HOW TO: Taking Pictures Of Books For The Internet (Bookstagram)

So here we are, I’m writing a post about Instagram.

Instagram is one of my all time favourite social media sites. I haven’t been on it for very long, even less so with my bookstagram, but these last few weeks I reached 1k followers and I’ve never felt so grateful and proud of myself for picking up something so quickly.

I wouldn’t say I’m a master, let’s not forget, bookstagram is this massive community with thousands of talented people behind their feeds. However, I’ve seen some posts before on how some folks work their Instagram and how it’s all done.

I wanted to do a similar thing, but we’re going to keep it casual and fun! This isn’t about steering your feed into a place where you can get followers and likes (though totally a normal thing to do and also fine!), this is about matching up your visual mind and your love for books, like me!


I started my journey with a shitty Samsung Galaxy S2; a phone with terrible quality that refused to update apps and constantly crashed. It would constantly blur photos right before I hit upload, and just refused to cooperate.

Quality is important when it comes to bookstagram. Other users do love a crisp, sharp photo, as it looks like you’ve taken more care. But come on, we can’t all afford fancy SLRs or wide angle lenses. It’s not like you’re getting paid to do this, so please don’t feel like you need to spend your rent money on big cameras that focus on your flatlay perfectly. I was recently due a phone upgrade, and so my photos upgraded in quality with a Samsung Galaxy S5, and then the downright impossible happened; my dad let me use his SLR. Money spent? big fat fucking 0.


Like with any form of art (yes, bookstagram is art), an artist will consume themselves in their craft until they find their own, unique style. People like to think that means you need to do something completely different and never seen before, but in my opinion, as long as you like the look of it and want to keep doing it that way, then that’s your style. Your style is what you make of it and hey, if you get bored, feel free to change it up!

I started off with doing whatever. My feed was a mash of different filters and layouts and despite people yelling at me to “PICK A THEME”, I just enjoyed the surprise of each picture. I slowly got into the routine of taking photos from certain angles, and started to enjoy certain colour schemes. I went on holiday, and my photos took on a green theme, and at the moment, the photos are fairly minimalist and clean. If you take a look at other bookstagrams, you’ll find that most of their photos are fairly similar because of this; it’s what they become known for.

For editing, many use the filters and editing tools provided on Instagram. I take it one step further because I’m like that and use a free app called VSCO. You can purchase different filters that reflect your style, but if you’re a cheap-ass like I am, multiple new filters are already on the app. You can tweak the filter and edit the photo to get that finish, and upload it straight to Instagram! There are other apps that you can pay for too such as Afterlight, but I have no experience with them (also spending money???).


The world has gone hashtag crazy, and it doesn’t stop with Instagram. Hashtags are a great way for people to find your feed and your photos. It’s also great to go into the hashtags and find feeds that you’d love to follow yourself. Hashtags are not so necessary if you have a very large following, but honestly, they’re great for connecting. Which leads me to…


Follow people, like and comment on their photos, take part in fun tags. There are so many ways that can help you better connect with other book lovers. It’s not about gaining likes or doing S4S’s to grow your following, it’s about being part of a community that shares the same ethos as you; promoting and recommending great books. You’ll almost definitely find your favourite book of the year through Bookstagram, I guarantee it.

Just remember these points:

  • Give yourself time to perfect the look you want to get. You’ll find one day your photos are doing exactly what you want, and then the next day you’re scratching your head. Gettin’ into the groove takes time!
  • Don’t worry too much about likes and follows. Instagram is all about interaction, but just because another account has more followers than you, doesn’t mean they’re any better. It’s not a competition, it’s about connecting.
  • Don’t beat yourself up about not having a professional setup. Most bookstagrammers are teens with only pocket money to help them out. None of us are really professional photographers, though I’m sure some are. We’ll be able to see the amount of passion and dedication you have about books through your photos, even if it was taken with a Samsung Galaxy S2!
  • It’s all about books and promoting a love of reading. Bookstagram is just a part of that!
  • If you find yourself not enjoying it; STOP. You don’t need to have a bookstagram to be a true ~book blogger~, you don’t have to champion every social media to be taken seriously. I don’t touch Facebook, while others use it as much as they use Twitter. You can pick and choose your social medias; if Instagram isn’t one of them, that’s OK!

GoodreadsInstagram | Twitter | Tumblr



    August 19, 2016 at 2:15 pm

    I just started my instagram: and can’t wait to follow these tips and follow you for more inspiration and tips. Thanks for this post 🙂

    1. hollie (hollieblog)

      August 20, 2016 at 10:28 am

      Yay! You’re welcome! Instagram is really great, and I’ll be following you right back!

  2. TeacherofYA

    August 19, 2016 at 3:17 pm

    Yeah, I’m not an Instagram person. But I like your tips: very helpful!! For any picture taker!

  3. thelittlebookowl

    August 19, 2016 at 6:27 pm

    Great tips! Instagram is definitely my favourite social media and these are useful tips! Very helpful post 🙂

  4. jcwreads

    August 19, 2016 at 6:50 pm

    I’m not that good at taking photos and I always get crappy lighting for it but I love commenting on other peoples’ posts and seeing what they’re reading! Bookstagram is awesome and I’ve met so many lovely people through it 🙂

    1. hollie (hollieblog)

      August 19, 2016 at 8:13 pm

      Same! I go to the rooms with the most natural light, and then brighten, but it all depends on style! Some people have darker themes and they’re gorgeous! 😍

      1. jcwreads

        August 20, 2016 at 11:11 am

        My house isn’t dark but whenever I take photos there’s so many shadows! Filters save it from looking awful haha

  5. Clara Cheng

    August 20, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    Awesome tips, dear! And congratulations on hitting 1k, your gorgeous feed totally deserves more <3 I love using VSCO too!

    1. hollie (hollieblog)

      August 20, 2016 at 1:06 pm

      Awww thankyou so much! 💕

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