A handy guide if you’re looking to start a bookstagram account.
You might have seen my first post about Bookstagram and how to start at it. It’s one of my favorite posts I’ve ever written and it’s the single most popular post on this blog. It was published in February, and ever since, it’s my most viewed post almost every single one. It even beats my Edelweiss post, and that’s a tough post to beat. And I’ve been getting requests to do another bookstagram post for ages, so I am finally gonna do it! Today, we’ll be talking about that bookstagram aesthetic – how to get your pictures to stand out. And while, I have you here, consider FOLLOWING ME ON BOOKSTAGRAM. I would appreciate it a lot because I have a desperate need for validation.
A little disclaimer: I am by no means an expert in this. There are a lot of (and I mean a lot of) people who are way better than me at it. And the algorithm really hates my profile. BUT. People keep asking me these things so I thought I’d share some tips that worked for me.
I have spoken about this in my previous post, but it bears another mention. Lighting is the most important aspect of your pictures. Don’t take your photos during the night or with bad artificial lighting. It will definitely show and it will make your pictures look like they are grainy and of lesser quality than they actually are. Wait for those good days, with good light and clear skies, and then take a bunch of pictures on those days.
While I don’t think that having a theme is going to make or break your bookstagram, one thing that definitely helps with the overall aesthetic is coherence. That just means that your pictures fit together nicely on your feed. For example, as you can see, I have two types of background for my images, one is a dark gray and the other is a soft pink. I use those two alternatively, so I don’t have a uniform theme, but I still have a (somewhat coherent feed). And it doesn’t have to be due to the setup. One thing you can do to make your feed coherent is to edit your photos in the same manner.
A good way to have a coherent feed is to edit all of your photos in the same manner. For example, I love having a really bright feed so I always up the brightness, contrast, ambiance and saturation of my photos. Even if you don’t like to tinker with your images too much, every editing app has their own themes, so you can just claim one of those and then all of your pictures will look similar and you’ll have a nice, coherent feed where everything looks great together.
When I edit on my computer I use Pixlr and on my phone I use Snapseed, Photo Director and Pixlr phone app! All highly recommended!
I know you’ve seen those bookstagram photos that are overflowing with props. And I am not gonna lie, those look bomb. They do. But unfortunately, not everyone can afford buying a sword just to include it in their Fantasy bookstagram set up. And not everyone has a trillion funkos to include. So I have a couple of advice for you if you want to use props in you bookstagram pics (and like I talked about in my previous post, you don’t have to).
1. Make Your Own Props
There’s a bunch of ways to make your own props. The first and really basic one is to just use stuff that’s sitting around the house. All of us have a lot of trinkets, or jewelry or just little bits and bobs lying around the house. These can be perfect bookstagram props. Take a look around your room, apartment or house and look for those cutesy items that can linger around in the background of your pics. For example:
See that cute little box over there? And the cactus? And that pink flower pot on the right? Those are all stuff I have lying around the house that can be incorporated into your own pictures, and make them look cute and not empty.
And you can actually make stuff for your bookstagram. For example, I have a bunch of paper origami stars that make a frequent appearance in my photos:
Cute and bright, right? And they’re super easy to make! Here’s a tutorial HERE. You can make a bunch of them really quickly and then just reuse them all the time. You can even make them from book paper so they have words on them. It will be awesome. And you can do a bunch of stuff with origami if you are a little more skilled.
And not just origami, you can make all sorts of different things with yarn or cloth or whatever. I use a lot of my flannel shirts for bookstagram:
See, anything goes. And that cutting board is an old one from my kitchen that I did not use anymore. And now it’s an Instagram prop. She glamed up.
2. Buy really cheap props
Now this is totally up to you, but I bought some real cheap stuff to use in my photos. The white flowers you see above are from Ikea, and they weren’t more than 4$. It was a single branch that I cut up and now I have a bunch of flowers to scatter in my pics. And I bought my fairy lights on a clearance sale after Christmas for a couple of bucks and now I use them all the time. The pink flowers are pretty recent – also from Ikea and also super cheap. And they double as decorations in my room, so win-win.
I feel like people get discouraged from using Bookstagram because it is a pretty materialistic place (more on that in a future discussion post). It’s all about showcasing the stuff you have (in this case books). You need new books and pretty books and A LOT of books. But I am here to tell you – never fear! Let’s talk about photoshop.
If you have a Kindle or any e-reader or just your phone, then you know that those don’t really photograph well. There’s a glare, Kindle is black and white and it’s all just a struggle. But photoshop is a thing and it’s a really useful one. Cait @ Paper Fury did a wonderful guide on this, but here’s how I use it:
This is my most recent Kindle photo! I really wanted to talk about this but I read it as an ARC and I did not finish it nor did I like it, so I don’t have a copy of it. But I used Pixlr to edit this into my Kindle and I think it looks really cool!
And it doesn’t have to be Kindle photos only. You can do it without a Kindle too. I use a different book as a placeholder and then I layer a different book cover on top. I read Sadie as an audiobook and wanted to talk about it, so I made this:
Maybe you can tell it’s photoshopped and maybe you can’t, but I think it looks good and it’s a photo that did really well. So you don’t even need books, you just need to work on your photos a bit.
And those are some tips and tricks to work on your bookstagram aesthetic! Hopefully this was helpful for you! You can follow me on bookstagram so we can share our book love and you can leave your instagram in the comments so people can follow you!
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