The Ultimate Guide to Bookstagram

If you’re not yet familiar with bookstagram, I don’t know where you’ve been sleeping, but it’s now time for you to wake up. Bookstagram has completely blown up the online community of readers and is spreading fast among them like bushfire. It’s getting so popular. But anyways, now that you are up, what exactly is bookstagram?

The Ultimate Guide to Bookstagram Themes

WHAT IS BOOKSTAGRAM?

Now we’ve all heard the term ‘booktube’. People who post videos about books on youtube are booktubers. And the community of booktubers is booktube

book + youtube = booktube

Similarly, Bookstagram is people sharing their reading life through pictures of their books and their reading life on instagram. It’s pretty self explanatory – quite exactly what it sounds like:

book + instagram = bookstagram

WAYS TO DO BOOKSTAGRAM?

There are many different ways to do bookstagram. Different people do bookstagram for different reasons and through different methods. Usually, people do it for:

  • The astheic and the feel of it
  • Reviewing books
  • Sharing book related content

I personally do it for the asthetic. There’s just something so satisfying about seeing people’s (and my own) bookstagram feeds and their pictures and just taking them and editing them. Other people might have long reviews under those pictures, or they may photoshoot a couple of books and do a kind of like a bookstagram haul or something. Maybe a book tag or challenge. There’s so much you can do with it. If you want to check mine out, the link is here. But find your own style. I’m pretty lazy and don’t have the strength to write long reviews or something, so I just put in a few words about the picture and if wanted, some hashtags.

MY FAVOURITE BOOKSTAGRAMMERS

I have three for this. All of them have absolutely different bookstagram feeds but I love them all equally. You can also check them out on booktube.

Jenna’s Bookstagram

Benjamin’s Bookstagram

Paper Fury Bookstagram

Cait’s Bookstagram

Make sure you follow them and also check them out across all their social media.

CAMERA EQUIPMENT

You can use anything for pictures. I personally prefer my DSLR, but you can use anything. Any smart phone camera with the right angle, right lighting and some editing magic can make a photo look magical. I just use my DSLR because it makes me feel better. I started out with my Galaxy S5, but as soon as I got my DSLR, I switched.

PROPS

Props are also a must. They are so important and add so much more. This could mean:

  • bookmarks
  • figurines
  • merchandise
  • something of importance in the book
  • some craft supplies
  • a second defaced copy

But make sure everything is relevant to the topic of the book, don’t go too overboard. And also place everything keeping in mind that you’re going to end up cropping the image, how will it look when cropped?

STYLE

Style matters a lot. Everyone has their own style of bookstagramming. I personally like my pictures to have a bright ting of green (aka nature), a hint of stark brown and if that’s not available, then a rustic or wooden look also appeals to me. I also like to add a LOT of contrast and saturate some colours, especially the green in the nature. Other people may like bright, white pictures. I also like to take pictures of not only book covers, but also their spines, back covers, and if the book has an interesting or beautifully styled chapter heading or page format, I’ll also shoot that.

LOCATION, ANGLES, & LIGHTING

All these aspects really matter when it comes to your style. First, let’s talk about location. I personally think books looks AMAZING over nature – nature can literally make anything look great. I’ll usually put a book over a grass or a clover patch or in a bush, a flow patch – literally any piece of nature. Or you can even hold it over a good background – anything works.

Now, let’s talk about angles. Angles also matter. Two of the most basic things when it comes to ‘angles’ that people commonly use, are:

  • Flatlay
  • Angled

Flatlay is when you put a book (or anything, for that matter) on a flat surface and scatter some decorations around it and then take a photo from straight above so it appears that the camera is right above the set and is shooting straight down.

Jenna Clare Instagram

Flatlay

Jenna Clare Instagram

Angled

 

Angled means a photo taken at an angle – that could be any angle, it’s up to you, as long as it’s not a flatlay. I prefer angled.

Now, let’s talk lighting. Lighting is so important. It can bring a photo from 1 to 7 on a scale of 1 to 10. I would use artificical lighting, but it only works for bright instagram photos – my feed is not like that. It’s more contrasted and rustic and natural. So when it comes to that, sunlight is my new best friend. Sunlight when used at the right time and angle can make anything look amazing. I think that either early in the morning or around sunset are the best times. Midday or night isn’t really a good option.

EDITING

Now let’s talk about editing. I use two apps for editing:

  • Adobe Lightroom
  • VSCO
  • Instagram Editor

I first do my editing in Lightroom, then, if I’ve missed something, I’ll usually do that in VSCO, it’s free and great and saves you a lot of hassle and money. And then, only if I feel like one of them works, I’ll use an Instagram Filter. But that’s really all. I could do a post/video on how I edit for bookstagram, but that’s it for this post.

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The photos used to give examples of flatlay and angled are from Jenna Clare's Bookstagram. I do not own them or any rights to them.