computer’s wallpaper} you’ll see it every time you use it. That way you’ll check the prompts and remember to share a photo.

2. Set yourself a reminder

If you go into your computer or phone’s calendar and either write in the daily prompt, OR just set a reminder at about 4pm {before the sun goes down and you miss your beautiful natural light} to take your photo.

3. Create a habit

It takes just 21 days to create a habit, and I think you’ll find people that have been playing photo a day for a few months in a row have created a healthy habit of taking a photo each day. It’s like taking your vitamins or taking your dog for a walk. It’s just something you do every day. Keep going, create a habit and you’ll do it without thinking twice.

4. Be part of the community

If you follow me on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, you’ll be part of the photo a day community and see other people’s photos, my photos and be reminded to take your own. Plus you’ll love checking in with your friends that you’ll love playing with them every day.

5. Check when you wake

This is what I do. Every morning when I wake up, I check my phone for the daily prompt. It plants a little seed and gets me thinking about what I’ll take a photo of that day.

6. Download the prompts

Each month the lovely Super Doug creates two links so that you can download the prompts straight to your calendar on your computer or phone. This means that you can check them there, or get little daily reminders of which photo you need to take. You can get them here:
To subscribe on iPhone/iPad/Android/Mac:
To view on the web:

So, no more failing. Only fun.

Do you have any tips for others on how to remember to take their photos? Do share.

  • I keep the list as my laptop wallpaper, my cell phone background and I have an alarm set on my phone for every noon and evening to remind me to take a break from life and snap a photo 🙂

  • Kristina Reilly

    Thanks for posting. I pledged to do this in August and it didn’t go so well. I am back for September and just set my remiders with the list in the appointment.

  • Tracey @ Bliss Amongst Chaos

    I live out of a diary, so at the beginning of each new month I go through and write each day’s prompt in. My daily photo is just one of the tasks on my to do list each day (except it’s for me and I enjoy it!)

  • Fayelle

    I check the list the night before too and start thinking of possible photo ops for that particular shot the next day. Then it’s already in my brain and on my mind the next day.

    Also, share a lot! Knowing people are watching helps remember!

    • True, if I nearly forget I’m certainly reminded by people asking “Where’s today’s photo!?”

  • I have the prompts on the calendar app of my phone. Makes it so much easier to remember them.

  • Ally Jay

    Instrad of just looking at it when I wake up, I look at it sometime while I am getting ready for bed, and I will think about where I am going to be the next day, or if I want to add a stop somewhere that would have a perfect picture for the prompt.

  • SuziQoregon

    For folks who use Google Calendar I have made a public calendar available that will import the daily prompts into your google calendar as a daily appointment. All the information and the calendar id are in this post.

  • I am hopeless at habits -pill popping too, After 3 kiddos, it’s no wonder hubby had to take over that bit as that daily pill taking thing is not for me!!!! I actually have bottles of vitamins and other such things both at work and home!! and cart a little meds bag around in the handbag! for when I happen to remember.
    But for the photoaday, I too have it as my lock screen, so that you just have to press the lock button to see it and that is quick for me.
    The book looks great and I am going to have a look.

  • Stacy

    I write each one on my calendar with all the other activities. I see it and just by writing it down it puts it in my head. After two months it was a habit and now it is just automatic. I’ve missed a couple days when we were camping and had no Internet. So I just put 3 up at once when back home. No biggie. And now I have friends doing it too and hubs is gonna next month. So it is pretty constant in my mind. I love it!! Thanks so much Chantelle!!

  • kristi

    love these tips! I need to get better!

  • G.

    Before I sleep, I check next day’s prompt so I have time to think about it.
    Also when I’m bored, I re-read the list, that way I can generate ideas on what photos to take.
    It’s a habit for me now, I haven’t failed since I started doing this in March (I discovered your photo challenge at the end of February).

  • Simone Kenington

    Look forward to starting Sept Photo a Day. Thanks for the reminder tips!
    Sim x

  • Cranios

    Please tell me how to take one GOOD photo a day… That’s the hard part!

  • raspberryjellybean

    I set up the list on my google calendar and the time when I am hopefully the least busy. Usually when I wake up and check the list and discuss it with coworkers. They have great ideas… its fun when we all talk about it. And then we see what everyone else came up with. Ive been doing this since January.

  • manuelup

    I think the important thing is to keep it fun. Some days, the theme may be somehow difficult, so to keep it interesting, I go through one or more of the following routes:
    1. Find a beautiful subject
    2. Do a clever interpretation of the subject
    3. Experiment and probably go heavy handed with the editions
    4. Take a very good photo
    5. Add some kind of story or wit to the photo
    This way, your photos do not look the same and you keep the creativity going, which makes it fun
    You can see some of this on my feed @manuelup

  • Lisa Spiegel

    Oh my gosh…screensaver…why didn’t I think of that??? THANK YOU!

  • Karen Schaffer

    I save a photo of the list on my iPhone and put it in the photoaday album on my phone. It makes it easy to view the whole list.
    Another feeling that I get when reading people’s frustration about missing a day or not taking the “best” photo, is that they are putting too much pressure on the photo a day idea. It’s meant to be fun and not a chore. Don’t pressure yourself so much if your photo isn’t award winning or the most creative ever. Just express yourself in your photo. Have fun. No pressure. No one is judging and you’re doing this for you and your own enjoyment.

  • Thanks for sharing this book. Have just bought it and looking forward to having a proper read tonight. Like the thought of homework – must be in the inner geek in me resurfacing x

  • I save a copy of the list as a photo on my phone, and as I’m walking to work each morning I check to see what it is. I often take the photos, but am time poor to add them to my album – luckily I have weekends!
    I love Photo a Day – been doing it since April.

  • I keep the list in Evernote on my phone and make sure that it’s always the open note when I go into the app (the Notes app would work just as well, but Evernote syncs to both my work computer and laptop, so that’s handy). I also tend to look at it both first thing in the morning and last thing at night, as well as when I’m heading off to lunch. If I miss a day, I just catch up the following day (I’ve been doing PaD since the beginning of January, so it’s definitely a habit by now). Even when I hurt my back in May and couldn’t get out of bed for a week, the very first thing I did when I could finally move around was limp around the house and take seven day’s worth of photos.

  • Donna Hilton

    Haven’t missed one yet since I joined in April and that’s whilst having chemo twice a week. When I know I’m gonna be a bit out of it I plan a few days ahead and store them ready. LOVE the distraction the game provides and seeing others interpretations of the prompts….

  • Nora Alsnan

    I started doing the photo a day challenge in january .. And it became a healthy addiction since the first month.. As a working mother, with full hectic days, I find my “me time” in this simple, fun activity..
    Thank you for that Fat Mum Slim 🙂

    Instagram: noraalsnan

  • Seana Smith

    Hello, thanks for this post Chantelle, I love looking at the photos and did April but got stressed about it. I will joyfully do Sept and will practise being ‘good enough’ and relaxed about it. Photo a day – better than therapy!

  • Im always reading my list.(that is saved in my photos) Sometimes i look at it 3 times a day so i can think of ideas.. Also when you see others post up is a good reminder .. I look forward to yours everyday.. I have been doing it since January . cant wait to crack the year mark. And can not wait for dec (being christmas)

  • Nina

    I leave it on open on my computer so I can see it everyday. But there are some days when I forget or have no idea whatsoever. I am looking forward to September
    Check out my pics on:
    I am trying I am trying .. and something you try you cannot fail!! 🙂 have a great day!!

  • Tren

    I print two copies of the list. I keep one by the computer, and one on the refrigerator. I have missed a day here and there, but I try not to sweat it.

  • Maria

    I just started this “stress reliever” in July I missed a few then but have thus far made thru each day in August! Looking forward to Sept. :). Greatful to see what a beautiful world we have!!!

  • I’m a big-time planner, so I actually try to think ahead when I can. My favorite ones are always the photos that I take are the spontaneous ones, but I look at the list at the beginning of each month and if something jumps out at me, I plan ahead. For example, one day this summer the prompt was “Chair” and I knew I wanted to take a photo of this cute purple chair at our local ice cream parlor.

  • Oh! I forgot! I have a board for my lists on Pinterest. I make the current month the board cover for easy checking.

  • bookie

    exactly! that’s what I’ve been trying to tell my friends who think they’ve failed–just dive back in. it isn’t a test, it’s a fun way to look more closely at your world. don’t make this harder than it is, take a picture already right where you are at the second it strikes you and post it. this is fun, peoples, fun. thanks for doing this, FMS, I really enjoy it.

  • Debmcd

    I’ve done Misho’s street photography workshop and you may have caught him on one of the episodes of the recent ABC series, Photo Finish. He’s a great guy and great street photographer. cheers

  • Brittany

    I love the idea of setting the prompt as the screensaver; I’d miss having my hubby’s face there, but heck, I see him always. GOod call!

  • I started taking a photo a day three years ago. By mid year two it was becoming a real challenge. Year three get even worse until I came upon your monthly charts in April. The list makes it so much easier to stay focused and adds to the fun. I miss a day here and there but either try to catch up or just move on. Love the list and like the suggestions you made here.

  • I take a photo of the list on my camera… that way if I have my camera, I have the list. I also delete the photos from my camera every month, so the list is always the first image saved, and easy to find.

    • chasing the donkey

      Ohh that’s a good idea to!

  • Shane Young

    Wow! This would be such a good idea for me. I’m constantly playing catch up…as everyone knows that follow my pictures. I do really enjoy doing these photo challenges. My girlfriend Michelle, Has been doing them for some time now. And she really enjoys doing them too. She was the one that got me interested by watching her do them. 🙂 I’m looking forward to next month. Thank you Chantelle for the helpful tips. 🙂

  • Devon

    I have yet to miss one since January. My method is I actually print out the prompts that are posted on the blog and tape it into the inside cover of my daily planner, that way I never miss it. It has opened my eyes to the things around me. I have learned to stop and smell the roses, if you will. Also, I plan on turning all my instagrams into a blurb book at the end of year.

  • Cheri Marks

    I have a file sharing app called dropbox on my phone and computer. I drop the list and my photos into the dropbox for easing sharing onto Facebook, Instagram and my blog. Plus, I can check the list when needed. Easy peasy.

  • I might just have to do that computer wallpaper trial for this upcoming month. Thanks for the tip 🙂

  • Crash Test Mummy

    I so needed this post! I’ve ‘failed’ every month! September is my month – after all, it starts with my birthday!

  • Glenda

    When I downloaded the list I created a shortcut to my desktop so it’s right there. I also printed out the list and carry it and the camera everywhere I go.

  • My name begins with an O

    Great post – great advice! My fave is using the list as wallpaper for the desktop. I wanted to add to your list: there’s a 365 Photo app: It reminds you each day to snap a photo. If I had an iPhone I’d use it. My friend who does have an iPhone and uses it and likes it. Shes says it’s simple to use.

  • how2home

    I have to admit, we totally #failed this month 🙁 have to try harder next month for sure! save it as a screen saver…

  • Amanda Rose

    I’ve been playing along with your photo-a-days since it started Day 1 of January this year. I dig the idea behind photo-a-day and your prompts are pretty awesome…I loved how August had mostly one-worders. 🙂
    I have to admit: I do all the things on the above list.
    As far as tips for others to remember to take their photos, here’s what I have to say: if you forget (I have for a few days), just catch up! …and I think people get too serious or literal with the prompt. Prompts are there for inspiration, but SHOOT WHATEVER YOU WANT TO REMEMBER THAT DAY. Get creative! Make connections…anything can be associated with anything, you know? Or try this: if you’re stumped on a prompt, take a self-portrait and caption it: “I’m stumped on ______” (<–insert prompt there). See?! Easy!
    Check out my photo-a-days since January here:

  • Raquel

    Bought this book on your recommendation – loving it – learnt 2 new things already! Thanks C.E for the share!

  • valley carpenter

    I agree, its fun not a chore. I got out of the swing last month as I was away from home and lost the flow. I’ve downloaded the new list so here goes for September


    its my screensaver–{A MUST!!}

  • Amy Ayers

    I run a day ahead, posting the next day’s picture a little before midnight in my time zone. Keeping that practice gives me a little over 24 hours to catch up if, for some reason, I am unable to get the next day’s shot.

  • Terry Beth Tucker Barnhart

    I have been at the lists for a year, this past June. I always load the list into an album on FB, and the list on my desktop. I love taking pictures, so I am always excited to go to the next prompt. I have missed a few, and played catch-up; usually because I was on vacation. But I never have left a prompt undone because I want to do them all and get the practice. Some prompts don’t get my juices going or I don’t make time, so I go through my other photo albums and choose one that fits. OR, I just take a picture, even if I am not impressed with it. Sometimes, a last minute pic is the best. Lately, I have been taking many shots of the same prompt, I have a digital camera, it costs nothing but my time and I can choose the one I like best. I have also been taking photos the day before the prompt, I don’t HAVE to take it the day it was scheduled! NO RULES! YAY! And that way, I have time to sort through. It is relaxing to do just before bed and I know I have the next day to take the next one, and so on. If I forget, I just do it the day of, and the next prompt. too. Best of all, I share the photos in an album on FB, to share with friends, and keep for myself, then I share on Fat Mum Slim. I love the challenge of seeing others’ photos, and learning from them, and from Chantelle. I have already learned so much for all my picture taking. It is fun to involve family and friends, as well. They have great ideas and can also help you remember!The thing is, you never fail, because there are no rules, it is just for fun and you can do it your way. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss one, just keep on going and do what you can, as long as you are having fun!

  • katharine

    1 – be clear why you are doing it. Is it a creative escape? (good reason) Is it to create a photo journal? (good reason) Is it for attention? (less good!!)
    2 – Stay true to yourself. Remember why you are doing it and don’t get hung up on how many people like or comment on your photo.
    3 – Don’t wait for the perfect picture or you will never post anything!Take any picture, even one you don’t think is amazing, as soon as you can in the day (even if it’s 9pm) If you are not happy with it don’t post straight away, if a better idea comes take a new picture and post that one. If it doesn’t go with what you first thought of. When you look back it will be part of your ‘journey’ and you may like it better later than you did when you took it.

    4 – take time once a week or month to review your pictures, celebrate what you have done and enjoy them. Save your monthly photos somewhere. I just have mine in folders on my PC (not linked to the FMS site, so no record of likes and comments), or create a blog or online album.

  • chasing the donkey

    A reminder??? Where was this months and months ago when I failed all but January.. damn!