Behind the Scenes:
Bookstagram Set Up and Bookstagram Equipment
In my last Bookstagram post, I focused on teaching you all about getting started on Bookstagram. That includes picking your username, photo aesthetic, and using hashtags. Now, I want to give you all a behind-the-scenes look at my own Bookstagram set up and the Bookstagram equipment that I use for my pictures! Not sure what Bookstagram is, but feeling a little intrigued? Check out my post Bookstagram: The Low-Down.
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My Bookstagram Set Up
I love this shot because you can see everything that’s important in my photo-taking process all at once: my bookshelves with the crucial component (books!), my white table, lighting, and camera tripods, and my IKEA RASKOG cart full of flowers and greenery that I use as props!
I take photos in the extra bedroom in my apartment. It functions as an office space for both my fiance and I, as well as my creative space. My bookshelves line one wall of the room, so they don’t take up much space. And since we only really use this room’s closet for storage, it’s a great place for my to put all of my Bookstagram equipment in one corner!
Taking photos for Bookstagram is exhausting and often messy, so I love that I have mobility with this small IKEA table, tripods for my lighting and camera, and the IKEA RASKOG cart to store all of my props. This makes for really easy set-up and take-down.
I want to preface this by saying that you do not, by any means, need to use the exact same equipment I need for taking photos. Anyone with access to a camera (even on your phone!) can take photos for Bookstagram. There’s only two key ingredients: the camera, and the books. Because my Bookstagram account is an extension of this book blog, I wanted to make sure all of my images have a cohesive and high-quality look to them.
When available on Amazon, I will leave a link to the products below in case you are interested in purchasing any for yourself!
I use my fiance’s Canon EOS Rebel T5i that he actually purchased from a friend. The lens that I use the most is the EF-S 18-55mm which I think is pretty standard and easy to use! I also love that this camera has a grid feature. This makes it so easy for me to make sure my photos are turning out straight and well-proportioned!
The tripod I use for this camera was my mom’s, and it is the Dolica 62-Inch Proline Tripod and Ball Head. I really like this tripod because I can extend it far enough up from the table on which I take my photos.
However, I am interested in getting a different tripod. I do sometimes have issues with getting the legs of the tripods in my shots when I’m taking a flatlay photo.
One of my absolute favorite and recent purchases is a lighting kit for my photos. I used to rely solely on natural lighting, which definitely limited the times when I could take photos for Bookstagram. Especially because where I live, we only really get sun during the summer months! It’s usually gray and rainy here.
The kit that I purchased was a very reasonable price, and right off of Amazon! It is the ePhoto Photography Light Kit with Carrying Case. It comes with three tripods and lightbulbs, and two umbrellas for light-diffusion. I cannot tell you how happy I am with this lighting set! It has allowed me to take photos at all hours of the day and night, and in any season! Definitely a life-saver.
The one thing I will mention about this lighting kit was that it was incredibly confusing to set up. I thought that I was missing a couple of pieces simply because the packaging was weird. They ended up all being there, but I had a hard time setting the thing up.
For my most recent Instagram theme, I’ve really been into using just a plain white background for my photos. The photo below is an example of some of the photos on my Instagram page feed. You can see that the white background is sometimes accented with a white fur which I like using to add a little texture to my photos.
The background I use is actually an IKEA side table. It’s the LACK side table in white. They’re usually around $8 USD in the stores, but if you don’t have an IKEA store near you, definitely look into the one on Amazon. I love using this table because it’s the perfect height from the ground for my to place my tripod over it and take photos. Any taller and I wouldn’t be able to fit this tripod.
One thing I would change, however, is that the surface area of the table is a little bit small. It’s fine for the kind of flatlay photos that I normally take, but if I wanted to get a little more creative it would be difficult to compensate for the lack of space.
There are a couple of other background options that I like to use, though I often only use them to take photos for my blog and not as much for my Bookstagram account. Ones I’ve purchased and enjoyed are Marble-Patterned Adhesive Film for really pretty and classy flatlay photos, and this Whitewood-Patterned Adhesive Film, though the whitewood pattern doesn’t always show up great on camera. The white fur I use was from the fabric section at Joann’s, at a very reasonable price.
As I mentioned before, I use the IKEA RASKOG cart to store all of my floral and greenery props. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen the teal RASKOG cart in stores or online for a while now, which is such a bummer! But if you are interested in getting a similar cart, Amazon does have it in black.
As you can see, I have various bits and ends on each of the shelves of props. I generally like to put the ones I use most frequently (silk flowers that I removed from their stems) on the top shelf for easier access. On the third level, I put the flowers I use less frequently, as well as some foliage. And the bottom shelf is home to extra foliage and miscellaneous objects that I sometimes use in my photos.
I sometimes use real flowers and foliage that have dried out in my photos, but most of the flowers I use are silk ones purchased from Joann’s or Michael’s. Check out your local craft stores, and even at your Dollar Stores! I’ve seen some silk flowers in there, though I haven’t actually purchased any for myself.
I haven’t purchased any silk flowers off of Amazon, though I was recently browsing their selection and fell in love with these Luyue Vintage Artificial Peony Silk Flowers. They look so pretty and realistic, I’m very tempted to purchase them and try them out!
For a long time, I was really happy editing my photos with the VSCO app. But that was before I began using a camera, when I was taking photos on my iPhone instead. Now, I like to use Adobe Lightroom to edit all of my pictures.
My fiance has a subscription through Adobe which means we have access to the programs like Lightroom and Photoshop. Personally, I prefer Lightroom for simple photo editing. The setup was easy, and there was a short tutorial that showed me the basic functions.
After I edit my photos using Lightroom, I don’t add any extra filters through apps before posting them. I simply stick to editing my photos in generally the same way every time for that cohesive look.
I want to conclude by reiterating the fact that all of the equipment I just listed is totally unnecessary for participating in the Bookstagram community. There are hundreds of ways for you to take, style, and edit your photos. One of my favorite ways to find inspiration for photos is to simply search the #bookstagram hashtag on Instagram (or any related hashtags!). Tons of accounts will pop up, and you can scroll through them to find inspiration for your photos.
Let’s talk about it
Do you have a Bookstagram account? Leave your username in the comments so we can check each other out! Also leave a little description with your aesthetic style and your favorite book if ya want. I would love to know what your Bookstagram setup looks like, and what equipment you use, so please leave a comment below!