Last time (in the introduction to this little blog series), I mostly did the whole "story" part, rather than giving tips. So, to officially start things off, I'm going to give some tips on the whole post/picture aspect, for those small accounts out there who are new or don't know where to go. It's something we sort of had to figure out on our own, and I'm here to help!
So. You have created your bookstagram account. Got a cool name and all that, maybe even a cute little bio. Great! Good! Now what? Well, let's see, of course, you want to follow some great bookstagrammers. Just don't get blocked from following people because you followed too many people in too short of a time, as I mentioned in the intro to this series. (Em got a li'l excited, heh heh.)
And now? Well, it's time to consider what you want to post. When it comes to posting, you have to think about your feed. While the individual posts might look good alone, how do they look when they're all jumbled up on your Instagram page? While some people definitely rock the "no theme" look, it's not easy to pull off. But in the beginning, I think it's perfectly acceptable. Actually, I would love it if you would.
My advice to you is to start off by testing different styles. Try indoor and outdoor, flat lays and stacks and pictures with props and holding books, dark and light, vibrant and dull. Try editing them different ways, too, and post these to your account. This way, you can find your own style (what do you want to say?) and where your strengths and weaknesses lie.
If you find that you really like a style but there isn't a large reaction from your audience (likes and comments are low), don't let that stop you! Practice and observe what others are doing. What works? What doesn't? In the beginning, there's a lot of experimenting. With this comes downfalls, but you'll get back up. I'll show you some examples.
For us, flat lays are a huge weakness. We aren't terribly bad at them, we're just...not the best...
We also couldn't figure out good angles or positions for our outdoor pictures:
Not that any of these are terrible, they just aren't the best. The flat lays have poor lighting, and the outdoor pictures have interesting positions (the first we should have just done a book stack because that looks rather odd, don't you think; the second, well, the book is...yeah, and no one really wants to see my thighs, eh?) and don't fully take advantage of the beautiful nature surrounding us.
However, with time, we learned and improved. We learned how to use our surroundings to our advantage. We stopped taking pictures when there wasn't good lighting. We also learned some basic structures of pictures. The idea is that, with time, you'll find your own strengths and style.
Of course, Em did get a fancy camera (bokeh!) and we have started editing since then, but we really have learned who we are as bookstagrammers, and dived into the nature side of bookstagram!
As I mentioned a bit earlier, we learned some basic "structures" of posts. While I can't help you if you want to do flat lays, I can help if you want to take other types of pictures, especially if you choose to be a nature bookstagrammer. We need more of 'em, so I'd be glad to welcome you to the club and show you around!
Remember how we had that awkward picture of us holding up three books...? Well, it's not exactly ideal. Here are some "structures" that work. (Note: to see an example of the picture, click the link. I did not want to clutter the page with pictures.)
- Book Stack(s). This is a great way to incorporate multiple books in a picture. It's usually nice to keep the stack at a moderate size, and if you are going to build a colossal stack, only use one per picture. Can be on a surface, in the air, or in front of a body (preferably wearing nice clothing or bookish gear).
- Book in Hand(s). Perfect way to take advantage of beautiful scenery or backgrounds. Using two hands gives a feeling of triumph to the picture; a bit of flare. Tip: if you are putting the book and hand off to the side of a picture, have the hand against the edge of the frame.
- Books in Hand. Very similar to the previous one. This one is better with smaller amounts of books, and is good when books are fanned out. You can also feature some spine beauty along with some background beauty.
- Open Book. For the most part, these only work with hardcovers or paperbacks with broken spines. You can choose to include the surface the book is on, or cut it off for a cool look.
- Open Book in Hand(s). Makes it look as if someone is reading the book. Can be done in the air or on a surface. Note: You'll need a model for this one, unless you're some sort of wizard who can take a picture while holding a book.
- In Front of a Body. Sounds weird. My apologies: I'm not the best at wording things at times. Basically, wear something nice or "bookish", and hold book(s) in front of it. Note: a second person needed.
- Placed in Settings. Okay. I didn't exactly know what to call this one. Sometimes, you can just place a book in somewhere odd, use a cool angle, and - bam! - you have a picture.
Sadly, that's all for this blog post. I still have a lot more to say, however! Tune in Monday 19th to read part 2, where I'll be discussing accessories (props) and editing. Until then, best of luck on your own bookstagram journey!
Click here to read the next Navigating Bookstagram post, "Pictures (Part 2)". Or click on the Navigating Bookstagram tag (below) or the link in the pages bar at the top of the screen to read more.