One of the most recent trends of the book blogging community is the art of bookstagramming. Bookstagram is what we call the bookish community on Instagram, where bookstagrammers share aesthetically pleasing photos featuring our favorite things in the world — books.
If you happen to have an Instagram account, you only need to head over to a few of the most popular hashtags like #bookstagram, #bookgram, #bookphotography, and all other bookish derivatives to find amazing book photos and follow your favorite accounts to keep seeing these photos on your feed.
The great thing about bookstagram is that anyone can join in! You don’t need to be a professional photographer, or have an expensive camera, to take good photos for your own feed. It will take a bit of time to build your audience and practice, but you’ll get there once you start posting your own bookish photos.
Now, I’m no expert on bookstagram since I’m still learning a few ropes, but I thought I’d share my own experience/tips that might help you get started.
1. Grab a good Instagram handle
I think this is one of the hardest things to determine if you don’t have a blog/website already. My book blog is The Reader & The Chef so it was quite easy to have my username as @thereaderandthechef (Instagram [IG] allows you longers usernames than Twitter!). But if you are starting from “scratch”, then it is highly recommended to use a unique, catchy username. Don’t go for one such as @booklover12729 since there are many users that might be @booklover(xxxx) and the point here is that you want to stand out and be memorable, and this starts with your username.
2. Get a quality camera for taking pictures
I know that I said that you don’t need an expensive camera to take your own pictures, but you do need a decent camera to take clear photos. The camera from your smartphone is enough. For example, I used to take photos from my OLD Moto G and they would turn out good (in my humble opinion) with just 4 Megapixels. And because I loved my old Moto G so much, I bought the Moto G4 Plus with 16 Megapixels and the camera’s quality is amazing for such an affordable phone. Now imagine the quality with iPhones and other popular ones who have great cameras included! 😉
3. Find your style
If you browse through bookstagram you might notice that there is basically two types of bookstagrammers: those that stick to a certain theme, and those who don’t (post anything & everywhere!). And either works well! As a newbie bookstagrammer, I would suggest establishing a designated place(s) for where you’ll be taking your photos. It’s important that you have good lighting (try near a window to use natural lighting) so you can get clear shots. If you are using natural lighting, make a habit of taking your photos at the same time of day so your pictures’ brightness match. I usually take mine from 11 am-12 pm, for example.
4. Pick the right posting time
Just like making a habit of taking your pictures at the same time of day, you might want to pay attention to the times you post & how much attention you receive. This will highly depend on your audience (followers) and you will soon realize that posting at a certain time will get you more views/likes than any other.
5. Join a book challenge
This is the easiest way to help you get your photos & your account noticed! A book challenge is usually hosted by a bookstagrammer for the entirety of the month and they state different prompts for each day. This will help you in three ways — to get you posting at least once every day, get creative with your bookish photos, AND meet new bookstagrammers. Since the challenge will have a hashtag of its own, you will be able to see all the other participants’ photos to inspire you as well. Don’t forget to interact with them! This community is all about interaction after all.
Happy Monday, guys!!! . . Today is day 19 in #DecBookstagram meaning BOOK TREE! This is our first attempt to a book tree and well.. it's kind of a cute mess lol 😂 have you attempted your own book tree yet? 🎄🎄🎄📚 . . Day 19 in #Lilbookishdecember ~ Christmas feels 🎅 . . What will you guys be reading this week? We just got ourselves a copy of Nowhere but Here by Katie McGarry and I (the reader) will binge on the Thunder Road novels because I got a digital galley of Long Way Home (the third book out on January) courtesy of Harlequin Teen. So so excited to read it! 📚💖 . . #bookstagram #bookgram #booktree #bookishtree #christmastree #yalit #ireadya #yabooks #booknerdigans #epicreads #igreads #bibliophile #bibliophiles #paperbacks #youngadult #bookworms #booknerds #bookpile #bookphotography #shelfie #booksandbooks #allthebooks
6. Watermark your photos
If you want to be recognized for your work and avoid getting your photos stolen (often popular photos appear reposted in other accounts without recognition) then you might want to watermark every photo that you upload. You can either download an app that allows you to watermark your photo or you can use any editing software of your choosing. I use Picmonkey for mine, but I know that other bookstagrammers also use Photoshop, Canva, or GIMP. Try to stick with a single font since it will make it a lot easier for you rather than deciding every time which font to use. (See photo below to notice my watermark).
Day 16 of #DecBookstagram ~ Books set in winter. 📚🌬❄🌨 . . Books that happen during winter or just happen to have snow settings are our favorites. They just seem to be more magical 😍 (also they often give foot to characters having to look for shelter from the cold & cuddle up – hio hio hio 😏😏😏). And these two lovelies have wonderful wintery settings! Don't you just love their covers? 💖 . . What are some of your favorite books set in winter? ❄💙 . . Day 16 of #lilbookishdecember ~ Christmas Colors. . . #bookstagram #bookgram #yalit #ireadya #yabooks #bookish #SnowlikeAshes #BurningGlass #booksandbooks #booklove #booklovers #bibliophile #bibliophiles #bookworms #booknerdigans #epicreads #igreads #books #yafantasy #bookphotography #coverlove #bookaholic
7. Edit your photos
It’s extremely rare for you to be 100% pleased with the outcome of one of your pictures before editing, whether because it’s not bright enough, sharp enough, or any other thing. And it’s okay! Everyone edits their photos and you have to figure out how to edit yours too. The good thing is that it’s not that difficult. Instagram has built-in filters and other tools to play around with brightness, contrast, sharpness, etc. I edit my photos directly on Instagram, but you can also download other apps or use editing software to do it. This highly depends on what you are comfortable with.
Once you have your photos ready to post, you have to keep in mind that bookstagram is just another way of book blogging, therefore you might want to write a short post about the book, about yourself, or something else in the description. It doesn’t have to be too long but you do want to let people know about the person behind your account. Tell them about the books you are excited to read about or your favorite authors. Use your voice!
Hiii, everyone! This is me, the reader (also known as Melissa!). Today I have realized that book modeling is HARD. The Chef is generally the one to model for this account, but since today's prompt for #DecBookstagram is Mistletoe: Favorite Book Boyfriend, I wanted to have my own picture featuring my favorite book boyfriend of all times ~ Prince Tristan de Montigny from The Malediction Trilogy by @danielleljensen 💖😍 . . Fun fact! If you look for me on Twitter (MeliRobles), you'll notice that my name is Melissa de Montigny because I married Tristan. 😍💖👰👸 I may be a bit obsessed. 😉 . . Do you have a book boyfriend or girlfriend that you are completely smitten by? Let us know!!! 😍 . . Day 14 of #lilbookishdecember ~ Christmas colors! . . #bookstagram #bookselfie #shelfie #bookshelf #bookish #bookgram #booknerdigans #igreads #yalit #ireadya #yabooks #yalovin #books #themaledictiontrilogy #warriorwitch #bookishlove #bibliophile #bibliophiles #bookworms #bookphotography #booklover #booklovers #favoriteseries #favoritebooks
8. Use hashtags
And don’t forget to include hashtags at the end of the post! These will help your photos gain visibility since people often browse hashtags to find new accounts to follow. And here’s the sweet thing: You can go crazy with hashtags on bookstagram and no one will roll their eyes at you. Use as many as you want! 😉
Hashtags I love to use: #bookstagram #bookgram #books #bookish #booknerdigans #booklover
Whew, I think that’s it (for now). If you have any questions about bookstagram please let me know and I’ll try to answer as best as I can. Again, I’m no bookstagram expert but I’ve been getting better at this so I don’t mind sharing a few tips with you.