Believe it or not, my crappy empty simple bookish photos on Instagram actually take a shit load of time to take, edit and post. The OCD in me won’t give up until each photo looks perfectly clean and easy to look at.

So today, I’ve decided to share my bookish photography process! It’s all really simple and tedious at the same time.


I only use two things to take my bookish photos: my cousin’s Canon Powershot SX50 HS when I’m feeling it, or my iPhone 4 when I’m lazy. I occasionally use a selfie stick for angling, but most of the time I’m just standing up on a chair. Short girl problems.



I used Georgie’s amazing blog post, “Drawing with Light,” as a basis for my bookstagram “studio.” It’s basically just made up of two illustration boards–two 1/2-sized for the base and background, and one 1/4-sized to bounce off the light.

P.S. Don’t judge my house.


The process of taking the photos themselves is fairly easy, but if you’re a perfectionist, cleaning up can take A LOT of time. Basically, it all just goes down like this:

/unedited vs edited/

  1. Set-up the studio next to a natural source of light.
  2. Pick books to photograph and position them nicely. (Optional: add props.)
  3. Take the photo lots of times, all in different angles. Pick one.
  4. Upload the chosen ones to my laptop to edit with GIMP. <– This is where I adjust brightness, desaturate the background if I need to, crop, and add my watermark (a simple @aimeereads using the font DK Lemon Yellow Sun, in case you’re curious). Maybe I should do a more detailed tutorial for this in the future?
  5. Send the edited photos to my phone, and add a filter using VSCOcam. Right now, I’m using the F2 filter!
  6. Upload the final photos on Instagram!

Other Instagram photos of mine:


Did you enjoy this little “studio” tour? Thoughts? Are you following me on Instagram @aimeereads? ;) How do you take your bookstagram photos? What’s your bookstagram account? TELL ME EVERYTHING.

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About Aimee

Aimee loves being a little bookworm (okay–she doesn’t like being little). She also loves chocolates and sweets but is freaked out by the thought of possibly getting diabetes.

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39 thoughts on “How to Rock Instagram: My Book Photography Process

  1. FINALLY! I was waiting for this Aimee haha! Thank you for sharing your tips. I’d usually just take a picture, adjust the sharpness, brightness and add filter. All through VSCO after that I’m done. I need to up my bookstagram game! :p


  2. OMG STOP, your pictures are AMAZING Aimee and I am SO FREAKING excited that you decided to share your pro secrets that I’ve already bookmarked this post to come back to once I get the necessary equipment. I might just to my rainbow book posts all over again once I follow your steps XD Also: your house is awesome, who the hell would judge it?! *glares* Anyway, thank you so much for sharing lady ♥♥♥


  3. Oh I have been so excited for this post since you mentioned it on your weekend post. I always wondered how people got that all white background. I wondered if their houses have incredibly clean areas. Mine does not. This makes so much more sense!!! Your pictures are amazing!


  4. Amazing how you bookstagrammers do all this stuff. Like wowzers! I tried making my pics look fab & all but it turned out I don’t have patience (or the talent) to do it, haha. I just snap, add filter then upload. I know I’m a very lazy gal. *sobs*


  5. Gah this is such a timely post – was just thinking about how I want to take gorgeous pics of my book mail but don’t know how, especially with my crappy iPhone! Must dig out my Canon and start practising again. Totally bookmarking this!


  6. I love this photo look :) So simple and clean. Like others up there I use my (ultra-crappy) phone camera, which actually does okay once you edit the photos on Picmonkey. I may have to build one of these “studios” one day ;)


  7. YESSS. I ENJOYED IT. I’ve tried doing the entirely-white-thing for AGES and never get it quite white. It always looks grey or blue?? (weird.) But I think I need the one at the side to bounce the light off. I’M GONNA TRY THAT. I do mine near my window so lots of natural light. *nods*
    And your bookstagram is so amazing. I am just saying. ;)


  8. Love your post, Aimee! For my background: white blanket or black table or white wall. It depends. As for the filters (VSCO), it depends on the lighting. Sometimes I go for HB1/HB2, A5, or X1 (B&W).


  9. This is so cool, Aimee! Such a pro! I’ve always wondered how you do that white background on IG so thanks for posting this. :)

    p.s. I missed reading your blog. Sorry, I haven’t dropped by in a long time.


  10. Oooh I LOVE this! And thank you!! I seriously have not understood how people get their pictures so white and clean- and now I know!! I didn’t realize I’d need s much stuff- what I really need is a table, because I have no good surface. And, I have found that no matter what I do, outdoor pictures are always about 10 thousand times better. Which is fabulous, because winter is coming up hahha. Anyway, thanks so much for this, especially because you always have the loveliest pictures!


  11. I love your pics! Photography and editing is one thing I wish I could do, haha. You’re very talented! :D Anyway, thanks for this post! You make everything sound easier, and I seriously thought you used more than the equipment you showed us there. I’ll get back to this post when I in fact start doing bookstagram… if I do it at all, haha.


  12. YESSS Your secrets will now lead me to Instagram success. I had no idea people just used A4 sheets of white papers. I thought you all had perfect homes with pristine clean white surfaces XD I need to visit a stationery store tomorrow, clearly.


  13. I can tell that this takes a long time and dedication, it’s probably why my pictures suck! Thanks for the tips, I might try some of these :)


  14. Love this & your account, Aimee. It gives me inspiration. I would love another post of more of the editing process especially since I’m new to using GIMP I would love to learn how to work it :D

    I do have an IG account & it’s @divingunderthecover :)


  15. I kind of want to start a Bookstagram, but I like my random pictures that I just post on my personal Instagram account.

    But thanks for sharing this. It’s always cool to see just how someone makes their stuff so perfect. :)


  16. I love your instagram posts so being able to see how you take them is awesome! Really found the lighting post (and the blog!) super helpful and I am excited to possibly use that technique. I have considered using a self stick to take photos and I really think that would be great fr library books, especially with the stupid glare on it. Thanks for sharing! :)



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