Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Wednesday Chatter: Five Things Bookstagram Is Teaching Me

Wednesday Chatter is a weekly feature at Ruby's Books where we'll be talking about anything and everything related to books and reading. Click here if you want to see what we talked about in the previous weeks

WARNING: Some bad words might be used in the following post. Don't say I didn't warn you!

Hello my fellow book lovers! I've been thinking about doing a Bookstagram post for a while now, and I thought what better time than today, the week after my self-imposed vacation from all things blogging.

As I've said this on Twitter a few days ago, I've been taking a break from blogging. August has been such a great month, with a lot of writing and reading, and I kind of needed the break. Mostly it was my way of making sure the slump I was feeling didn't set it, so I tricked it by taking a break. HA! Take that, slump!

Source: Giphy

Recently I was going through Instagram and since I had such a fun time doing my Five Things That Cleaning My TBR Is Teaching Me post I thought why not make a similar post about Bookstagram. So without further ado, here are


Before I start, let me tell you a bit about my bookstagram history. I started my account on July 5th, 2015. So apparently I've been doing this for over 3 years??? This was my first post:

It doesn't have a lot of likes, but I'm very proud of that photo. At the time I took it this photo I was trying to get back into photography, especially since I've been on DevinatArt for a few years before I started my blog. (And that's how old I am). Also I lost my first DeviantArt account for some mysterious reason, so I had to start over 8 years ago, but I still knew it and used it before I had any intention of becoming a blogger. Then I started thinking about photographing my books and joining the bookstagram community, and I've been slowly perfecting my craft ever since. I'm nowhere near perfect, and I'm not completely sure I've found my style, but I enjoy figuring it out.

1. Practice Makes Perfect

I know this sounds like such an overused phrase, but the more pictures I take, the better I get at figuring out what my photography style is, at least for books. Don't believe me? Here's a side-by-side comparison of my first and last bookish photo:

Yeah, I cringed too looking at the photo on the left. I had no clue what I was doing, to be honest. I'd never before taken out my camera for indoor photography, unless they were parties, but those don't really count. So I didn't know anything about lighting, proper editing, angles and things like that. It's not that I had never taken photos before, although that first pic definitely suggests that, but I didn't know how to properly use my camera in this particular setting.

The more I use it, though, the more I start understanding what I can do with the camera, which time of day works best for me for the lighting in the room I take my pictures it, what angles I like best, what background I love most, so on and so on and so on. I thought it was about talent, which in many ways it is, but it's also about practice. I've also learned how to properly use my tripod, which opened up a whole world for me to take photos and, even better, the photos don't look blurry AND my back and neck don't hurt after a photo session, which is a very big plus, because this way I can take more pictures at once.

2. I Don't Have To Spend Money 
to make my photos look pretty

So here's the thing. I know a lot of people are big on props, and I really did try to find some cute, expensive-looking props to buy and use exclusively for my bookstagram. However. Aside from the fact that I don't have the money to give on props, I also don't have that many places to buy them from in my town. It's a small town, and I'm more likely to find something cute and fancy at the Euro store or a thrift shop. Sometimes I splurge on cute fairy lights, but those don't really end up in my photos all that much. I'm not sure yet how to take decent-looking photos of the lights, and I don't really like most of the results I've been getting so far with editing.

See what I mean? Aside from that, I think I've spent more or less around 50 euros on props. I'm mostly using my doll collection (see the header image for this post), old jewelry, scarves and paper crafts. I'm obsessed with making stuff out of paper, so whenever I can, I'll take photos of whatever it is I'm making.

3. I Don't Need Physical Books

One thing I've been struggling with is the fact that 85% of bookstagram is made of physical books, and a large portion of that percentage is made of hardbacks. While I appreciate the way they look in photos, and I love the look and feel of a hardback, I feel like my e-book collection also needs some love.

I have noticed a difference in the number of likes e-book photos get as opposed to photos of physical books, but that's fine by me. I'm still proud of those photos, and in a way, that's what matters. I have tons of e-books that I can photograph, I just need to find a way to make each setup different for each book. If you've noticed in the last few weeks I've tried to change the setup for each e-book I photograph, and I'm very happy with the results, so I'm going to do more of that in the near future.

I've been trying to come up with the perfect setting to photograph e-books, and I'm pretty certain I like the scarf version more than anything I've tried previously. I seem to have an obsession with scarves, so why not share it with the world?

4. Be True To Myself

As with all things involving social media, there are a lot of trends going on in the bookstagram world. And while I enjoy looking at the finished photos and sometimes I'll even try to join those trends, I find I'm much more productive and inspired when I don't limit myself to those trends.

Case in point: e-books. If you look through my feed, you'll see a lot of the same physical books. I tend to limit my book buying, so the number of physical books I use in books is rather small compared to others. If I went to my library I'd probably have more physical books to photograph, and I do plan on visiting the local library, but those are either only Italian books or old English texts (think Chaucer or Shakespeare). However, if I use the e-books I have, a new world opens up.

5. Be As Creative As I Can Possibly Be

This is more a challenge that bookstagram poses me, than an actual lesson. Because at the end of the day, bookstagram is as much about books as it is about creativity. I could probably just photograph the book or slap a cover on the screen of my e-reader and be done with it, but I feel like I can do more.

See, in my head, it's different than when I'm photographing landscape or pretty flowers. Nature is giving me everything I need, I just need to choose the best settings and take the photo. Bookstagram, however, is almost like a blank canvas. I get to choose everything, and it's nice to be challenged to be creative. It's also scary and sometimes I don't feel any inspiration at all, but sometimes I just let my imagination run wild and amazing stuff happens.


What about you? What do you think about bookstagram? Is there anything you've learned in your bookstagram journey? Are you a part of this wild community? If so, please leave your handle in the comments, because I love seeing everyone's photos.


  1. I love this post! I haven't posted anything on my Bookstagram account in months because I've had no motivation to take photos even though if I'm honest, I have ideas for them. I've just been lazy. But this post is making me want to pick up my camera again because you make some very valid points! I have gotten better at framing photos since taking book photos, I have realised I don't need expensive props (honestly, I just use a lot of my daughter's toys and blankets) and I generally have fun with it.

    I love your photos btw! Following you now!

    1. Thank you so much! I'm glad my post made you want to take photos again. It's hard finding the time and will to take photos, but it's fun most of the times. YES TO USING TOYS AND BLANKETS!! I love seeing toys on bookstagram, which doesn't happen often *sadface*.

      I love the stuffed bear you used a while ago, with the graduation cap. He's such a cutie pie (she?). I hope you will find inspiration to take more photos soon. Thank you again!

  2. I dislike how many people put down ebooks when they are, by far, not only convenient but an asset for international bloggers! I used to feel weird about posting e-reads on my bookstagram because I thought people wouldn't like it so much! Letting go of that mindset has allowed me more creativity and freedom on IG :)

    Camillea Reads || Twitter

  3. I dislike how many people disapprove of e-readers when they are, by far, the most convenient asset for an international book reviewer! I used to feel a bit weird about posting e-reads but once I let go of that mindset I've become more creative with my photoshoots :)

    Camillea Reads || Twitter || Instagram

  4. When I was a travel blogger, I had an okay following on Insta and since I have stopped travel blogging, I have still continued to post travel photos. Slowly my following has diminished but I am okay with it. I really got tired of the travel Insta hustle of people spending so much on these artificial setups that I find so annoying and fake. Bookstagram isn't quite as bad but I still prefer the more organic looking photos. I have only dipped a toe into posting book photos along with my travel photos but I am following more Bookstagramers than ever before. The jury's out for me; I have such a love-hate relationship with Insta!


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