Bookstagram Basics – Integrating Instagram with your blog! – Join the cool kids club. Bookstagramming isn’t new, it’s been around since Instagram became popular, but I’ve noticed recently that a lot of bloggers are integrating their blog posts and reviews with clever photography, taking the #Bookstagram tag to the next level. These bloggers speak to me on an intrinsic level. I get them. I wish I was them. Let’s figure out how to do it. Especially that now my twitter feed is full of the #bookstagramchallenge posts – I’m loving it.

What is Bookstagram? Basically, Bookstagram is the book community on Instagram. We’ve got Book Bloggers, BookTubers, Bookstagrammers — basically on any platform book lovers thrive. The cool thing about bringing Instagram into your everyday blogging – is that it is relatively easy.

Bookstagram

There are some fabulous bookish peeps that function solely on Instagram. They post beautiful photos. This isn’t a post on how to become part of the Bookstagram community, or where to get into a Bookstagram niche – this is just how to set up posts on Instagram to compliment your blog.

Quick Tips on Getting the Perfect Instagram Picture:

The key is the shot. Make it compelling. And the hashtag. Make it relevant. 

  • Don’t use the App! – Take pictures using your phone camera or use a “professional” camera and import the photos into your phone. The latest iPhone has a 12-megapixel camera, it has optical image stabilization and a true-tone flash. This means there will be no red-eyes or blurriness and the picture will have an amazing depth. Use your phone camera. The Instagram app does not implement the great features of the phone camera, like zoom, focus pixels etc.
  • Balance – Make sure your images are symmetrical, good use of white space. This is when the grid system comes into play. This is what photographers call COMPOSITION. Where you place objects in a photograph. Check out this YouTube tutorial by amazing photographer Steve McCurry for the basics.
  • Don’t go Crazy with the Filters. Keep it simple. The more you edit, the more “fake” it looks. Make sure you have good lighting to begin with so you don’t have to do a lot of editing in the end.
  • Take a Ton of Shots. Don’t just take one and then done. Take a bunch of shots and choose the best.
  • Think Before You Shoot. Think about what you want to share first. Plan ahead and choose photos and shots that promote your “brand.”
  • Go for Color. Beautiful color shots with a “hue theme” are always popular.
  • Natural Light. Light and bright images stand out from dark, shadowed images. They pop off the phone and say “like me!” Curalate did a great infographic on better-engaged photos that is worth a look.
  • Don’t Forget A Great Title & Your Hashtags. Caption your photo so it explains what’s in your image. Make sure to mention any publisher or author that you want to notice your image. Also, find great hashtags within the community and use them. Some go crazy with the hashtags, others use a few. People see the image first and then the hashtags, so I see nothing wrong with tagging it.
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Your bookstagram should reflect your content. If you are posting a review today, take a picture of the book you are reviewing. Even if it is a library book, or an eBook, snap a picture and post it on Instagram. Include a good quote from your review. If you want to get quirky, set up the shot with what you are doing while you read it. A pretty coffee shot, or maybe in the chair you are reading it in. Make it personal.

I found a great new blogger called the BookCollective, her blog looks very new – and I found her already by using Instagram, even though she only has 6 posts:

Review of my favorite book of the year, All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda, just posted on the blog. It’s told backwards in time!

A photo posted by The Book Collective Blog (@bookcollective) on

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Show off your #BookMail and pair it with coordinated items in the post. A good way to do this is by taking the books outside for the best lighting and placing it by something it matches in nature. Use hashtags for the publisher that sent you the books and #bookhaul #bookmail along with others that describe your post. I’ve been testing out Ripl, a free app, to make things a little more interesting:

Thank you @penguinrandomhouse ! Can’t wait to read this beauty. #bookstagram #bookmail #superhero #bookblogger

A video posted by Parajunkee (@parajunkee) on

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Show off your Current Reads and Must Reads. Co-blogger Patti @thelovejunkee is giving this bookstagramming thing a go. I love her shots. She’s doing the “prop” thing and she intergrates her book hauls and current reads.

Okay, playing with #bookstagram again. Same book, 1st of 2 shots…

A photo posted by Patti (@thelovejunkee) on

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Ask your readers to pick your next read! I love this and the publishers even do it. A good way to promote books and have your readers get excited about what you will be posting.

Tonight’s tough decision. Which one would you pick, readers?

A photo posted by HarperCollins Canada (@harpercollinsca) on

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Don’t overthink it. Take the shot. Post it. If people don’t like your shot, they aren’t going to be all grumpy with you. It should be an easy thing. It should be a natural thing. I like the images that don’t look”too” staged, as if it’s a professional product shot.

Sharing the love – some of my favorite accounts:

Share your Instagram account in the comments for me to follow! Or if you have a favorite follow – share them also!

10 Comments

  1. Megan @ love literature art and reason

    Great tips! I love Instagram and I participate in challenges and photo opportunities daily. I love it!

    Reply
  2. Patti (@thelovejunkee)

    Thanks for featuring me 🙂 I’m still trying things out and getting a feel for it, but I really am having fun! These are great tips and I’m going to work on my descriptions, hashtags, and tags.

    Reply
  3. Jamie

    Thank you so much for posting this. I keep wanting to get into Instagram, but I was struggling with exactly how to go about it. these are some awesome ideas and I am definitely going to try it.

    Reply
  4. Tanya @ Rantings of a Reading Addict

    I scroll through IG dying over the gorgeous pics. I cannot get lighting to work for me at all. Props and all the pretty things. I will keep trying. I still end up with more pictures of my pugs than books! rantingreader

    Reply
  5. Lizzy

    My Instagram is book/creative pursuits/cat. Haha! But it’s @emamos24 if you really want to see! 😀

    Reply
  6. midnytereader

    Awesome post. And, it’s inspired me! Maybe this is just what I need regarding my blogging slump (which has been for over a year or maybe two)…a new way to share and communicate.

    Reply
    • Patti

      You take such great photos, you would totally rock at this!

      Reply
  7. Kathy @ My Nook, Books and More

    Thanks for the great tips!! I follow a lot of these bloggers and I love their photos. I’ve been trying to take better photos so your tips help. Thanks!

    Reply
  8. Lover Of Romance

    I have been wondering for a while how to get started and this post is just perfect!!! I know that there is a huge community for this, so I am super excited to get into it. Thanks for the tips here.

    Reply

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