A while ago I wrote a piece on how I take my bookish photos and asked you guys if you’d like to see more bookish photography on the blog. Victoria from Prose & Visions was interested in how I style my photos, and since it’s one of my favourite things to do, why not share some tips and tricks?! I’m not a professional in any way, I’m just really passionate about photography and styling and I love to share that passion!
Where to begin?
First of all, you need books. Obviously, duh! A nice background, and props. But what might those props be? Well… Pretty much anything! I’m a huge fan of fake flowers, and I’ve been using them as decoration in my room for years. That’s how I started styling my photos. Later I got inspiration from Bookstagram and started using candles and other fun little things like jewellery, makeup, pillows and even scarves! It didn’t cost me a thing! Everything I used in my photos was stuff I had already laying around somewhere. Once you have your books, your background (which can be anything from the floor to a table to your bed…) and your props, it’s literally just one big experiment. What works? What doesn’t? What colours can I use? Should I try another camera angle?
This is all the stuff I could gather from my room that I use in bookish photos! Most of it was stuff I already owned, but there are things in there that I bought specifically for bookish photos! And even with all these things, I still manage to improvise and use more stuff!
Backdrops & Purchased Props
The more bookish photos I took, the more “experienced” I got. At one point you just grow bored of your “usual” props and backgrounds and need something new. That’s when I decided photography was a worthy investment. I got myself an MDF board and got it sewed in two square parts of which I can use both sides. Then I got marble contact paper from Ebay and stuck it on one side of one of the boards. Basically I now I have 2 different backdrops for about €15 and another board that I still need contact paper for. I’m thinking of something like a wood texture! Backdrops are totally optional, but I’m convinced the right backdrop makes photos look that much better.
My props are always super cheap. There’s this European (or just Benelux?) store called Action at which you can get all kinds of things like art supplies, fake flowers, photo frames, home decoration… You name it! It’s all super cheap and they usually only sell it until it sells out. Whenever I go there I usually end up taking some things like flowers home! Of course, you could go to any store that sells that sort of stuff, but it doesn’t need to be expensive! I don’t usually go out looking for a certain thing, I just “bump” into them while I’m shopping!
Books & Colours
I like to match my props with my books, but sometimes this is more difficult than others! Bright coloured books is something I sometimes struggle with. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell, for example, is pretty bright, and I don’t have nice colourful flowers or stuff like that. So in the end, I ended up getting some random, bright coloured pens. Green is also kind of a difficult colour for me, but I usually find some nice things! Basically, I just try to match colours. Also, I like to use props that mean something to the book! It’s not always possible, but I do try! Some examples: I used the Harry Potter chess board for the Philosopher’s Stone, the Time-Turner for Prisoner of Azkaban and sea shells in a bookish picture for “Beach Reads.” The fun thing about styling is that it’s completely up to you. You have to find your own style. I like my things neat and organised, but there are some really great bloggers/Bookstagrammers out there who have the messiest style ever and still manage to make it look good!
I used to take quick Bookstagram or blog photos. I’d just get the book, some props and take a few shots. Then I’d clean it all up and do it all over again another day. Then I realised bigger photo shoots were much more fun and efficient, and my photos turned out so much better! I literally just go all out. My bookshelf is a mess, my room is even worse. I move things around to get props that are stored in drawers beneath my bed, I dig out small things from the bottom of boxes…. It’s literally the craziest thing, but it’s so much fun and the photos are seriously so much better looking than a “quick photo” because it’s easier to style with lots of props laying around. I feel as if, when you take only one photo at a time, you can’t really experiment. When I go all out on “photo day” I try to take the same photo with different items, I move thing around, grab a different candle… Styling gets easier that way!
Tips & Tricks
– Save a bunch of photos and take them all at once.
– Props don’t have to be expensive. You can use pretty much everything laying around in your house.
– Having a certain style really works miracles for aesthetic on Instagram.
– Experiment! Don’t just copy others, but try to find your own style. This also goes for using props. Have things thing laying around that you think would be weird in a photo? Try it anyway!
I hope this post was useful! Let me know if you like me to do more photography posts! What’s your favourite way to style a bookish photo?