Hello Namitha’s followers! I’m Katie over at ReadWithKatie, and today I’ll be doing a guest post on Namitha’s blog about how I Bookstagram. Head over to my blog to check out Namitha’s post on how she writes reviews!
My Instagram username is @readwithkatie, in this post I’ll be telling you how I edit my photos and have them correspond with my theme, how I run my Bookstagram account, as well as some tips that I find helpful.
What to post
I just have to start off by saying that a lot of people within the Bookstagram community feel like they have to post photos of only popular books, have to edit their photos in a specific fashion and copy other accounts which have a lot of followers. My tip to you is to post photos of books you enjoy, not necessarily what’s currently popular. If you’re always trying to “copy” some other bookstagrammers style or post photos that don’t actually interest you, you won’t end up having fun!
Although I just recommended not to copy other Bookstagrammers, you will probably need some inspiration for your posts. Instagram has a really good feature for this, where you can bookmark photos and you can look back on them later, you can also arrange your bookmarked photos into collections. Whenever I see a Bookstagram photo I really like or I feel inspires me, I use the bookmark tool. Sometimes just looking at my bookmarked photos is all the inspiration I need for an upcoming photo! Some other places where you can find inspiration is Pintrest, Tumblr, Litsy and WeHeartIt.
Interact and engage
Interacting and engaging with your followers and other bookstagrammers is a crucial part of Bookstagram. It’ll help people remember your account and will increase engagement on your photos. I always try and reply back to comments on my photos, as well as comment and like other bookstagrammers posts!
Consistency: having a Bookstagram schedule
Personally, I find that having a loose schedule for my Bookstagram, or at least knowing what my next couple of posts will be, really helps me post consistently. For me, I like to try and post every day, or at least a couple times a week. What I find really helps with this is to take my Bookstagram photos in advance, so each day I’m not worried about having to take a photo for that day. I do this by having “photo shoot sessions”, in which I take a batch of photos that I can use for the next couple of days. I also plan out what photos I will be taking, I might have some new ARC’s I want to take photos of or I’ll take a photo of my next read so I’ve got a photo ready to post once I start reading it/finish it. I use an app that I really helpful for planning out future posts which I will mention when I talk about the certain apps I use.
Don’t get caught up with your follower count!
My last tip I want to address is followers. Yep, that little number at the top of your Instagram page that so many people fret over. All I’m going to say is: don’t. Don’t worry or obsess over how many followers you have, Bookstagram isn’t about your follower count or becoming Bookstagram famous. It’s about joining the tight-knit book community, and sharing your love of books with other bookworms!
HOW I TAKE & EDIT MY PHOTOS: THE APPS THAT I USE
And now finally, the part that you probably have all been waiting for… how I edit my photos! I get this question asked sooooo often, so here’s a VERY in depth explanation of the whole process, from taking my photos to posting them.
You really don’t have to have any fancy equipment or gear to take nice photos, like everyone thinks you do. I just take my photos on my iPhone 7 plus, and way before that, I used to use an iPhone 5, any phone camera with suffice. You don’t even have to have physical books, a lot of my photos are pictures of eBooks on my iPad!
Good lighting is probably the most essential part of a photo, I recommend using natural lighting as it looks the best in my opinion. I like to take my photos next to a big wide window, so my photos are as illuminated as possible.
I find that some nice textures in the background of a photo, really adds a nice quality to it. There are lots of textures around your house that you could use: bed sheets, a mat, wood, tiles, stone etc. If you’re looking for some nice textures you can always go to a craft store and purchase a small square of textured material or even paper, such as a marble sheet, tiles or wood!
Having a few good props lying around can add some life to a photo, find objects lying around your house that you can use in a photo. Some of my favourites are glasses, earphones, a journal open to a page with writing, flowers, a wood platter board and candles.
When taking a photo of a flatly, your photos can look a bit flat with a lack of depth. To add some dimension to your photos I recommend layering some items over each other! You can layer a blanket over some bed sheets, a pair of glasses or a candle on top of an open book etc.
A lot of the time a photo won’t turn out exactly as you hoped without a little bit of editing, or a nice filter. The lighting may be too dark or too light, there’s a coffee stain that you wish to remove etc. Editing can totally change up a photo in an unbelievable way!
So immediately after taking my photos, I begin to edit them on Aviary and Snapseed. Aviary is just your basic editing app, I go into “adjust” and up the brightness, exposure, contrast, highlights and shadows. I take down the warmth and I might crop or transform the image if needs be. then I save a copy.
Next, I take the edited photo into Snapseed, one of my all time favourite editing apps. Sometimes I skip Aviary altogether if I need to brighten the photo but doing it all at once affects the integrity of the photo. I’ll explain what I mean in a sec. So in Snapseed I use the “brush” and “selective” tool to brighten certain areas of the photo. Some areas of the photo may need to be brightened, but other areas, if brightened, will become too bright and lose their integrity. So the brush and selective tools are great for this problem as you can choose what parts you want to brighten, or you can brighten certain areas more than others. I then use the “vignette” tool and turn it up so the corners of the photo are brighter. Occasionally I use the “curves” feature to add a filter. Then I export a copy to my camera roll.
Uploading the edited copy from Snapseed to Facetune, I do my last steps of editing, which is mainly whitening the photo. My Instagram theme is bright, light and white. As you can see the photo above, it looks pretty white but it isn’t truly white, there are some other slight colour tones within the photo. So I use the “whiten” tool to brush over the areas I want to look white, which really makes the white pop. If my background happens to be a colour other than white, light grey, light blue or light pink, the whiten tool doesn’t work. So instead I will use the “tone” tool in white to essentially paint over the background. However, this usually will cause your background to lose its texture and personally I don’t think it looks as nice. After that, I sometimes use the “smooth” tool to smooth out rough surfaces, the “details” tool to make important features pop and the “patch” tool if there is a stain or something I want to cover up. And that’s it! That’s all I do to edit my photos! It may seem like a long and tedious process, but I’ve done it so often I don’t even need to really think about it, and it takes approximately 5 minutes to edit one photo using all these steps, or even less depending on what needs to be done!
The last app you would’ve seen I use is UNUM. It’s not an editing app, but it’s an app where I can store my photos and plan out my Instagram feed! This helps me schedule posts and know what I’m posting and when. You can move around your photos and see what looks good next to each other, and you can even hide photos you’ve posted to see what it would look like if you deleted that photo. It also shows you stats on your last 12 posts, including likes and comments, as well as your top post, the best times to post and your top hashtags! The app allows you to have multiple accounts so you don’t have to log in and out when changing accounts.
Thank you so much for reading my post, I hoped you learnt a thing or two that will help you with your Bookstagram! Be sure to head over to my blog to read Namitha’s post!