I’ve been reading the Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children books this summer in preparation for the movie & the release of Tales of the Peculiar. These covers are so photogenic and delightfully creepy that I wanted to do a post of basic bookstagram tips for anyone who’s just starting out! I know almost nothing about photography or visual design, so I’m going to focus more on some very basic cheats/tips that have helped me improve my simple pictures.
There is still a TON you can do for bookstagram even if you’re working with limited resources! All of the gorgeous pictures with tons of props are really fun to see, but you can also do a lot with just a piece of fabric and some $2 fake flowers. I use my old iPhone 5c camera and try not to spend more than 5 minutes on any picture, so it doesn’t need to get very complicated.
The pictures on the left are behind the scenes and the ones on the right are the actual result:
1. Get a background
I know a lot of people just put their books on their bed to take a picture, but my bedroom doesn’t have the best lighting and I don’t feel like dragging my books around. A $4 yard of fabric is a lot easier to just throw on the floor by my bookshelf.
2. Improvise with what you have
Don’t have any cute blanket but still want the picture to look cozy? Grab a random sweater. Done.
3. Make some attempt to reduce shadows
Natural lighting will always look the best, so work with what you have (unless you want to spend money on professional lights or one of those reflector things… I mean, that is also an option).
I live in the middle of a forest, so I’m usually working with really poor lighting.
Sometimes shadows aren’t avoidable, but it REALLY helps to get one of those cheap pieces of foam board (or even a white piece of paper) and bounce a little light back on the books.
4. Use a filter or do a few edits before posting
Even if you don’t have the best lighting, you can still edit the pictures in instagram before you post! I use the Ludwig filter right now but plan on getting my act together and learning more about editing soon. (Disclaimer: I have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to photography or editing… my main goal is just to make it look like I don’t live in a Batcave).
If you have a busy schedule, it’s helpful to take a bunch of pictures at one time and then post them over the course of a week.
Also, don’t feel limited if you only have a few books! There’s so much you can do with all of the pages, the edges, the title page, the spines, etc. You could easily have an entire bookstagram account with just 5 books. A lot of people have a theme (which is awesome and I’m super impressed), but I mostly just stick with the same filter to create some basic coherence.
Otherwise check out what other bookstagrammers are doing and don’t judge yourself too much! My account could be improved a million different ways, but in the end it’s a learning process and is mostly about sharing your love for books — have fun! 🙂
Here’s a list of some of my favorite bookstagram accounts!
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