5 tips on how to set a (new) bookstagram theme

A few weeks ago I was looking at my bookstagram feed and I wasn’t really happy with how it looked. It needed to be freshend up. So I started thinking about how to succesfully create an Instagram theme. In this post I’ll give you six tips on how to create a theme and I’ll show you how I pretty much failed at them and why.

Here you can see how my bookstagram evolved over time in course of three periods I personally consider to be my best.

The first photo shows how my feed looked at the very beggining. It was much more simple than later on and photos weren’t particulary interesting but the colors matched. In my oppinion it had a good balance and iner logic, so for a start it was pretty ok.

On the second photo my style evolved a bit but not consciously, greens and whites are still prevailing, it has a darker tone and more flatlays but the same inner logic and style, I liked it a lot.

I would say that the third style is most elaborate of all, photos are more complex, I changed the background to lift it up, the greens are more vibrante again mostly because Shades of Magic series, reds slowly came into my feed.

Photo of Staring_at_words bookstagram with 15 pictures

Soo if we agree that things went solid until now what happened on the next photo?

This is the state of my feed a few weeks ago. I think we can all say it’s a mess.


It all started around Christmas when I, of course, wanted a Christmas feel, took whatever red items came to my hand, combined with bad weather and lightning that unabled me to shoot many photos and everything spiraled out of hand.

Let’s go and see how to start an Instagram theme from scratch.

When creating an instagram theme you’ll need an inspiration and a plan.

1. Find an inspiration

The first thing you should do weather you are starting a completely new account or you want a fresh start for an existing one is to look for an inspiration.
Go around Instagram, Pintrest, Google or even a paper magasine and save photos you like. Pay attention to details. In one photo you may like the color sheme and on the other layaout or a particular detail. Saving inspirational photos is not the same as recreating them. By looking through many different styles you’ll eventually find a patern of the things you like. But seeing the photo you like is far from creating one, so keep in mind that your photos will never look same as someone else’s neither they should.

Here you can see a few photos I liked and saved as an isnpiration for my own bookstagram. You can tell I used some of my own photos. I believe it is perfectly fine, indeed preferable, to be inspired by your own pieces you liked, as they already depicte your style.

2. Look around you

Now that you are insipired to take some amazing photos you should start looking for the things/ props you have around you. It’s easy to be get tempted and go shopping for all kinds of fancy props and merchandises or to and up disappointed because you don’t have them, but before you spend all your money stop, look around, and get creative. We all have things in our home that are quite photogenic if used creativly. It can be anything from a cup of coffe, old coridor rug or parfume bottle. Look for things that are similar in color to one another and to your desirable theme. But make sure you also have color contrast. Idealy, I think you should start with no more than three colors and than see how it goes. You can also be crative and use art supplies to create your own prop, paint over your white photo frame, or if you are painting your nails use nail polish of a desirable hue to add a pop of color to your photo.

For example, I started with green, white and yellow. I have green and yellow walls in my room and a white table, choosing these colors I could easily mentain consistent colors on my feed, also I use many plants which I have around the house and in my backyard.

If you really want to buy something for your feed go for items you can use over and over again, even if you decide to change your theme.

3. Practice your photography and editing skills

Sometimes even the best setup can produce boring or bad looking pohotos, while the plain and simple photo can look grate thanks to your editing skills. There is any number of reasons a photo can fail. Bad lightning, wrong angle or simply a bad day. One day you carelessly move objects around the table and every photo looks awsome while the other you can’t arange flowers even if your life depends on it. It’s ok, it’s normal. My spirits tend to really get down when my photo session fails but it mostly happens when I’m tired or rushing things.

When you wan’t to take great photos take your time, be calm, think about setting, props and lightning before shooting. I like to work outside, on a cloudy day when light is evenly spred, or in the shadow for the same reason. There’s been many times I didn’t have anything to post because weather was bad, I haven’t taken any new pictures and conditions insight weren’t to my liking. The best way to beat that is to take photos in a bunch and not to wait last minute for that, always save some for the emergecie moments. You can also use quotes, or colages of your photos when you don’t have new ones.

Don’t forget to get to know your edditing tooles. There are many free options out there. I prefer combining mobile versons of Photoshop and Lightroom but you can experiment. Some prefere to use filters to ensure maching of colors in every photo, you can do that or create your own “filter” by saving preset and than twerk it up acording to each photo. I don’t use neither a filter nor a preset but I have a standart number of edits I usually do.

Most of the time edits I make rather small but they add up that extra something. Here you can see one of my before and afters.

Crescent City book illustration with plants

4. Use different angles and perspectives

To keep your Instagram dynamic and interesting try using different perspectives and angles of your photos. You don’t have to make every picture different as that can make it to messy. Stick to let’s say three or four different styles and mix them on your feed. This advice is certenly something I struggle with quite a bit as my photos are mostly flatlay. I hope I’ll change that soon.

5. Play around, experiment and don’t be afraid to start again

Always remeber that your Instagram feed will evolve and change, sometimes for better and sometimes for worse. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different styles. Leave your old photos on, you might be tempted to delete older posts when you want to change your style but don’t do that, there is alway value in your previous work. You don’t need to have a fully developed theme to have a succesfull bookstagram accout. Depends on the niche of course but the value of the post is not only in the pretty picture although it helps.

How I failed

Ok so, in this article I showed you how my feed looked over the time and in what state it was a few days ago. I wanted to creat a new theme that will be more vivd and coherent. I wanted to keep green as a main color as it is my defining color from the begining and I like it, but I wanted to add something. My choice was pink, I always like pink and green combo, as flowers. I don’t have many pink items around so, as I paint in my free time, I had an idea to paint myself a colorfull beckground using acrylic pouring techinque. The only problem was I never did it before. Here is the preview of my new bookstagram photos.

Staring_at_words feed with 9 photos

Am I really happy with it? No not really. There is nothing terribly wrong with it, it’s just not what I wanted. The main problem is the background. It is to bussy and loud. You can barley see the books. And there is not enough green in my oppinion.

For a few days I debated should I write this article or wait until I’ve created a theme I’m happy with for my own bookstagram.

I made one cardinal mistake – I was hasty, to eager to make new photos, so when my background did not end up as I planed I still wanted to try it and than I took photos outside on a cold day and I wanted to be done as soon as possible.

What next? I’ll try to use these photos in combination with some others, throw in some green and white photos, maybe some quotes, and in a meanwhile work on new, better ones implementing what I learned in procces.

Summary

Instagram is primarily a visual platform, so if you want to have a succesfull accound, bookstagram or other, polished theme or distinctive style helps a lot, as it’s the first thing potential folowers see. My five tips to accomplishe that are:

  1. Find an inspiration
  2. Look around you
  3. Practice your photography and editing skills
  4. Use different angles and perspectives
  5. Play around, experiment and don’t be afraid to start again

Lovely ladies whose photos I use as inspiration are:

When creating an instagram theme you’ll need an inspiration and a plan.

6 comments

Comments are closed.