Let’s Discuss | Bookstagram

A month or so ago, I read a really interesting Bookstagram advice post by another blogger. In it, they spoke words encouraging more people to get involved with bookstagramming. It’s as easy as having something that can take pictures, books, and an Instagram account, they said. But is it really that simple?

line break

I have an Instagram account that I like to post the occasional bookstagram picture on but have never gotten into doing it regularly. Why?

My pictures just never look right!

  • I only have a camera on my phone and it’s not a super new phone or one with a great camera so my pictures often aren’t as crisp or clear as I would like.
  • The light in our flat is atrocious so pictures often come out looking very dark and unappealing, and I struggle a lot with getting out of the house so it’s rare that I get to post bookish pictures in nice settings where the light is better.
  • I don’t have eye-wateringly large bookshelves crammed with beautiful editions of books or the latest releases.
  • I maybe only have a handful of accessories to feature in pictures so they’re never as visually attractive as other bookstagrammers posts.


When I went and had a look at the bloggers Instagram pictures to get inspiration I noticed that they had all of the above things – nice, crisp photos, beautiful accessories, great lighting, piles and piles of books to feature, and as a result lots of followers.

As someone who is on a very low income, I do struggle with envious feelings towards bloggers and bookstagrammers who have access to things which contribute to their success. Whether that be a nice camera for taking photos with, lots of cute accessories which are part of a seemingly neverending collection, or even just a nice home as a backdrop. I try not to feel jealousy or compare myself to others, but it can be hard to contain those feelings when you feel like you’re really missing out.

line break

Let's Chat! (1)

Does anyone feel similarly to me in terms of bookstagram envy?

For those of you who bookstagram, especially those of you on a super tight budget, do you have any advice to offer on improving pictures and making them prettier or stand out more?

If you don’t bookstagram, is there a reason why or is it just not something that is appealing to you?

EST. 2015 (1)


18 thoughts on “Let’s Discuss | Bookstagram

  1. OMG Avery, don’t feel left out. I know a lot of bookstagammers who took their pics only with their phone, the editing and filter do the rest, light, contrast, you name it, you just have to experiment, a lot. Polly is one of my fav and she posted this http://www.pollyflorence.co.uk/2017/09/h-o-w-i-e-d-i-t.html months ago, hope it helps. And you don’t have to put so many props, if you want to keep it simple, that’ll do too, just plain wood or bed sheet are always nice to use as backdrop, I only use my wooden table as backdrop and one or two simple props like flower, cup, notebook, sweater. And, think about a theme first, how do you want your feed to look, colorful, monotone, warm, cool and try to stick to it. I hope it help you 😘


  2. I here you! I definitely want to start turning up my bookstagram game because I am just so darn envious of those super talented (well equipped with resources) bookstagramers but I also don’t really have much funds to do that and what little I do have goes to what’s super important…food, rent, and books (of course). I totally understand the envy but, I think that seeing any pictures of books makes my soul happy, whether or not the pics are all gaudy and ostentatious or not. So, I really like your photos because I just really love seeing books, and I’m sure I’m not alone on that.


  3. I definitely feel the envy sometimes as well! Especially when some bookstagrammers are SUPER young and have their parents buy everything their hearts desire for them. I don’t have nice shelves that I can feature, and I don’t have a lot of props, but I did invest in a cheap lighting kit from Amazon as a Christmas gift to myself last December, haha. I still struggle with lighting, because it WAS a cheap one … and I keep having to put the lights away when I’m done a particular shoot …which then changes the lighting for the next shoot … which in turn causes stress, because the pictures either come out horrible, or I have to work my ass off editing them so that they look similar to my previous posts (regarding warmth, brightness, saturation, etc. etc. etc.). I’ll be honest … especially after Insta introduced the new algorithm machine from hell, I’ve nearly rage-quit many many times, and I’m always asking myself if being on there is worth the stress. And I still really don’t know…


    1. Oh I forgot to mention that I have a camera haha. It’s a fancy one, but it’s old, and also belongs to my boyfriend, so I didn’t have to buy it … haha. I guess I’m lucky in that sense. I might have to save up for a newer one if I want to turn up my game though…


  4. Well, the weather this weekend is awesome, so you can take pics in a park. It would look lovely!
    I don’t really use accessories for my pics. Sometimes some coffee, or a candle, or my bedsheets 😂


  5. I can definitely relate as I too use my phone for taking photos and have a very small book collection. Right now I just barely started my bookstagram , but I try to combat my limited abilities by sticking to very simple photos. I use textured, pretty backgrounds (like scarves and blankets) to create a bit of visual interest but otherwise I focus on keeping things elegant. I know they’re not the most *interesting* photos, but I think they’re pretty 🙂 Good luck!


  6. I use my Ipod actually as I tend to not be fond of my phone or normal photo camera’s pictures (but mine is from like 2007 haha). I try and keep my pictures simple because I do not have the feel for those big accesoire filled photos nor do I have the patience. And I just don’t like having to buy things so I mainly use things I already have around the house. Or I take home leaves from the park in autumn haha.

    If you can, taking pictures outside is great with lots of natural sunlight. As long as it isn’t too cloudy the temperatures shouldn’t matter. But I think the most important part is that you enjoy taking photos.


  7. Ooh I totally get what you mean! The only props I’ve ever used are little origami stars I made myself haha. Other then that I just take pictures with my bed sheets using my phone. Honestly I think is just comes down to using natural lighting and editing!


  8. You’re not alone!
    My house eats natural light I swear! I made a light box out of a cardboard box my step dad bought home for me from work, white tissue craft/wrapping paper, packing tape, a roll of plain white wrapping paper as a backdrop, and a cheap box cutter. Everything, except the box I bought from one of those cheap variety stores. And I loosely followed a Pinterest guide.
    The most expensive part was getting the lamps to use with it because we don’t really have lamps in my house 🤦🏼‍♀️
    For stuff to include, I just buy little decor things from the cheap shops, and am going to looking into buying bits of fabric.
    I don’t have any book accessory except for a plastic hardy potter wand 😂
    It’s not easy to bookstagram when you don’t have much money but the great thing about the current popular aesthetic is minimalistic. Requires far less things in a photo! Ahah
    I’m going to be focusing on working on my bookstagram game more but I also really have no idea what I’m doing so I’m trying to it make it feel like too much work otherwise I’ll drop it.


  9. I struggle sooo much with posting on bookstagram regularly. I pretty much forget about it, and don’t feel like taking pictures unless I’m inspired in some way. Usually I only end up posting when I happen to think my environment is photogenic or if I’m out somewhere. So most of my bookstagrams get posted from a nearby coffeeshop, where I can post books alongside a cute cup of coffee. I just can’t invest the time and money and energy into backdrops and doing actual photoshoots, alas.


  10. I made a bookstagram and went HARD for like three months. It’s so time consuming!!
    I’m in a similar boat, my books are in piles on my floor and I often read library books or books from used book sales, so not really the “bookstagram aesthetic”.
    I bought a white poster board from the dollar store, put that on my bedroom floor right under my window, and took birds-eye view photos with my phone. (The only problem with that was I only had about a two hour window in the morning when the light was good.) I refused to buy “props” because I’m cheap so I just used whatever was around my house, or nothing at all. I downloaded Photoshop Express on my phone for free to brighten up the photos. They didn’t turn out terrible! Literally the only thing I bought for bookstagram was the poster board.
    Don’t feel like you have to spend money! Even if you don’t want to go outside try to position your books in natural light. You can still make photos look nice!!


  11. I can relate to this post a whole lot. I don’t have a bookstagram, for two reasons: I don’t think I could, realistically, handle having a bookstagram on top of blogging, working full time and everything else, as well AND for all the reasons you quoted above, I don’t have pretty shelves, I don’t have tons of accessories and props and since I work full-time, I can’t enjoy the natural light except on the weekends. It is a struggle, bookstagram sounds like a lot of fun, but I know personally I would lose my mind. As much as I’d love to be part of that too, I realistically can’t without burning out for real. ANYWAYYY sorry that was a little personal take on it all haha.
    That being said, I feel like there are many things to be done without props or with a simple camera phone? I see people with simple pictures with mugs, or just a book on bed covers or something, and it looks minimalistic and brilliant as well. Maybe you could try this out and see if it fits you, or not? 🙂 I hope you’ll find what you want to do here and I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful :/

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Lighting is always an issue for me, especially since I moved into a smaller apartment and we only have one window and it never gets good lighting because the window is located at a weird part of the house. I usually try to edit my pictures with an app on my phone (or even instagram lets you edit pictures) to fix the contrast, brightness, etc. That always help to light, darken, and change the colors of a picture. You have to play around with it. Like for the Instagram app to edit there is a section called “warmth” and if you turn that down, it’ll take a lot of the orangey/yellowish look to pictures and make them look like if you had white lights. I also try to buy white light light bulbs or ones that look like “natural” lighting like outside.

    But I totally understand. I used to be pretty good with Bookstagram, but over the last year I haven’t been as great with it and because I had to move to a smaller apartment to try to save money and I don’t have a ton of props like everyone else or any good backdrops like everyone else. It’s hard to buy things too, especially when you don’t have a ton of money to spend. If you get like a bed sheet (I used to use a white sheet) and you take it outside to do pictures, you’ll have great outdoor lighting. You can take a bunch of pictures at one time to post throughout the week; in case there is ever any bad weather or not great lighting outside to use every day.


  13. I can totally relate to your struggles. When I take pictures of my art work for insta, I use my mum’s phone because my own just always make it look blurry and the light in our apartment is terrible as well. I don’t think it’s always that easy and I also don’t feel like taking everything I have and doing a photoshoot with my books in a public place outdoors either. I have bookstagram envy for people who make it look so easy and beautiful for sure haha


  14. Bookstagram is such a.. I don’t even know what to call it.
    I like photography. Hell, every time I go on a trip, I take my Canon with me and I’m all over the place taking pictures but when it comes to Bookstagram? I guess I’m too critical and compare my own pictures way too harshly to those of the big bookstagrammers, really. That and I never get any decent lighting in my apartment. Oh, and I always curse whatever “setting” I use because I like it for about two seconds and then hate it again. Which is why I haven’t posted in about.. three months, I think?
    As for props.. Well, it’s not like I’m on a low budget or anything, but I also don’t want to invest tons of money into props. The last setting I used was put together with.. Christmas ornaments and some pine cones? Fake flowers are usually so pretty in pictures but they cost TONS so yeah.. I did see someone using a classic / old-looking picture frame for her pictures and that had a fun vibe to it, really. I don’t know. I guess it’s all about roaming around and hoping to stumble upon something that sparks your creativity or something.. [Maybe you should look at some backdrops and put those on any kind of wish list you can share with people?]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s