MIXED BAG

Bookstagram Photography: Tips and Tricks

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Bookstagram is the bookish community on Instagram. Booklovers from all across the world use this app to share their bookish pictures. They discuss fandoms, share their stories, go gaga over their favorite characters, participate in bookish challenges/ readathons/ tags and basically form a community to share their love for books. If you are someone who loves to read and click pictures then this is the right place for you.

I started bookstagramming from the beginning of this year. And let me tell you, I enjoy every aspect of it. I love posting bookish photos, talking to like-minded people and fangirling over my favorite books. It has become an integral part of my life and I look forward to it everyday. You can check my bookstagram page here.

Over the time, quite a few people have asked me how they can improve their feed orย  take great pictures for bookstagram. A huge thanks to Sheetal Maurya from haloofbooks.com who suggested me to write a post on this topic. Now keep in mind that I am not an expert by any stretch of imagination. I experiment a lot and mix & match all the time. But over the past few months I have learnt a few things which I am happy to share with you guys. So let’s begin.

1. Don’t sweat it out

First things first. Take it easy. If you have read this post till now that means you really want to improve your feed ๐Ÿ˜. I know it is intimidating to see beautiful feeds of seasoned bookstagrammers. But they have devoted a lot of time and effort to improve their feed. Keep in mind that it is not going to happen overnight for you. So chill.

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2. Camera

This is one of the most important weapon in your arsenal. Please do not assume that you have to buy a DSLR. If you are a beginner, it will only create problems for you. I have seen many bookstagrammers suggesting phone cameras for clicking pictures. While this is a fine suggestion, remember that if you are using a basic mobile phone, the camera quality is not always top-notch and it clicks grainy pictures. I faced this problem in the beginning. I own a very basic Micromax smartphone which works fine as a phone but clicks horrible grainy pictures. Go for a point and shoot camera instead, they are cheap to buy and take quality pictures. If you have a basic phone camera and can’t afford a point & shoot right now then the next step will help you a lot.

3. Editing

Most of the bookstagrammers avoid editing their pictures. But I feel little color and light adjustment goes a long way to create that perfect feed you cherish. Also you can’t avoid editing a photo little bit if you are using a basic mobile phone camera. There are tons of free apps and online photo editing websites which helps you to adjust brightness, contrast, color, saturation and sharpness. Don’t be frightened by these terms. There are enough tutorials on Google about editing photos online.

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I took this picture with my mobile camera. As you can see little bit of cropping and lighting adjustment did wonders for this picture.โ˜บ๏ธ

4. Lighting

This is the most important thing which can elevate or destroy your picture. Always try to go for natural lighting. What is natural lighting? Light that you get from sun. Don’t click pictures in bright sunlight as it will result washed out images. You can click pictures near your windows (if you have one) or in your balcony or terrace. Basically any place which provides a little shade from direct sunlight is fine.

Now I know those of you who live inย  crowded metro cities, sometimes don’t have access to sunlight. If that is the case, then public parks are your best option. Take all the things you need to click a picture, put them in a bag, go to a park and click as many pics as you want. Try to go between 4-5pm. The sunlight is not too harsh during this time of the day and the results you get will be amazing.

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5. Timing

If you are a working professional or a student then you must know how hard it is to find time for bookstagramming. How can you click and edit pictures when you are supposed to be in office or school/college? Answer is pre-planning (a lot). For example, I take & edit all my pictures in the weekend and then post them throughout the week. Also it helps a lot during rainy or winter season when sunlight becomes a precious commodity.

6. Other important photography tips

I am going to list some basic photography tips which will help you to create an exceptional feed.

a. Background

Your picture background decides how much focus your feed will get. Some bookstagrammers keep it simple. They want their book/books to be the focal point of their picture. Some people rock the cluttered background. I personally adore white background.

Some of the things you can use to create a background are poster board sheets, maps, pages of old books, bed sheets, wooden boards, textured papers etc.

b. Theme

How important is a theme? Theme is the consistent pattern that you follow while taking your pictures. It can be consistency of background or color scheme or even the props. But it’s not mandatory. Lot of bookstagrammers like to take spontaneous pics without thinking about theme or background and it is perfectly fine. I personally observed that my follower count has gone up since I started trying out themes.

My feed is still not consistent and I need to work on that. For example, I tried using old book pages with lot of props as my theme. But it didn’t work out well for me, so now I have switched back to white background. You have to figure out what works well for you. Play the field a little and you will understand what suits you.

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This theme didn’t work out well for me
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So I am back to my white background theme

c. Props

This is what bothers most of the new bookstagrammers. It is really overwhelming to see the countless number of props some bookstagrammers use. You may feel compelled to rush to a store and buy cute little things that goes well with your books. STOP RIGHT THERE ๐Ÿšซ.

If you go on a buying spree just on a hunch, you will find yourself with lots of beautiful but unnecessary stuff. And you will lose a lot of money in this process. Use things that are around you. Figure out what works wellย  for you.

For example I used stuff from my kitchen in this picture.

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I just raided my mother’s sewing kit and clicked this one. (P.s. Harper Collins India shared this pic on their instagram page ๐Ÿ˜ƒ)

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For this one, I used a DIY magic lamp bookmark and some old useless cotton which was lying around in my home.

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You can use following things as your prop for FREE:

  • Collect dry twigs, leaves and stones from your local park.
  • Use your mother’s beautiful sarees.
  • Raid her make-up kit & jewellery closet to find shiny little things .
  • Raid her china cabinet and use those fine cups & plates which you only take out for guests. (Be ready for lot of screaming too ๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜†)
  • You can use sweaters/mufflers/shawls/socks/stockings/hoodies and sweatshirts etc.
  • Use old letters/ diaries/ art prints/ calendars/ photographs/ stationary/ journals/ coins/ specs/ key rings etc.
  • Use your mobile phone and earphone/headphone.
  • Use other books as prop.
  • You can make bookish DIY stuff and use them.
  • Last but not the least is your kitchen. Whip up something delicious and pair it with your book.

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Gradually if you want to buy few knick-knacks, you can start with these:

  • Bookish pillow covers/cushions/mugs/ posters/ scarves/ bookmarks.
  • Different fabrics(satin, silk, cotton, felt, velvet etc.)
  • Funko-pop and other action figures.
  • Fairy lights/ LED lights/ candles etc.

Try to think of things that goes well with your books.

d. Miscellaneous Tips:

Here are few minute points to remember:

  • Take lots of shots. Try different angles. Don’t go for flat-lay always. Even if few of your pics are blurred you will have different options.
  • Don’t ever hesitate to experiment. Remember it is all about trial and error. You can only develop your unique approach if you experiment a lot.
  • Try to take inspiration from other bookstagrammers’ feed but never imitate. It is a complete no-no.
  • If you are not able to take pics in natural light, try to play with shadow and darkness. Table lights, candles & fairy lights are very useful for that.

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  • Unless you are focusing on micro photography, always take a wide shot and then crop out the unnecessary portion.
  • Have fun! Enjoy a lot. Express your passion for books and photography.

So what are you waiting for? Go grab your camera click lot of pictures ๐Ÿ˜ƒ.

If you have any questions regarding this post or want to share your opinion, please comment down below. If you like this post, please share it with your friends. Also, do not forget to follow me on Twitter and Instagram. I share my book related thoughts and photos there.

 

11 thoughts on “Bookstagram Photography: Tips and Tricks”

  1. Wonderful post. I hope it will help many people there. I always try with all these ideas but Never get beautiful pics as I see from others ๐Ÿคฃ Your sewing kit pic and that Alladin one are my favourites ๐Ÿ˜ Why can’t I even think like this? ๐Ÿ˜‚

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You know Shikha, This was the much needed post. I am so grateful that you have written this post. All these tips are really helpful. ๐Ÿ™‚ I am definitely going to follow these tips. Once again thank you so much dear.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The main focus should always be pretty books๐Ÿ˜„. Props and themes shouldn’t takeover the focus from them. Also as long as we are discussing books through blog/instagram/youtube, I am happy ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š.

      Like

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