Posts tagged bookish photos
Taking Better Bookstagram Photos

A new year brings about all sorts of motivation to improve ourselves, our lives, and the details that make up both. One of the things I find myself thinking about is the shift from holiday photos to winter and then to the much anticipated spring. I won’t lie, I’m ready to be outside again, but our beloved #bookstagram is still holding onto those cozy vibes. Thus, I’m stretching myself to find a mix of working with low light and cozy indoor vibes to document our reading lives.

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If you’re stuck inside because of the cold, rain, or snow, fear not friends, you aren’t alone. Unless you live in Australia, we’re all struggling to find inspiration and take beautiful photos to share. The days are indeed getting longer, but we still have some time before it’s a substantial difference. I have a few tips to help you through.

  1. Plan ahead - I cannot say this enough: plan ahead. What does that mean exactly, you ask? It means that if you want decent content to post without stressing or burning yourself out, plan a day during the week that you’ll be home when there’s ample sunlight. Taking a few varied bookish photos to get you through the week will help immensely.

  2. Find the light - There has to be at least one spot in your home that gets some decent light in the late morning or early afternoon. Whether it means scooting a chair over, bringing in a blanket, or setting up a little prop spot, use this area and plan to shoot in. Going out for coffee? Sit by the window and snap a few shots there too. And just because you take the photos now, doesn’t mean you have to post them right away.

  3. Change your angle - When you have a setup that you love, consider taking an extra shot or two from different angles. This gives you additional photo content to mix in throughout the week and add some consistent interest to your feed.

  4. Add variety - Even if you have to use the exact same spot, you can easily make a few small adjustments to keep it interesting for you. Add in a cup of coffee, a plant, change up your book choice, pose the book open and closed, add a blanket, get yourself in the frame. The options are endless. Also, if you’re working with window light, change your angle. If you subject is lit from the left side, move to the right, above, eye level, step in closer and move away.

  5. Keep your captions interesting - Ok, so this isn’t exactly a photo tip, but if you are planning ahead with your photos, you’ll need to ensure that your written content is just as interesting and diverse. Not only do you not want to post too similar of photos back-to-back, you also want to keep the conversation interesting. Think about your book AND your reading life, and mix both into your posts.

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Your Books in Pictures | Fall Edition

Hey there friends, Rikki here, coming at you with a seasonal guide to photos and styling to improve your documented reading life. It's not about being perfect or reaching professional standards, but more about learning to love the photos you have in your camera roll and ensuring they're timeless and worth keeping. Be sure to start off by reading our original Photography Guide, and as always, share any tips you've found useful in the comments below!

Fall Photos

Fall is one of the most wonderful times of the year, and most readers tend to agree (not to minimize the luxury of summer warmth, spring beauty, and winter coziness). Not only are there great books to read in every season that help encompass the feeling of seasonal changes, but foods, drinks, and weather shifts are worth soaking up too.

When you think of fall, what comes to mind? I tend to reflect on warm drinks, spiced treats, pumpkins, and leaves changing to beautiful hues of red, orange, and yellow. Now mix in your reading life, what does it look like now? All the good stuff mentioned before, plus mystery novels, campus settings, and thrillers are on our TBR's.

When thinking in terms of photos for this season, there are two important things to consider:

  1. The light inevitably changes and our daylight hours are cut nearly in half. A little planning can make a big difference when documenting anything with a camera because of the light. 
  2. Embrace the season, and let it show. A sunny beach picture doesn't really give off the fall vibe we'd like to showcase. Think leaves, warmth, sweaters, pumpkins, hot drinks, and cozy mysteries to set the tone. 

Fall Styling

When it comes to styling photos, I tend to have a picture in mind, or at least begin to as I start shooting. In my opinion, this is the hardest part of taking a good photo. Much like posing people, you have to visualize how it will look in that little camera frame. The slightest adjustments in the frame of what you're photographing can make all the difference. Play with the spacing between them, move things closer or further together, adjust the distance between you and the subject, etc. This is very much a trial and error process, so don't get discouraged

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Have Fun

Remember you're using everything from the natural light (window light when indoors), to incorporating flowers, plants, or other seasonal outdoor elements to create an atmosphere, a mood. We talk a lot about our love of seasonal reading, and highlighting that in your pictures draws the viewer in even more, because it's authentic; it shows viewers your reading life in real time, reflecting your season and surroundings.  Nothing says fall like rich autumnal hues, leaves on the ground, and curling up on the couch with a good book. Seek out books and outdoor spaces with tones reminiscent of fall. Even your coffee mug and sweater can help bring these colorful tones and cozy vibes in.

Lastly, HAVE FUN! Overthinking things and adding stress or pressure just kills the joy of what you're doing. Whether you follow our prompts to help motivate or inspire you, or you simply want to work on your picture taking skills, the whole idea is to keep it FUN. And sometimes, things get worse before they get better. But trust me, they will get better with time and practice!

Taking Pictures of Books
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Hey there friends, Rikki here, with some nerdy photography tips and tricks for you today. We've had such a warm reception with book photos that we share here on our site and on Instagram. It has been the most encouraging thing ever as we've gotten ourselves off the ground and immersed in this online bookish community over the past year. It can be really scary to start something new, something you're passionate about, wondering if anyone will think so too. 

Michaela and I have learned each other's strengths and played on those to create what you see here. It is very much a partnership that doesn't really work without the other. We are all too aware of how incredible it is to have a friend so interested in the same thing you are, and the photos are just one part of what makes this space special.

Before I go into talking photography with you, please keep in mind, that for the past seven years or so, I've been a professional photographer for weddings and family portraits. That being said, I have professional gear and have spent years honing my craft. For those who have asked and those still curious, I shoot with a Nikon D700 and a 35 or 50mm lens, on manual 100% of the time. This is not really a realistic option for most people, so don't feel discouraged. Everything mentioned here is applicable whether you're shooting with your phone or any sort of camera. Learning begins at the most basic level, with what you have. 

A few of the most important things I can think of when photographing anything, with any kind of camera:

  • Lighting | Avoid using artificial light at all costs

    • Ideally, this means no flash or fluorescent lighting. Find any window light or head outside.
    • In the winter, this can mean you have to get a photo taken before lunch time because the sun starts to fade very early. A little thinking ahead will save you here; consider taking a photo a day or two in advance. However, if you don't, find any small light source, preferably with a 'daylight' light bulb to avoid the harsh orange tones from 'warm' light bulbs.
    • If you can't adjust your exposure on camera, avoid harsh sunlight
      • Shoot in the shade
      • Having decent lighting will ensure your photos are crisp and clean looking. If you're not familiar with backlighting or editing your photos, ensure the light isn't direct and harsh but is providing ample exposure for your photo.

 

  • Make it look good | Set your scene so it is aesthetically appealing. Take a photo, then continue to adjust as needed

    • It's going to take a couple tries to get it right usually. Keep any visible lines straight, move things around.
    • Framing is equally essential here. Look at what you've set up and try to view it as a photo; fill the space, leave some blank space, move your focal point around (hint: it doesn't always have to be in the center of the photo, rule of thirds).
  • Avoid clutter

    • It can be done right, but it's more intentional than it might seem. If you don't have a main focal point, you might want to re-think your setup.
    • If you have a lot going on in a photo consider pulling the book far forward, so it's clearly the focus, and the stuff in the background is softer and less busy looking.
    • Try to have a non-distracting background if you have a lot happening in your photo.
      • Unless you're shooting a flat lay, you need to create some distance between your focal point and your background, if your camera can create a blurry background, this is how it will happen (hint: on smart phones, you can close in on your subject, touch it to focus, and the background will blur, giving a little depth of field).

 

  • BE AUTHENTIC

    • I can't stress this enough! If you are pulling inspiration from somewhere, that is great (I do all the time)but you have to adjust things to work for you. Trying to copy something completely will often lead to disaster and your audience will ultimately see the lack of consistency, because again, you're trying to do what someone else is doing, not what is true to you.
  • Natural colors | Stop using unattractive filters and desaturating colors

    • Timeless and true coloring on photos is important to create a consistent look, plus it keeps your photos from becoming dated and losing quality. This is ultimately a personal preference, and filters can be used well, thankfully we can now tone down its strength with the slider on whatever app you're using.
  • Editing | If you feel the need to edit, or touch up, any of your photos, keep it clean

    • The whole point of editing a photo is to enhance it to look its best, not change the entire photo (this is a very subjective statement, but bear with me). For simplicity, you want to clearly see your subject (adjust exposure, not too bright or dark), you want colors to look natural (warm up a blue tinted photo, cool down an orange tinted photo) - these things can easily be done on an photo app, including Instagram (I'm not talking about filters necessarily either).

There is so much to learn about how to take good photos. This is a topic I could go on and on and on about, but for the sake of not writing a book, I'll leave it here. You are welcome to message me your questions any time. However, practice is just about the only thing to do to ultimately improve your skill. It can be frustrating and it can take more patience than you care to use, but if you have the desire to take better photos in general, you'll have to start somewhere. The days of just pointing your camera and quickly snapping a photo is fading. We want beautiful photos to remember moments by and we don't always have a professional on hand to do that for us. The trick? Start practicing!