About three years ago, I accidentally started a bookstagram account. Since then, I have picked up quite a few things about how this sacred institution works. Today, I’m bringing you insider information on some of the most popular types of bookstagram posts, so that you too can start your journey to bookstagram fame.
1. The Flat Lay
This is a classic, but it can be tricky. It’s great for setting a mood through props (see some examples below) although I usually try to strike a balance between giving the picture interest without overcrowding it.
Composition is also key: depending on the look you’re going for, you might need to arrange and rearrange things a few (hundred) times.
Since this style is usually from a bird’s eye point of view, maybe also find yourself a sturdy chair to stand on.
2. The Throw it in (or Against) a Tree
A bookstagram classic. Are you really a bookstagrammer until you have ventured outside into nature and drawn curious looks from members of the public as you hold a book up against some foliage? Yes. But don’t let that stop you.
Alternatively, bring along a friend or family member who doesn’t get as easily embarrassed. (That’s my mother holding the book in the second photo.)
3. The Book Stack
Perfect for when you go to the bookshop “to look” and walk out with 6.5 things you didn’t intend to get. You can also live dangerously and attempt a book spiral (which is just a fancy book stack in my opinion), but I would recommend saving those for the days you really want to test your patience.
4. The ‘Chuck Some Random Objects in There’
Whist popular options for bookstagram props include candles, flowers, stationery, fairy lights and cups of tea, the staples can sometimes feel repetitive. If you’re looking for fresh ideas that will catch people’s attention, why not go for something unexpected. Like playing cards, interesting pieces of jewellery, a musical instrument, a bicycle, an ice-cream truck, a pirate ship, a blue whale, the moon.
Okay, maybe I got a bit carried away there. But you don’t need to go shopping for bookish props specifically. It’s possible to work with what you’ve got — even something that might initially seem really simple, like a box of matches or a ribbon.
5. The Hold it Out
A.k.a when you have grown tired of everything else and just need a day of rest. That being said, this simple method has a lot of possibilities — for example, you could add interest through outdoor backgrounds (see number 7). Or a simple background means brighter books or singular props can really stand out.
6. The Shelfie
Yet another classic, the shelfie can either mean one of two things: “I spent thirteen hours rearranging all my books and want to show it off.” Or, “I ran out of book post ideas.” Either way, the shelfie provides loads of opportunities — the close-up, the far-away, the colour co-ordinated, the colourless (i.e. spines facing inward, i.e. SACRILEGE). Endless possibilities.
7. The ‘Throw a Book in There to Make it Relevant’
Are you on holiday or busy drowning in work and haven’t held a book up against a tree in weeks? It’s still okay to post. For a while, I didn’t think I could post pictures of anything on my bookstagram unless a book was involved. And whilst a lot of my life does revolve around books, I am sometimes also doing other things. So it’s okay for my personal account to reflect that.
That being said, using outdoor locations and landmarks as a backdrop for book photos can be very beautiful. As long as you’re not forcing the book into the picture.
8. The Desperate Times Call For Desperate Measures
A.k.a “I don’t have any new photos so here is an old one from a different angle, hoping I posted the first one long enough ago that you don’t remember it.”
9. And finally… The Behind the Scenes
If you feel like being super hashtag relatable, feel free to share an image of the carnage left behind after you’re done taking taking photos. For there will be carnage — where flat lays are concerned, chaos follows closely behind…
And there you have it. The nine most common types of bookstagram posts. All this being said, there’s obviously no right or wrong way to do this; the main thing is to be happy and have fun. Go with another species of whale, if you prefer.
Thanks for reading and until next time, bookstagrammers.