Hi dear friends,
Today I was blog hopping and came to a very interesting post written by Mandy @bookprincessreview where she asks questions for bookstagrammers.
Some questions are funny, some should I think interest many others and you can find her post HERE: https://bookprincessreviews.wordpress.com/2018/11/17/questions-i-have-for-bookstagrammers/
It made me realize that it’s been months since my first Bookstagram 101 and that the planned “part 2” well never happened! Find Bookstagram 101 part 1 HERE: https://bewareofthereader.com/bookstagrams-101-part-1-why-and-how-to-begin-on-instagram/
Here I am today answering Mandy’s valid questions and offering advices.
If in Bookstagram 101 part 1 I talked about the why create a bookstagram account, how Instagram is working, why it is important to use hashtags and how to get followers, I’ve never talked about how to take pictures, what prop to use and where to find said props.
All these topics will be broached today and if you have questions you’d like for me to answer just leave them in the comments!
Let’s begin with Mandy’s questions and my answers:
“Where are y’all getting your knives/daggers???”
Mandy’s question is really interesting as I was in awe of all the daggers, swords and crowns other bookstagrammers had on their pictures.
I soon discovered that you can buy crowns on Amazon! Or on Wish but the quality of Amazon’s crown is way better!
The daggers and swords: if you live in the US you can order on Amazon.com. They have fantastic ones. I could not order there because they are considered as weapons (except in plastic but I wanted something more “real”) and would not have been allowed to ship easily. So my son attended a comic.con and a “made in Asia” fair with all props from fans of TV series (Game of Thrones), movies (Lord of the Rings) etc and had a mission to find the perfect sword. I got Sting from Lord of the Rings.
“How do y’all keep your animals still enough to take a picture?”
Furry friends. I have a dog featured on some of my pics. I get her to look at the camera talking to her and promising a treat (ears all perked up when she ears the magical word!). She investigates my books first but then loses interest and stays relatively calm.
“Where do you find all the candles, bookmarks, fake flowers, and other Instagram staples of props?”
The bookish candles. I read the caption of other bookstagrammers when they feature bookish candles. My favorites are Flickerwix (US so not too expensive shipping costs for you) and in the UK I discovered a fantastic shop Bookworm Candles (you can have a look at my latest pics as I feature some of them) and you also have Bookish Burns. You can also buy at Meraki Candles. There are many more out there of course!
These pictures feature candles from Bookworm Candles or from Bookish Burns
And Bookish Burns
The bookmarks come from some book boxes that I ordered or book bash I attended BUT have a look at etsy.com and look with keywords like “bookmarks” , “fake flowers” etc. I also adore the fanart by Merwild (on RedBubble a site similar to Etsy) or Charlie Bowater or …LOL.
Here is my most recent buy from Merwild on Redbubble and it features Link a character from the video game Zelda (it’s my son who recognized him as he is the gamer! Me…I had just fallen in love with it on Instgram 😉 ).
But you don’t need to invest in expensive prop to create original and lovely bookstagrams! You can use colored sand, you can draw if you feel artistic, you can use nature as in feathers, real flowers…
Another thing I often saw used in bookstagrams and that I instantly liked was funko pops! These are small “dolls” looking like anime characters and inspired either by Disney cartoons (merida, Sleeping Beauty ..), either TV shows (Game of Thrones …) either book characters (Harry Potter) or video games or manga. You can find here below Red Sonja and Daeneris. You can also buy these on Amazon or specialised shops or comic.con fairs.
Last question from Mandy
“How do y’all open your book mail one handed?”
That’s a good one and I don’t have the answer because I can’t 😀 . So if YOU have the answer I would be very interested!
Now two last advices…
How to take a good picture?
You don’t need a pro camera even if I use a Canon EOS 750 D now but what you need is good light! Or you go for really dark picture with some lighting garlands like Mel (she has great style) but if you want a pitcure with light you have to use “real” natural light. Artificial lamps except if you are a pro photographer with special lamps will give a yellow tint to your pictures, especially to books.
If you want to avoid shadows (behind the books etc) you should invest in a reflector. These are “screens” made in light fabric used to reflect the light and avoid shadow or create a mood.
White screens don’t change the color of the objects. Golden reflectors give a “sunset” feel to your pictures and the silver reflector makes for “cold” pictures. I have all of these but do prefer using the white one.
You can buy them on Amazon and they are relatively cheap (around 15 USD).
How to compose your picture?
Do I use big or small objects? Round shapes or square? Or…
That’s the most difficult advice to give as there are many styles! I can’t master the “cluttered” style. Too many objects and props and it just looks like a mess. Others make it look really fantastic (try @storygramtour) but I fail every time. You have to find your “own” style and experiment. Play with props. I take maybe 150 pictures to have 10 that I like. Try different “angles”. Try what we call “Flatlay” with the book flat on a surface and prop around. Or you can have books “standing” in your picture. You can take shelfies as in pictures of your shelf.
Sometimes I begin whith five objects around the book and take one out of the picture or try to add garlands etc.
I always try to coordinate my colors with the book color. Or tell the story of the book using symbols you can find in the book.
You just have to experiment. There is no secret. Or try to imitate someone else’s style until you find yours…
That’s it for today but if you have questions for me I will answer with great pleasure! Or if you want to give me advices to improve my technique I will be very happy to listen to them! I hope I could help you 😀
And you can leave your handle and link in the comments I’ll go follow you! And if you want to follow me, you can find me under @BewareOfTheReader
Thanks for reading!
WOW Sophie this is impressive… I always wondered where people got crowns and weapons *shrug* I had nooooo clue! So much great advice, like the reflectors I need to get one and now I’ll probably go with the white since you suggested it.
I love that you answered her questions! I saw the crowns on amazon but haven’t been able to convince myself that it is worth the money for me to buy one yet… I rarely actually spend money specifically for props, so that’s gonna be in the future when I have money. Same goes for swords as well. But I do love scented candles and I do love using drawings and props I happen to have around in my photos. Oh, opening book mail one handed is such a struggle haha
Thank you so much for the tips, Sophie! I always feel like I’m beyond clueless and send every single picture to Chelsea and ask her advice . She has the patience of a saint for me and my pictures lol. I got lots of great advice here so thank you!
Wow, I am in awe of your artistic talent. And somehow I wasn’t following you on Instagram, but that issue has been fixed.
Wow! This is insanely thorough. I have to admit that my short adventure in my earlier days of blogging on Instagram have shown me how time-consuming it can be, but also how much you need to invest to get the best pictures! 😛 I love your themes and how you take your pictures though!!
What great advice and I so have to use it. I love the idea of 5 things and taking one out at a time. I have also, gotten some garland and flowers etc from Amazon. But, I think I want to go with petals. I have also gotten some stones from our local craft store and things of that nature. I love this post!
Thanks for these tips, Sophie! It is a very informative post! I buy my props from Ali Express! They’re shipped directly from China and they’re pretty cheap! They’ve swords, backdrops, artificial flowers, fairy lights, origami, funko pops etc.
Great post! I completely agree with experimenting, my bookstagram pics are created by trial and error most of the time. I just keep trying different things till I find something I like!! Also Instagram filters can help offset the discoloration from artificial light! I usually take all my pictures at night so I have to make due (and I’m just using my cell phone camera!)
That’s so awesome Sophie. I wouldn’t be able to take a good pic even with a great camera! I’m just not artistic like that (but I can sew by hand does that count, LOL)!
I am so in love with these pictures, but the KoA one is still my favorite.
This was insightful! I’m a big fan of books and dogs or cats, because that’s twice so much fun. Some are really photogenic. I love your pics. Thing is that it always looks easy but it really isn’t. Like everything it probably gets easier when you do it a lot, practice makes perfect 🙂
Your bookstagram pics look so good! And thank you for all the tips! Especially love your use of furry friends 😉
Thank you so much!!!! 🙂
Wow, what an excellent article, Sophie! I love all the tips and advice, because, I have to say, I’ve always wondered how people take these amazing pictures, and where they get all the stuff from. well, now I know. Oh, and I love the princess crown, I have to get me one of those! ☺️
By the way, you can also buy daggers and swords at comic cons. We have our own collection of those, in our household! lol
Hahaha yes Alexandra I know comic cons are great! My son has two other swords on his walls that he bought from these comic cons 😉
Read this one & then read part one. Thanks for all the info. Someday I’m going to try my hand just haven’t gotten around to it. Love how you broke it down & kept it simple and easy to follow. Love keeping up with your post on all your accounts they’re fabulous!
Hi MJ!!!! Thank you for your praise really. I am happy to see you on the blog 😉 And when you’ll try bookstagram just tell me I’ll follow with pleasure <3