I recently posted a poll on my Twitter account (@OakwaldForest) asking you guys what you’d like to see next on the blog, and “Bookstagram Tips” won by a landslide. I hope this can help at least one person! Let me know if it does! // Instagram: SeelieKnight.
Lighting— this is almost as important as what you’re taking the photo of, because not only does it help the quality of the picture, it also makes the whole image seem a thousand times more pleasing to the eye. Dusk and dawn are the two best times to take photos, whether it be inside or out. Those times of day offer a hazy light that intensifies the HQ of your photo without even needing a filter. Also, even if you are taking the photo indoors—utilize the sunlight. Open some windows and take advantage of the natural lighting. Otherwise using devices such as lamps can cause the photo to turn a yellow/orange tone. I might love those colors when it comes to aesthetics, but not in that context.
Environment—I get it. White bed sheets are very pretty to look at because they’re great for a minimalist background. But enough is enough! I wont hark on using your bedroom as your main source of photography (because I’ve recently moved and god only knows how many pictures I will be taking of my new home decor), but it’ll do some good to throw in an outdoorsy setting once in a while. A little “something” to zest up your Instagram feed. And if you post mostly outdoor photos…then perhaps try some indoor ones? They don’t necessarily have to be in your bedroom. They can be inside of a cafe, a kitchen, or even a bathtub. Go for it! Explore your settings and think creatively.
Zoom/Lens— not everyone takes their photography using professional cameras. I certainly don’t. It’s true that while I do own an old Canon that shoots just fine, I often take photos right from my iPhone 5se. What really makes a difference is the way in which you’re shooting the photo. In other words: use your lens wisely! I prefer when things are dead center with clean cut angles (but that’s just my own personal preference) so when I’m taking a photo, I like to adjust everything to my stance and the distance of the object to my camera lens. It sounds obvious, but believe me…I’ve seen things.
Quantity— this is an easy tip. Just take a ton of photos. Even when you’re shooting a picture of a book propped against a white wall, take at least ten photos from different angles so that later you can review all of them. This will help improve not only the quality of your photos, but also give you a better understanding of where you are as a photographer. The more you study these small, annoying details, the better you will be at avoiding the nuisances during your next shoot.
Aesthetic— now for the fun (and worst) part! An ‘aesthetic’ for those that have heard the phrase thrown around but never truly researched the meaning is essentially the way in which a group of things comes together to give off a vibe(s). For instance, you can have a plant aesthetic on Instagram if you post a bunch of greenery photos. I’ve even seen people come up with their own aesthetic terms such as “pale gold” and it’s actually wonderful. I really enjoy the whole concept! However, it get’s super aggravating when you try to stick to one aesthetic, because your photos are bound to look different each time you take them. Especially if you’re mixing seasons (autumn cannot come soon enough).
- choose a tone (warm v cold)
- find a pleasing color palette (lots of pink? green? rainbow?)
- use basic colors (white, black, grey) to balance out the others
- have fun
Filters— there are many filtering apps out there, but the best by far is VSCO. Almost everyone uses it, and with good reasoning. Much like keeping a consistent aesthetic is great to have, also using the same filter can help maintaining that theme. VSCO offers many filters, most of which you won’t have to touch up once you’re finished. It’s definitely worth getting. My personal favorite filters on the app are A6 and HB2.
Time— okay, so this “tip” has two parts. First, pace yourself. If you start feeling overwhelmed by the need to constantly be posting photos, then it’s time to take a slight break, otherwise known as a hiatus. Just tell your followers you need space to rejuvenate the creative flow, and they’ll understand. I can’t express how often I see this happening. // Two, I try to post my Instagram photos around a time when I know many people will be actively on the app. Usually class gets out around 2:30-4:30 in Est US. I figure that’s a good enough time gap to try and post something for everyone, even my international friends, to see. This also leads me to another reminder—don’t freak out if your photos isn’t getting as many likes as your previous ones. A lot of the time people don’t take into consideration that out of the however many followers you have, perhaps only half of them are active at the moment. Chances are when the others finally go on Instagram, their feed will be full of other photos from the present time, and they’ll have to find your post by scrolling all the way down through everything else. (This is why notifications are amazing!!)
Socialize— most of the above tips are about taking photos, but since this is a post on Bookstagram tips in general I figure it would be appropriate to throw this in as well. Of course tags are a great way to find other accounts, but socializing is what really does the trick. Comment a lot. Get to know other people. By default, those people will probably introduce you to their online friends..and thus group chats are formed and suddenly you’re being mentioned on five different accounts AND you’re getting to meet new people. This really cannot go wrong unless you make it a mission to invite trouble (so never create unnecessary drama. This is a community of readers for fuck’s sake).
Enjoyment—if you’re not having fun, you’re not doing it right.
- If you don’t love a particular book cover but feel inclined to post about the book because it was simply wonderful and you just can’t fathom why such a treasure got paired with such an awful cover…just post the title page! A white/beige tone will blend in with any theme. Better yet, you can post a photo of the center of a chapter with the title header at the top. As long as you mention the book in your caption, I don’t see the problem with not posting the cover image? Unless of course you’re promoting a book and the publisher specifically asks for clear coverage, in which case you can use the above methods while perhaps accommodating the tones of the cover (ex: bright yellow) with your surroundings (ex: pumpkins? A rundown barn? Rustic looking vintage car? Etc…) Bottom line: don’t feel pressured into posting the obvious. Do what you want and be happy about it!
- If you happen to post a photo that literally doesn’t have a single thing relevant to books or reading…don’t freak out about it. Sure there will be those people who act like you’ve just posted a live video of someone being brutalized, but you can’t let them sway your inner artist. If you wanted to post it so badly, it’s because you know the photo is great. So don’t feel ashamed that ONE picture in every ten or so doesn’t include a book. If anything, I think it lets us see another side of the person behind the account.