Now and again, I’ll get asked how I edit Bookstagram photos, whether from followers or friends. While shooting your favourite books comes down to personal preference, I thought I’d share some of the things I do to edit my book photos (and have learnt not to do).
But, firstly, you may be wondering:
What is a bookstagram?
Bookstagram is a term book lovers call their book Instagram. For example, mine is pagesofthemoone. I named mine after my blog to keep things fluid across my channels.
All the photos on my current feed are bright, pastel in nature (mainly pink), with a balance of pink in each where I can. I prefer to do flat lays, personally, but occasionally I’ll do stacks and other shots.
I always use Lightroom mobile to edit my photos as I have an Adobe membership. In this, I’ve spent a long time curating my own ‘presets’ to make things easier for myself. I’ve got various ones with minor changes for different lighting and seasons to keep my feed as similar as possible.
How to edit bookstagram photos
Before I get into it, I wanted to show you one of my latest photos. On the left is a non-edited photo, with the right side edited.
Centring and location
Setting up for your shot is the biggest help before you even begin to edit bookstagram photos. Occasionally, I’ll lay out what I think will be my shot, and I’ll have to tweak it to centre it within the frame. For me, everything else can be aided, but the physical placement is hard to fix, even with great skills.
All of my photos are shot on my iPhone, making it convenient, but also the grid facility also helps me to make sure what I need to focus on will catch people’s eye. It’s also important to ensure (if you use an iPhone or DSLR) that you’re not focusing on something at the edge or not even in the frame.
Think about the location and time of day you’re taking your photos. Ensuring your images are bright makes the editing process so much easier. I prefer to shoot in natural light, but this can become difficult in the winter when it’s dark before I get in from work.
The best time, I’ve found, to take photos is between 11 am-2 pm because my home gets lots of natural light. It’s also the best time for the room I usually shoot my photos in because I don’t get a lot of shadows. In winter, I use a ring light to give myself the impression of sunlight, so don’t worry if you’re not able to take pictures in natural lighting.
This set of photos below: left unedited, right edited, have been shot with a ring light.
Trying to keep your light as cohesive as possible will help you to create a feed that matches. Using a ring light is trickier, but it just means you’ll have to pay more attention to shadows and certain aspects when you come to edit (i.e.: background, saturation, contrast).
Give your photos some flare, some personality with props.
I don’t want to linger on this section because this is all personal preference. For bookstagram, choose props which make you happy and props which represent you as a book lover.
I love candles, so usually, there’s always a candle in my photos. Sometimes these are bookish candles I’ve grabbed from Etsy (non-sponsored shout-out to StarryFlames).
As you can see from above, my handbag is another favourite. I love it as it’s a present and the perfect shade of pink that matches my aesthetic.
Using props helps add flavour and synchronisation to your photos when you look at your overall feed. They can also add some balance to photos, especially when covers are overly colourful, dark or light.
Editing your bookstagram photos
Here’s one of my most recent photos. The lighting is quite good, there’s a slight shadow, but this is hidden by the grains from the table.
I’ve balanced my props out, lightening the top part of my photo so the pink/red at the bottom won’t overload the image.
Now I’ve snapped it. It’s time to take it into Lightroom. As I mentioned above, I use the mobile app, and as I shot in natural lighting, I choose the preset option I created for myself for natural lighting.
And then begin tweaking. The things I usually look at are:
- Exposure (tweaking up or down if it’s too bright)
- Vibrance and Saturation
After that, it’s more intense tweaking using the colour mix to make specific colours duller or brighter depending on what balance I think it needs.
Saving presets in Lightroom Mobile
Once you’ve edited it, if you’d like to save it as a preset, here’s how.
In Lightroom Mobile, select ‘Preset’ > Click the three dots in the top right > Create Preset. This should save your preferences, making it easier for next time.
How to find presets
If you’re struggling with creating presets, there are some amazing ones on Pinterest. Or you can have a look on Etsy to purchase one if you’re struggling to find what you like.
Tips on editing bookstagram photos
Some photos don’t look the same
With the best will in the world, sometimes you can shoot in similar lighting, and your photo doesn’t match. This is due to the hues and the other colours, maybe even the props you’ve used or the time of year. It’s also worth keeping in mind that presets only work for specific photos.
I have a very pink-ish hue to my photos, so my saved presets don’t always work well for me. I sometimes have to do a lot of editing to balance it out. So, if this happens, you’re not alone.
Don’t shoot on Instagram
While there are lots of nice filters available on the app, try to avoid shooting in the app. This is because Instagram’s photo quality when you come to save your photo is less than it would be when you shoot directly on your camera. I’ve also recently learnt sending photos via Whatsapp dilutes quality too, so be aware of this.
For more tips on bookstagram, here are five things I’d wish I’d known when I began mine.