Most young bookworms, like myself, are fascinated with bookstagram and booklr. The sheer amount of accounts that pop up daily is astounding, and I say the more, the better. The great thing about bookstagram is that almost no two accounts are the same. Even though you may see a plethora of the same books, everyone’s staging is unique. If you’re looking to start or improve your bookstagram photos, here’s a few tips I’ve learned along the way.
FIND A NATURAL LIGHT SOURCE
Have you ever taken a photograph outside and been absolutely amazed at how crisp and professional it looks? Well, natural lighting creates the same effects for your bookish photos too. If you can, go outside and take pictures. If you’re like me and live in an apartment in the big city, you may not have the space to go set up outside, so open up those windows and let the light in. (If your window is obscured by another tall building, again, like mine, you’ll get the best natural lighting between noon and 3 when the sun is the highest.)
Take a look at the two photos below. The first I took late one day after work. I really wanted to keep up with my daily book challenge, so I sacrificed natural light and did my best by turning on all the lights in my apartment. The second photo is a reshoot that I took the next afternoon, using natural light near an open window. It’s the same books, same props, same background, and I even arranged the books and props almost identically. Look at the difference. The first photo is yellow and dark and grainy, while the second photo is very light, crisp, clean, and colorful.
CHOOSE YOUR BACKGROUND
Background is a little more simple. My personal favorites are either the torn out pages from an old poetry book, or a plain white background. Most bookstagrammers have a theme and they stick to it. I say try out a bunch of different themes and eventually you will find something that you love. My feed is a reflection of me, which is code for, “It’s a mess.” But it’s my mess, and I love it.
SET UP YOUR PROPS AND STAGING
The last key to staging a beautiful photo is choosing what props you will use, or maybe you’re going to keep it clean and simple and have no props. Popular props include flowers and candles, bookish related mugs and pillows, postcards, artwork, and art supplies. It really is amazing the things that bookstagrammers use as props though. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to find beautiful things. All of my flowers are artificial bouquets purchased from the Dollar Tree… actually, all of my props come from the Dollar Tree or Target’s One Spot. I really try to buy items that I can and will use in my everyday life and decor, not just as props for a photo (notice that my candles have been lit). If you are using props, especially a lot to get the messy effect like I use, try to make your props and books as cohesive and coordinated as possible. If there’s red books in the photo, I like to use my red and white flowers and props. If there are yellow books, or yellow accent in the book covers, I like to use my yellow flowers and props–you get the idea. If you are using a background with a bold pattern or color, it’s really going to make coordinating your books and props harder though, so keep that in mind.
Most importantly, follow other bookstagrammers and booklrs that you admire. Take note of their techniques and try to emulate [but not steal] their style. Remember, to have fun! Bookstagram is a great place to make friends and discover new books. Try not to focus too much on your follower count and likes because that will just make you crazy! Bookstagram is like a field of dreams: if you post it, they will come.