It can be tricky to come up with Bookstagram post ideas when you’re trying to juggle everything else in your life. We’ve had a Bookstagram account for three years and although the book world provides lots of inspiration, we sometimes still run out of ideas. To help with this, we’ve assembled useful bookstagram prompts and book photo ideas from a variety of popular bookstagrammers in this post. You can either mix and match these, or stick with one theme. Bookstagram seems to favour consistency, but enjoyment has to come first and if you’re a beginner, we would recommend experimenting with lots of styles.
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We update this page with new book photo ideas as we either make them or spot them! The latest update was in January 2022.
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Bookstagram wouldn’t be bookstagram without book reviews! This is one place on the internet that you can visit and be sure to find other booklovers and some accounts only post book reviews. Word count can be an issue on Instagram so aim to keep your reviews compact and break up text with emojis. Flatlays work best for these types of posts. You want to ensure that the cover is clearly visible.
If you’re hoping to be sent advance copies then make sure you tag the publishing house. This isn’t a guarantee that you’ll receive books for review, but if you’re consistent, have a nice feed and good engagement, then publicists will start to notice. We’ve expanded on this in our post about Bookstagram influencing.
Tying in with the above, book collections are easy to assemble and can look fantastic on your feed. You can go with a co-ordinated flatlay of covers or a stack of spines. Here are some suggestions for how to co-ordinate reading collections on Bookstagram without the use of props.
Publishers, Editions and Book Series
There’s something very satisfying about seeing books with similar designs photographed together. The account Places_and_Books posts classic book collections that are styled by publisher, edition and book series – blending lots of different layouts to create a great effect.
Author Collections on Instagram
If you love a particular author then it’s very likely that someone else will enjoy their work too and want to collect ALL the titles. If you own a book set then great, but don’t worry too much if your covers don’t match. It’s always interesting to see different designs and interpretations.
Display books by colour
A popular and striking way to showcase books on Bookstagram. This kind of book photography is fun to create and means you don’t necessarily need to own entire sets of books (which can be expensive and be tricky to source). You can arrange your books either by spine or cover.
Photograph books by theme and genre
There are an almost unlimited number of ways to theme books and the_book_bug_ is really great at doing this. Look for tags to prompt you (more on this below)
TBR Piles (to-be-read piles)
Most bookstagrammers will have a TBR pile in some shape or form. We store ours in a book trolley but you can simply stack these or arrange them on a shelf.
If you’re short on books we’ve shared tips for building a book collection on a budget. Remember that if it’s open, you can borrow from your local library as well.
Share your Book Nooks on Instagram
On one of our favourite bookstagram post ideas is to show off book nooks! They don’t need to be fancy. There’s a wide range of tastes on Bookstagram so whether you go full rainbow or minimalist, bookstagrammers are bound to enjoy seeing your reading corner. This can be as simple as a bedside table or as a expansive as a home library. If you have photogenic bookshelves you can make this the focus of your entire feed – @wordchild does this to stunning effect.
One tip here would be to make sure that you take out as much artificial light as possible. This shows as a yellow tint on your image. To remove this, use the tint or white balance adjustment button to alter the tone.
Bookstagram Photo Ideas for Book Corners
If you’re still working on creating a special corner for your books then you can still use other places around the house to conjure up that cosy feel.
Books in bed
This is super easy to do and doesn’t need anything other than a book, a bed and a blanket. I’ve found that the best way to do this is just to capture the moment naturally. Of course if you want to include extra items like mugs and cushions then that’s up to you.
Reading in the bath
Check out the #readinginthebath tag to discover lots of other bath-inspired book photo ideas without revealing too much!
Travels from an Armchair
Another simple one to capture. It doesn’t even have to be an armchair – just a place where you like to curl up and read.
Using Light Patterns in Bookstagram
We tend to post light patterns in stories, but this shot of our home library gives an idea how an unusual slant of sun or shadow can add interest to an image. Keep an eye on light shifts in your house – you might be surprised by what you find!
Do you need Bookstagram Props?
When we started our account we bought a few bits and pieces, but over time found that we didn’t need these. If you are a bookstagram beginner then you might want to experiment with different themes until you find your voice. What we will say is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money! Don’t feel that you have to collect every Funko or buy special backgrounds.
Look at what already own and try out different shots. Maybe you can display your books creatively or trial a feed that has lots of neutral space (blank space around the object). Blankets and bookish signs can also theme a page, but use them sparingly. Here are two of our most effective ‘props’:
The Vintage Suitcase
We picked up this small vintage suitcase cheaply and it has been great for bookstagram photos, as well as being a lovely feature within the home. You can find similar at car boot sales, flea markets and antique shops. If you don’t have any of these nearby, check out Etsy.
The Book Trolley
I mentioned this earlier, but the book trolley itself deserves to be highlighted as it’s such a useful piece of bookstagram kit. Not only does it provide much-needed storage space, the trolley is a thing of beauty that can be photographed from many angles. You can buy an affordable book cart from Etsy (note this isn’t the one we have, which is no longer on sale).
Whether you use your timer or ask a friend to take a photo, there’s no doubt that bookstagrammers love to see who’s behind the camera. There are different ways of doing this- from standard portraits to creative poses. If you’re anxious about taking self-portraits for Bookstagram, I recommend checking out Kutovakika’s Self Portrait Photography tips on YouTube.
IGTV Book Review Video
I recorded this book review on IGTV recently to try something different. It’s less stylised than a reel and was a lot more personal than my usual posts. Basically I just filmed myself speaking on my phone for a couple of minutes then uploaded it. The beauty of this format is that you can remove it for the main grid if you want to!
I plan to make more of these over time – hopefully wearing more literary-inspired clothing.
If you want to proudly display your Bookstagrammer credentials or buy for a friend then Etsy is a great place to look for t-shirts, caps, bags and sweatshirts. You’ll also be supporting small businesses in the meantime. Make sure you check reviews before you buy though.
Creative Bookstagram Selfie
This one isn’t for the faint-hearted as it took ages to make but I like it because people are going to be looking at the book stacks rather than me!
Pets on Bookstagram
The best bookish combination! Share pics of your animal friends with your books. Anything goes here and pets offer a cute insight into your life. Always have treats on hand when you take the photo (and remember to capture the shots that go wrong for stories as well!)
Bookstagram Hashtags as Post Prompts
Everyone is searching for the perfect bookstagram hashtag formula these days. There’s no magic potion, but popular hashtags can be really helpful for framing post content. They also have the added advantage as doubling up as tags which can help to widen your community.
- #meethebookstagrammer – your chance to reveal a little about yourself to your followers.
- #flatlayfriday – a chance to try out new styles and layouts.
- #sundayshelfie – shelfies are always popular on Bookstagram. This can be a quick win for the end of the week.
- #rainbowstacks – stack by colour and change the hashtag accordingly! This is a great one for tagging.
- #tenonmytbr – there are multiple versions of this hashtag. The TBR is a perennial bookstagram feature so everyone understands when you post your tottering book piles. The book post above by @thesistersread has been prompted by the tag #tenonmytbr
These hashtags are also very helpful for prompting Instagram captions. You can find out more in our post about handy Bookstagram Caption Ideas.
Tagging on Bookstagram
Tagging is another great way to discover bookstagram post ideas, especially if you’re new to the platform. When you use a hashtag, you can invite others to join the challenge too by tagging them. Once you start doing this, you should find that others begin to tag you back. If you’re looking to make friends on Bookstagram, I definitely recommend having a go at tagging.
It’s also worth joining in with hashtag challenges created by bookstagrammers as they often share posts in their stories. Our current hashtag is #mybookishreflection so please have a go and tag us!
Although there are highly successful Bookstagram accounts that only share photos from the same room or apartment, it’s good to get out and about. This isn’t as easy as it once was due to the pandemic, but there are other options to take bookstagram outside even in these uncertain times.
Again, if you’re visiting somewhere, definitely tag the bookshop, cafe or historic place as they might share your photo in stories or on the main feed.
Taking pictures of books outside offers lots of opportunities for Bookstagram post ideas. You can combine book covers with landscapes, historic places, skies, gardens and murals to achieve striking compositions.
Shots of literary destinations are beloved by bookstagrammers and sought after by major travel instagram accounts. If you capture the right angle and light, you may reap lots of shares. We’re still working on this, but this has been one of our most recent successes.
Book covers and places
Want to show off a beautiful cover? Hold it up in front of a related place or somewhere that embodies the spirit of the book. TIP: Make sure you can see the title and author!
The Open Book Shot
A popular favourite on Bookstagram, the open book shot is extremely versatile and can be used to combine travel and literary posts to brilliant effect. For maximum impact, centre an open book shot in a pathway, road or tree-lined avenue.
Coffee and books (or tea and books)
Cafe culture never goes out of fashion. Take a shot at your favourite table. Bonus points if the cafe has bookshelves! Check out @theguywiththebook for inspiration.
If you manage to step inside a bookshop, we advise you take as many shots as you can particularly if the bookstore is characterful. Afterwards use editing software to brighten and reduce the yellow tint of artificial light.
People love to see photos of bookshop exteriors! This can either be a windowshot or a full building capture. Try to keep lines straight if you can. Generally, you’ll get a better response if the bookshop exterior has a vintage aesthetic.
Creative Bookstagram Posts
This is an area that we’ve dipped our toes in a few times. It’s the most time-consuming form of bookstagram post to create, but encourages you to build new skills. There are countless ways to produce creative Bookstagram post ideas:
Get creative with glass windows
Windows can be great for creative bookstagram posts and this is one of the easiest ways to produce eye-catching shots. Draw a design in condensation, chalk on paint, or stick fallen leaves onto a wet surface to produce startling effects.
Make a bookish window
Another fun idea is to make a bookish window with bookstacks and take a selfie of yourself sitting on the other side. These are easiest to build out of hardback books, but can also use paperbacks.
Photoshopped fantasy scenes
These can look incredible. We tinkered with this a while ago and one bookstagrammer who is still doing this successfully is glindaizabel.
Giant Book Pictures
These can be made up either of books arranged on the floor and shot from a height to form a huge picture or stacked to create a giant book picture. James Trevino and Elizabeth Sagan are the undisputed royalty here.
This is where you change the scale of objects so that they appear either smaller or larger than usual. They can be really fun to make and easier than the other types of creative Bookstagram posts.
The traditional book face is where you use a book cover to blend with your own body so that the artwork is aligned. Look up #bookface on Instagram to see some truly amazing creations!
Sharing book photos from other Bookstagram accounts
Some Bookstagram accounts generate 100% of their content by reposting photos taken by other people. The ones with lots of followers can be highly influencial. If they share your content, then there’s a chance that others will follow you. Unfortunately there’s lots of spam accounts out there too.
Generally, it’s better to produce your own content because this is where you’ll grow your skills. However, if you really want to repost then it’s etiquette to ask first, and ALWAYS credit the bookstagrammer.
Instagram Reels for Bookstagram
Instagram reels is new feature for Bookstagram which we’ve only just started to experiment with. You record a 15 or 30 second clip which can then be edited with audio, effects and text. This can then be shared on the main grid or restricted to a Reels gallery.
How to plan Bookstagram posts
Once you’ve made a shortlist of Bookstagram post ideas, it’s a good idea to plan them out. There are various ways to do this but we use the Preview app for this. The basic package is free and allows you to draft out your feed before posting. This enables you to avoid any image clashes and basically to get the best out of your collection. There’s also the facility to save captions so that you can paste these into Instagram.
We don’t use the scheduling feature as there was an issue with third-party apps on Instagram a while back, but it’s worth trialling this if you’re short on time.
If you’re able to pay for packages then Preview offer extra features such as hashtag suggestions, multiple account users and analytics.
Using Presets for Bookstagram
If you want to make give your feed a unique identity, you can apply presets to your images. A preset is basically a blend of edit settings which you can apply to all your photos. You find free presets within Instagram (see filters) and other editing packages. We use Lightroom (£9.98 per month) for our edits. Although this is pricey, it can take your photography to the next level. The package also enables users to upload bespoke presets created by photographers.
To get an idea of the choice available, you can see a range of preset packages on Etsy. Once purchased, you can easily save to Lightroom. You can find out more about applying presets on our Bookstagram feed post.
How often should you post on Bookstagram?
The million dollar question! It really depends what you’re trying to achieve. If you’re looking to build a bibliophile community then aim for 2-3 posts per week. If you’d like to grow quickly then aim for once a day.
The caveat here is fun and quality. It’s better to share less frequently with crisp images, well-researched hashtags and interesting captions than to pump out a bunch of poorly-composed posts. Remember that engagement is all important in so many ways on Bookstagram. Making friends with other booklovers over the world is a true pleasure. To get people talking why not check out our Bookstagram caption ideas for enhancing your posts?
We hope that this has given you a few Bookstagram post ideas for your account – whether new or old. And remember that it’s OK to change your style whenever you like!