My (Super Easy) Guide To How I Edit My Bookstagram Photos

There is nothing more satisfying than looking at your Instagram feed and seeing a cohesive group of pictures that blend so well together that the overall effect is like you’re looking at one picture. It’s similar to one of those artistic photos that, when you look close enough, are actually made up of hundreds of different smaller photos.

So I know you probably haven’t been wondering, but if you have and would like to know, below you will find a (super easy) guide to how I take and edit my Instagram photos as of late! Keeping in mind that my feed has changed a lot since I first started Instagram, but I do feel like I have finally found a theme that suits me!

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Equipment & Editing Apps

Lets start with the easy stuff! What I use to take my photos. I don’t use anything special! No big bulky camera, not lighting set up. I just use my iPhone XS and I make sure I take all my photos right next to a big, open window, with lots of natural light streaming in! I always try to shoot when the lighting is the same, otherwise I end up having to tweak my photos more to keep their uniformity.

Once all my props are set up, which can take anywhere from about 5 minutes to an hour, depending on how creative I feel that day, I generally take about 10 photos before I get the one I’m most happy with. This can vary though, again, depending on how creative I feel and If I’m happy with my initial set up! I have also made sure to get really familiar with my Iphone’s camera settings so I know how to adjust the exposure and focus while shooting. I’ll usually shoot with ‘portrait’ mode when I’m not doing a flat lay because it gives the photos a really nice, almost professional, quality.

After sorting through the photos I’ve taken, I choose my favourites to edit. I start by using the in phone editing options to crop or realign a photo. After this I drop it into:

Colourtone

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Price: Free (with optional in app purchases)

Colourtone is my all time favourite editing app. I don’t want to bother with creating my own filters or paying big bucks for a subscription to an app I may not even use! I am much happier using presets! And boy, does this app have some beautiful preset filters!  The app itself is free and a select few of the filters are free also! However, the filter I use, I purchased in a pack for no more than, I believe, about $2.99 Australian.

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After I’ve thrown on the filter I like to use, I then move on to checking where it will fit in best on my feed by using:

UNUM

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Price: Free (with optional in app purchases)

UNUM allows you to plan out your entire feed, and the best part about it, is that it’s FREE! Well, you can purchase an upgrade, but I’ve never found I needed it. I import all the photos I have edited into UNUM and start moving them around to see what photos I want to upload to Instagram and in what order I’d like to upload them. This is a much easier way of creating an overall aesthetic, rather than uploading to Instagram and then finding out later that the photo doesn’t really fit with the rest of your feed! Or worse, uploading, then taking it down, then uploading, then taking it down… You get the picture! It’s annoying for both you and your followers!

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Once I’ve decided what order I want to post my content I move onto Instagram! In Instagram, I usually only ever use the sharpening tool to really make the foreground pop! Other than that, I don’t make use of any of the other editing tools or filters within Instagram.

At the end of the day, your content should reflect your personality. Create content that you love and are proud of, but don’t be afraid to try something new! Happy Bookstagramming everyone!

Bookish Gift Guide For Readers

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Ringing in the new year means a whole host of birthdays once again coming our way. I have often found it hard to find the perfect gift for certain loved ones in my life, but when it comes to bookworms, I’ve got you covered! So if you have a book lover in your life, why not try to find them something they will really love! Below are just a few ideas of gifts that every bookworm will be ecstatic to receive!

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Bookmarks

Save your book lover from using a receipt, business card or tissue as a bookmark! There are plenty of beautiful bookmark companies out there! Ink and Wonder is just one of these many companies, but it is easily my favourite! They have created what they call a “woodmark” which is made of very thin, ethically sourced wood. They have a whole range of beautifully vibrant and incredibly designed products, not just bookmarks, including tote bags, enamel pins and stickers!

Game of Thrones Woodmark from Ink & Wonder

Book Sleeves 

Chances are your bookworm carries a book with them everywhere they go. This often means throwing said book into their bag or even onto the back seat of their car! Book sleeves keep their books safe when they are on the move! A quick google search will have you covered in this category! There are plenty of beautifully handmade book sleeves on Etsy! A couple of wonderful book sleeve companies  I enjoy are Bookbeau and Thumbelara!

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Bohemian Book Sleeve from Thumbelara

Bookish Candles

I know what you’re probably thinking! “Candles? Really? That’s what I buy my mother when I don’t know what else to get her!” But these candles are different! They are themed! Themes usually range from different books/series to things bibliophiles love (like bookstores, cafes or the great hall from Harry Potter)

If your book lover is also an avid instagrammer (or bookstagrammer) candles also make fantastic props! A few of my favourite candle companies include Flick the Wick, Spark and Sparrow, In The Wick Of Time and Alchemy and Ink!

The Raven Cycle Candle from In The Wick of Time (Owlcrate exclusive)

A Book Subscription Box

A book subscription box is a monthly subscription, delivered to your door, full of amazing bookish content, including a book! This is on the pricier side, especially if you choose to subscribe for longer periods of time! However, one off purchases are available and it’s essentially a “lucky dip” for book nerds! Owlcrate, Fairyloot and The YA Chronicles are just a few of these fun boxes!

A Coffee/Tea Mug

Give me the name of one book lover who doesn’t enjoy a cup of coffee or tea while they are reading?! I’ll wait!

Seriously though, you can’t go wrong here! Especially if you find out if they have a particular book or series they absolutely adore and you find a mug that coincides with that book! I received the below Harry Potter themed mug in an Owlcrate subscription box and have been in love with it ever since!

Harry Potter Mug (Owlcrate exclusive)

A Reading Journal

a reading journal is a fun way for bookworms to track and plan out their reading for the week, month or even year! There are a lot of beautifully designed journals and a quick google search will have you on your way! A journal is a far more intimate and personal way for your book lover to track their reads as opposed to sites like Goodreads.com (which I also love)!

So there you have it! If you have a book lover in your life and you have no idea what book to buy them next, why not skip buying them a book or voucher all together and get them some fun bookish merch!

How To Gain Followers On Bookstagram

I am sorta new to Bookstagram. If only because most of the time I have had a Bookstagram I was also pregnant with my daughter and had a heck of a lot to think about, which means instagram went by the wayside for a little while. But! If you are completely new to Bookstagram (hi, lets be friends!) Bookstagram is an Instagram account dedicated to, you guessed it, books! My account grew from 0 followers to 600+ within the first month I started. I am in no way an expert and there are accounts with tens of thousands of people following them that probably know a lot more than I do. Below are just a few tips I picked up along the way. Had I been more consistent in my first year I would probably have had more growth than I do now. However, below I will discuss my first few months on Bookstagram and things I learned when I got started.

Choose A Theme By Letting It Come Naturally

When I started my Bookstagram or even my personal account (years ago) I never really decided on a set theme which made it hard for me to dive right in and decide what I wanted my Bookstagram to look like. However, I encourage you to take a look at your personal account, if you have one. What colours do you favour? Do you use a particular filter to make all your photos look similar? I went into Bookstagram with an aim of creating photos I enjoyed the look of. For me that means a lot of neutral tones, natural light and a little bit of what feels like ‘home’ when I look at them! For others, it can mean the total opposite. But I encourage you to let your theme develop naturally. You don’t want to be half way through posting and realise you aren’t enjoying your content at all because it isn’t really “you” in any way! Your style may slowly change over time, but as long as you are focusing on what you like and not trying to determine what other people want you to create, you’ll do just fine!

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Your theme will change and develop over time. (@readingsumpton)

Interact With Fellow Bookstagrammers

This one’s easy and in my opinion, the most important! Talk! Comment, message, like people’s content, but above all, be sincere. Don’t just comment “great pic :)” on every picture you see. Be engaging! This platform is as much for making friends as it is for getting your content out there and seen! I know I have made some wonderful friends on Bookstagram and you can too!

Don’t Ask For Shoutouts, But DO Ask For Advice

Don’t go to big accounts asking for a shoutout, they won’t like it. These people have worked damn hard to get that many followers. But if you have a question for them, whether it be “How did you manage to expand your follower base? Do you have any tips for someone starting out?” or “I love your photos, just wondering if you could let me know what camera you use?” most people won’t mind this at all and it builds relationships with more successful bookstagrammers! I have been lucky enough to have some of my more successful friends give me shoutouts and its honestly, the most wonderful thing in the world when it comes naturally and they are not feeling forced into it!

Camera Or Iphone, It Doesn’t Matter

I know a lot of people use DSLR’s to capture their Bookstagram content. You want to know what I use? Well it’s your lucky day because Imma tell you! I use an iPhone 7 Plus. Yep, I use an iPhone! I have even had people ask me what camera I use for my photographs before! So don’t be hesitant to start your gram purely because you feel your camera isn’t good enough! I would however, get accustomed to using the iPhone camera settings! Make sure you learn how to control the exposure and focus of your iPhone camera (its as easy as a tap on the screen, but get friendly with it and learn how to capture the best photo you possibly can)! I started my Bookstagram with the intent of it being fun and easy, this meant, pointing and shooting with my iPhone!

Make Good Use Of Hashtags

If you look at any number of accounts with a higher follower count, you will notice that nearly all of them use hashtags to ensure their content has a wider reach. Below are just a few of the tags I have seen and used! By using hashtags you are expanding the amount of people who can see your content from just the people who follow you, to people who browse and follow certain hashtags!

#bookstagram, #bookstagrammer, #bookish, #igreads, #yareads, #reader, #bibliophile, #booklover, #booktography, #instabooks

You can find the more popular hashtags by checking out the accounts of Bookstagrammers you follow and seeing what they are tagging their pictures with. This really helps expand your reach.

Host A Giveaway (Optional & Not Necessary)

When I got to 500 follows, I decided to host a giveaway! This is totally optional, but it is a huge part of why my follower base climbed from 500 – 800 in about 2 weeks! I will organise another post on how to run a giveaway later, but if you plan to do one, I encourage you to research as much information as you can before you decide to open a giveaway! Look into other peoples giveaways and check out some bookish blog posts about it. It can be tricky to strike a balance as you don’t want people outside the Bookstagram community entering, only to unfollow you when the giveaway is over! So as I said, I highly recommend doing your research before you host a giveaway!

Most Importantly, Just Have Fun

So those are my tips for anyone looking to join the Bookstagram community! My follower count is still steadily growing, but above all I am having fun. Bookstragam should be a way to get to know more people who enjoy the same things as you. Don’t obsess over the number of followers you gain or lose. Just focus on creating content you are proud of and make some friends! If you are interested in following my account, I am @readingsumpton.

See ya round friends!