Hey Gem, find helpful tips and hacks on setting up a book shoot set and taking book photos.
I found a spot in my room at Abuja for book shoots this weekend. I said I’ll show it to you and my other sets in Lagos. I decided to share advice and hacks I’ve learned from setting up book shoot sets for book photos and blogging.
Pick Your Theme and Colours
Three things, you’ll notice about my blog or bookstagram account are Orange, Vibrant Colors, Flowers-beside the books and food of course. Pick your theme in term of colours, background, positions of books. This is what makes a book blog distinct. It’s why we love pictures from our favourite book bloggers. Play with different things honestly. You can always change your theme or introduce new things to it. For example, I tilt my opened pages towards the right. I alternate between flatlays, book stacks, opened pages or pictures with only flowers.
My Feed as at January before some changes.
Popular Bookstagrammer, The Guy With The Books once advised to find the Golden Hour in your city. I can attest that natural light is the best to shoot with. For example, In Yola from 8-10am has perfect sunlight. 12-2pm gives extremely bright sunlight and I had to battle with shadows of props, window stills in the picture. Lagos is darker so mid mornings are my best time. In Abuja 9-10am and an hour before sun down works for my selfies and book photos.
HACK– Set up your set or flatlay where the vibrant rays of sunshine hit. In front, beside or opposite a window. Beware of harshness and shadows.
Select your Props
Some props are books, bookmarks, coffee, fairy lights, beddings, figurines, stationery, candles, plants, food, etc. Mine are flowers, balloons, fabrics, stationery and food. Your props can be themed with the pictured book’s lessons, title, etc.
Or something unique like figurines or balloons. It can be whatever you choose. Layer your props. Make sure their colours compliment or artistically contrast your theme.
HACK– Bring everything closer. A camera picks distance differently than the eyes.
Set up your backdrop or flatlay
Do you have your background ready? A draped fabric is a great background for book stacks if you don’t have a bookshelf. Wooden surfaces give a beautiful, unique pop to ones feed. I have infused them into my feed. White wrappping paper or cardboard or in other colours that fit your theme, make crisp back grounds for flatlays. A wall, flower shrub, the floor, a spread of open books are all valid backgrounds.
Rumpled Bedsheets give a romantic, informal ie. reading-in-bed feel. Bedsheets, scarves, books, white towel or a fur carpet are all gorgeous backgrounds or constant props.
A scarf is the background.
HACK– Be consistent with whatever surface you choose. You can pick more than one so you can switch up where you take pictures.
Mobile Photography and Editing.
My advice on camera will be for mobile photography. Check your phone setting for Pro, Focus, Zoom, etc and use them to snap. Play around! Snap with the dimension for the platform you’ll publish pictures on. Eg. Instagram crops pictures closer, so zoom won’t be a good feature for snapping its pictures.
Choose a filter that will add to the general theme of your pictures. Keep snapping and checking what you’ve shot before unpacking the set. I can be very critical so I usually assess, snap more then unpack. Take a break before selecting and edit. Delete pictures you dont need so you can have space. Back up those you select.
HACK– Tilt the base phone outward so bookstacks and their spines appear tall and vivid. For flatlays, tilt your phone so that all the objects appear very flat.
My book corner at my Mum’s house in Ikorodu, Lagos.
This is a creative literary blog. I feature reviews of online fiction, ebooks and share my own stories. I know the struggle to share beautiful images for ebooks or online fiction. My advice is that you get another phone. Not necessarily a new one, maybe for a friend or sibling or your old one.
Apply all the advice and hacks above also. I usually use pictures of flowers or my write pads as images for my stories. Many creative writing bloggers just download images from Unsplash or use animated avatars. Choose what is convenient and fits your theme.
HACK– Send a screenshot of the ebook cover to the other phone. Then use your phone to snap it.
Spontaneous Pictures are necessary. Add some outdoor pictures. If you visit spots in your city and you take your book along. Take and share pictures whether or not your book features in them.
Inside the High Court, F.C.T, Maitama where I’m doing my externship in Abuja
Search other feeds for Inspiration when I feel bored or stuck with how I take pictures, I explore through instagram or wordpress through Hashtags like #bookstagramnigeria, #books, #bookphotograhy, #bookblog #currentlyreading #read, #bibliophile etc. You can always recreate a look you like. Don’t feel discouraged that your pictures aren’t similar or have less likes. You’ll get there!
Don’t forget to post your pictures and have fun!
All images used in this post were photographed by Adaeze Feyisayo for Amethyst Saw (WordPress blog and Instagram). All rights are reserved. Reference when used.