Maybe you aren’t waiting for a blog post about how I take my photos. I am aware that I am certainly not the best photographer out there with a blog. But I am also certainly not the worst and I have learned things over the years about what works for me. Maybe some of these things can work for you, especially if you like me who want to take nice bookish photos for the blog or bookstagram but don’t want to or can’t spend the money (and/or time) on all the extra accesoires and technical bits.
In that aspect I do think that getting some idea of how I go about things in this blog post could help some people.
So What Do I Use? The Basics.
I have a Kodak camera and way back in the day I tried taking bookish photos with that but it never looked like I wanted it to. Editing on the computer never quite seemed appealing to me either. So I use the camera of my IPOD. It is decent and I can use the edit function to cut of some icky corners if needed, and throw over the same filter I put over all of my photos. That is about as far as my editing tends to go.
Of course another big thing I use are the books. I have book shelves full as you know so I can always find a book to take a photo with. But library books and ebooks can be great to use as well and I certainly have. I’ll get back to the ebook one later on in this post.
As for props I have a wooden table plank you can put candles on and the like. I often use that as an extra prop to put photos or candles on. I also have a wooden tray that I have used in the past. Other than that it is mostly book marks, bookish candles and other things I already have around the house that I didn’t buy for the photos but because I liked them for my house.
Examples are this green little table cover, our wooden table I use for flat lay almost always.
I don’t do themes. I find it boring. However I do like to go seasonal. Christmas time? Use your ornaments. Spring? Use flowers you have around the house. In the Fall I go out to the park nearby with my son and collect pretty leaves and other fall items to use in my photos. I do have some fake fall leaves that I got super cheap but I do prefer to use real leaves. They look better on the photo.
What Can You Use as Big Backgrounds?
You don’t need to buy specific backgrounds or set up a whole photoshoot corner. Use areas of your house. Bookshelves are a great background. White walls can work great but if you have a stand out wall that can be pretty cool too. I use my coffee table often, especially for flay lays. I also use blankets like my harry potter blanket. The bedding on your bed or in a hotel room can be awesome to take pictures with as well. Hotel room bedding is always more fancy looking than at home, lets be real. So use those business trips wisely.
If you are a crafter, Alicia from A Kernel of Nonsense told me she uses scrapbook paper as backgrounds sometimes. Basically be creative with what you have. Hell, you can even use your clothing. Even while you are wearing it.
Get an Assistant
What you say? Yes do get an assistant, just for the fun of it. Assistants can be great in photos. Just think of all those animal and book photos you see passing by. In my case my assistant is my son who just likes to stack up my books after I am done. I think when he is older he will be a better assistant haha.
But sometimes I also use my husband for his hands or holding a stack against his chest. He can never get those photos the way I want to when I hold the photo so I guess I have to use him. Nothing wrong with that.
Using Ebooks in Photos
One of the things I struggled with for a while was ebooks in photos. I want to have photos for my reviews but with e arcs I struggled with that for a while. I am not talented at editing so that wasn’t going to work.
These days I download the cover onto my phone and put the display on high (how high depends on what kind of effect you want) so you can see the cover well. Then I just take the photo as normal. Check right away though if there is some kind of glare on the photo though. With the phones surface that is just something to look out for, depending on how the light falls.
Use the Outside – Beware of the Fans
One of the things that I think you can employ easily and where you need very little budget for is taking photos outside. As soon as the sun is shining you can go out with a few books and take a few snaps in a nearby park, forest or any other fun scenery your area might have to offer. Trees and flowers are especially a lot of fun but also having animals in the background or some water work great with photos.
The downside to this however is that people will stare. They won’t say anything. They stare. Because going out with your books to take photos isn’t exactly the most common thing in the world. So beware of that if you find that really anxiety inducing. Finding a much quieter spot like a further away forest can work better.
I have to be honest and say that I’ve stopped caring too much and it amuses me to see people looking but not saying anything. I take out Merijn’s stroller (with or without him) with me to the park fully loaded with books (well at least about 10 to 15). I take a few shots with most of them.
Don’t overthink it. Just plop that book down and take a snap. If you are scared of the grass being moist and such, take a scarf with your or something of the sort that you can put below your books and that matches nicely.
Play with Lighting and Angles
I am certainly no expect on these things but that doesn’t mean you can’t play around. If a photo sucks you can just delete it anyway. I really suggest play around with lighting and angles. I’ll show a few down below.
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A different angle on a stack of books gives of a very different look than straight on.
Sometimes you pose something and the lighting doesn’t seem to be ideal. It happens, but it can still give you shots like these where the light reflecting on the cover shines and adds something to the book. I always take these on accident though haha.
As the caption says I didn’t use a filter for this one at all. The photo just turned out this way because of the angle and the grey weather and I quite liked it.
Books Are the Best Props
When it comes down to it, books are your best props. Book shelves make great backgrounds or just snapping a lovely shelfie is great too. You can use your hardcovers, strip them of their dustjackets and go rainbow. You can put books in shapes. You can put books in stacks. You can open books and create bookish hearts. There are so many ways to go.
Do It Your Way
I often see advice about big photoshoots and taking multiple pictures of the same shot and all that. Just reading about that makes me exhausted. If that works for you, that is great! I just don’t think that is the end all advice in this area. I get uncreative after 30 minutes of taking photos. Sometimes even sooner. Sometimes I literally just quickly take shots for five minutes because I don’t have the time/energy with my son running around.
I do make a list of photos I need to take as I write blog posts. That way I can do as much as possible when my son is at his grandfather for the day. But that doesn’t always work. Don’t feel pressured to do things a certain way. There isn’t one way to take bookish photos for your blog or one way to do bookstagram. Do what feels right by you. ❤