Hello and happy 1st day of Spring! I know I disappeared again the past few weeks (I’ve once again been super busy) but the sun is shining outside today and I’m in a rather good mood so I’m finally back with a new blog post! And this one is all about bookstagram! I’ve had so many people ask me for advice on how to start a bookstagram or how to improve their accounts and photography so I figured it would be a good idea to write a blog post and give you all some tips on bookstagramming! Keep in mind that I’m in no way an expert, nor do I consider myself one, but I’ve been a bookstagrammer for almost three years now so I’ve a learned a thing or two! 🙂
The first thing you need to establish before you start your bookstagram is your theme. Not all your photos have to look the same but it’s nice to have some consistency and the easiest way to achieve that is through editing. Editing is a bookstagrammer’s best friend. You might wanna take a photo outside but also take a photo on your shelves. You know that they’re going to be completely different but editing them the same way or adding the same filter can go a long way into making them match! I personally love seeing bookstagram feeds that have a certain style or theme and always find them more aesthetically pleasing!
That being said you should also not be afraid to experiment and try out new things! It’s all about trial and error and sometimes it’s nice to add some variety to your feed. It may take you a while to figure out what works best for you but we’ve all put effort into making our feeds what they are today so you need to do the same! It’s also important to make sure your theme is unique so it can become recognizable after a while. Don’t imitate what other bookstagrammers do. You can draw inspiration from them of course, but you need to find your own style and keep working on it until you’re happy with your content. It won’t happen overnight, and it might take you a while to get there, but when you do it will be worth it!
It’s always important to be interactive and like or comment on other peoples’ posts as much as possible! It is a great way for people to notice you and the more you get involved the more likely it is for others to show interest! Try to be as genuine as possible and make sure your comments are friendly and thoughtful! After all, bookstagram is a place to meet new people and make friends and you will never get too far by simply posting without any interaction at all.
Just like it is important to be interactive, it is also important to be active. You don’t have to post every day but it’s good to post a few times every week and not disappear for long periods of time! Of course we all need a break from time to time and it is completely understandable but it’s nice to be able to give your followers new content as often as possible!
Quality over quantity
For me, it is always more important to post good content even if you can’t do it every day, instead of just posting lower quality stuff constantly, just for the sake of posting. Trust me, your followers will be able to tell when you’ve out extra effort into your photos and will be more likely to seek out your account if they know they’re going to like what you post. Hard work is always recognizable and your followers will appreciate the effort you put into improving your account!
Hashtags are what determine if and how much a photo will be seen outside your circle of followers. There’s no tell what works best with hashtags but I’ve found out that using hashtags relevant to your photo always helps. Add as many as you can but don’t overuse them. There’s not point in using a hashtag that has nothing to do with your photo just because it’s popular. One tip I could give you is to mix bigger hashtags with smaller ones. It will never hurt using the bigger hashtags like #books or #bookstagram but because thousands of photos get posted under them every day, chances are your photos will get lost in them. It is also important to change up your hashtags and not post the same ones every time because if you do, they will be considered spam and will stop working. You can use the regular hashtags like #books #bookish #bookworm and so on, but make sure to mix them up and add as many unique hashtags as possible!
Phone or camera
Many people are under the impression that in order to be a successful bookstagrammer and take awesome photos you need to use a professional camera. That’s not the case at all. Any phone with a decent camera will work and you’ll be surprised by how many seasoned bookstagrammers don’t have a professional camera. I take my photos with my phone (a Samsung Galaxy J5) and so far I’ve been really satisfied with the quality. Sure, a professional camera would be better, but your phone with work just fine and especially if you’re just getting started or can’t afford to buy a proper camera!
Natural light is everything! And when I say everything, I mean it! Always try to take your photos in the middle of the day! They will not only be brighter but you won’t have to deal with unnecessary (and annoying) shadows in the middle of your photo! You can try taking photos in artificial light (and there are tools you can use to help you with that) but it’s simply not the same. And if you’re not keen on spending money on soft boxes, then natural light is your best friend! I personally have no trouble taking photos any time during the day because I have a huge window in my library room that always provides great lighting! But I’ve found out that the best time to shoot is either early morning or late afternoon when the sun is not too strong so you can avoid shadows.
You can use anything as a background for a photo! From an old sheet or blanket to your floor! I personally like wooden backgrounds (I’m currently in the search for one) so if you have a wooden floor in your house you’re all set! But there are plenty other types of backgrounds you can use and there many sites that sell backdrops and for a decent price too! Your bookshelves will also make a great background and if you have a garden or access to nature you can take amazing photos outside too!
I’m sure you’ve all seen photos by some of the bigger bookstagrammers that are full of amazing props and keep wondering: where do I find those? The answer is everywhere! You don’t always have to spend money on props, like bookish candles and items that you can order through Etsy of other websites. You can find much cheaper things to use in places like convenience stores, shops for home decor or craft supplies, flea markets or even thrift stores! You can also discover plenty of items to use in your own house! I use a wooden block for chopping in most of my photos that I discovered at the back of my cupboard! The key is to find props that match the books in your photos. They can be items that are directly related to the book or simply items that match it in color! Either way, use anything you can find in your arsenal and make the most of stuff already in your house!
Like I said, editing is a bookstagrammer’s best friend. It’s not only important to make your photos match, it is also important to improve the quality of those photos as much as you can. I know I said earlier that natural lighting is everything, but I know many of you don’t have the time to take photos in the middle of the day so editing will help you improve photos you take in less ideal lighting. For example boosting the brightness and contrast will work miracles towards helping you get rid of the shadows and will make your photos look brighter! I always boost the brightness in my photos even though I take them in broad daylight!
You can use any app to do that (your phone will have a photo editing app already installed) but I personally use Fotor! It offers many different features and filters you can use and you can download it for free either for your phone or your computer! Keep in mind that if you use white items against a white background you should bring the brightness down so that those items will stand out! And another tip I recently discovered is that using the sharpening tool on Instagram can make any blurry photos look much clearer! It’s what I like to call editing magic!
This is optional but you can also try adding different effects to your photos. I’ve been obsessed with sparkles lately and I was determined to find a way to add them to my photos! I use an app called GlitterPhoto that I also downloaded for free and it’s super easy to use! I also love adding moving effects to my photos because they make them more unique and help them stand out! I use two different apps for those, Lumyer and Nature Photo Effects and would totally recommend them both!
Frame: A small trick I have discovered is that it’s always better to take a wider shot and crop as necessary instead of trying to fit everything into your frame. Even though I don’t always do this myself, I’ve found that photos look much more natural this way!
Have fun and be yourself!
I know that sounds completely cliched but in my opinion the most important thing of all is to have fun and be yourselves! The moment bookstagram becomes a chore there’s no point in doing it anymore. Also, don’t be discouraged if you don’t get a lot of likes or new followers. I know the algorithm has been a real pain lately, and it can get really disheartening when you work super hard but see your account not grow but try to remember that likes or followers are not what’s important. Focus on making friends, sharing your love for books and enjoying the journey!
And that’s all the advice I have for you today! I really hope you found this post helpful and that you’ll feel more confident starting your bookstagram account! I will see you all soon with another post and until then get your phones or cameras out, snap away and have fun! 🙂