Some bookstagrammers are able to create beautiful pages intuitively, but there are simple ways to improve your Bookstagram feed without spending a fortune on editing apps or resorting to complicated techniques. We’ve shared five methods for improving your book photography easily in this blog post.
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What is a Bookstagram Feed?
A Bookstagram feed is the overall page view when your photos are seen together as a nine post grid. A unified design can have real impact and draw people to your individual posts. Random posts can also work, but these tend to be more successful if have additional credentials – for instance if you are an author or if you share creative imagery.
These tips will help whether you’re aiming to perfect any type of Instagram feed as the principles are the same across the platform.
1.Use an editing tool
There are many editing tools out there – from the standard settings on your phone to paid apps such as Lightroom and VSCO. It’s worth trying out a few of these on your book photography. We know bookstagrammers who have amassed huge followings using standard filters. Here are the main ones:
A solid place to start. You have two options – Filter and Edit. The Filter applies a fixed recipe of amendments to your photo and shows a tiny rendition of each at the base of your image.
The edit function is more specific and allows you to adjust the basic settings on your picture including brightness, contrast, saturation and warmth.
Snapseed has been developed by Google and is totally free to use on Android and Apple phones. It has 29 tools and filters and goes a stage further than Instagram by including extra functions such as healing tools (to remove blemishes) and double exposure.
VSCO is a popular editing app on Instagram with lots of different filters and editing options to choose from. The standard option is free. If you want to upgrade and gain access to 200+ VSCO presets, you can try a free 7-day trial and then it costs $19.99 per year.
The most advanced of all the editing tools and the most costly. In the UK, this costs £10 per month and comes as part of a larger Adobe package (including Photoshop). This includes profiles and presets. If you’re serious about developing your photography, this is worth considering.
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What are the differences between filters profiles and presets?
When you progress past filters, it can be bewildering to navigate the numerous image editing options. You may come across all of the below, but essentially they all apply multiple edits to your images to achieve specific visual effects.
A filter applies a very basic edit to your photograph without any nuance. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, especially if you’re short on time, but if you may find that these don’t give you the subtlety or control you need.
A preset is an editing recipe which you can either access from a menu (like a filter), or in Lightroom, you can create your own versions. There tends to be much greater range of presets available, mainly because these are produced from a wider choice of editing tools. Many photographers sell their own creative mixes online and you can download these to apply to your own images. Bear in mind that presets do change pre-existing edits when you add them.
Lightroom has profiles. These apply settings to your photos without affecting pre-existing edits so offer even more control and intricacy. The image on the right was edited using a Lightroom profile.
How to Install Instagram Presets for Lightroom
As mentioned above, in addition to the set Lightroom presets, there’s a huge amount of special Instagram Presets for Lightroom available online, which you can purchase and download to your phone. These are a lot more affordable than they used to be and can give your account a really professional look.
Etsy offers a massive variety of Lightroom Presets, which have customer ratings – making it easier to choose the best ones. One note before you buy, the sponsored vendors always appear at the top of the page so make sure that you scroll through properly to get a good overview before you buy.
Steps for Installing Instagram Presets on Lightroom
- Purchase your Lightroom present package and open the email sent
- This should contain a zip file containing images with different edits
- Upload to your mobile phone
- Open Lightroom and create a new album by clicking + (this function can be found below the library)
- Name your album and upload the photos from the download
- Select an image and open it up
- Click on the three dots in the top right hand corner
- Click on Create Preset and give the version a name. This edit is now saved into your Lightroom Preset Menu.
- Open up one of your own photos
- Click Presets on the bottom menu (4th icon on my phone)
- Select Library and scroll to User Presets
- Find the version name you’ve just installed and apply
Instagram Editing Basics
There are millions of ways to enhance your book photography and no real rules. Instagram is a creative platform where anything goes. However, if you want to start somewhere, here are a few safe routes to follow:
Remove artificial light – this will show as a yellow tinge on your photos. Bring down the warmth or temperature very slightly to achieve a more neutral tone.
Straighten lines – if you’re taking pictures where straight lines are an essential part of the picture (a bookshelf, a table or a building for instance) then try to adjust them so they’re as straight as possible. Wonky angles can work but only if you know how they will fit into the greater picture.
Don’t go crazy with saturation – it can be tempting to go full rainbow when editing but less is often more. Blinding colours can overwhelm your Bookstagram feed.
2. Crop photographs on Bookstagram
The Instagram grid is better suited to square or portrait photos with a 4:5 ratio. Anything outside of this will get cropped by Instagram so you may not create the result you wanted. Make sure you choose the right setting before uploading to your Bookstagram account.
You can publish landscape photographs but these tend not to suit Instagram’s grid as effectively.
3. Create a Bookstagram aesthetic
I freely admit that this is where I have gone wrong in the past and it does make a difference. A Bookstagram aesthetic is where you use the same editing style on every post to achieve an overall mood and look on your feed. The easy way to do this is to use the same filter for every post. Now this might feel a little repetitive, but bookstagrammers LOVE to see consistency. Kate MacRitchie has a really atmospheric aesthetic which captures the folk mood of her posts incredibly well. She explains how she does it in this interview.
The other method for creating a Bookstagram aesthetic is to use the same background and props (this could be as simple as a blanket) for each photograph and edit so the tones match.
4. Instagram Feed Layout
If you are using an intense Bookstagram aesthetic then it might not be as crucial to plan your Instagram feed – simply because everything will match anyway. However, if you want to post a variety of photographs on Bookstagram then these techniques may improve the overall look of your feed.
Use an Instagram feed planner
There are a few apps that you can upload to your phone to test how photos appear in your feed before publishing them. Some limited packages are free but check each one out before you upload:
This is where there is a significant amount of empty space in your photography as in the photo above (the white wall behind provides the neutral space). Neutral space gives a sense of calm. It can also highlight indvidual objects.
Alternating dark and light photographs can add a pleasing subtle effect to an Instagram page.
Occasional text only posts can look stunning on a page and literary quotations are most often integrated on a Bookstagram feed. They have the same effect as neutral space – allowing the grid to breath and emphasing images.
5. Create Instagram stories highlights covers to match your tones
Stories highlights covers are the cherry on the cake when it comes to adding finishing touches to your feed. You can create these by installing the free Canva app and searching for Stories Highlights Templates. It’s then easy to change background colours, add text and illustrations.
If you want to match the colours of your stories highlights covers to your feed, then I recommend using a tool like Image Color Picker . Simply upload a photo which you think best represents the tones on your page and move the cursor to a specific colour. Take a copy of the hex code which will look something like this #b7e7d2. You can then copy this into Canva to achieve a match.
Once you are happy with your designs, upload these directly to your stories highlights covers by selecting the gallery option.
Of course your Bookstagram feed isn’t the be all and end all, but if you are tempted to try these ideas then let us know how it goes. You might also be interested in these posts: