If you hang out in online bookish places, you’ll know what amazing pictures are being made and shared online. Instagram and Tumblr are filled with photos of books and bookish things that will make you drool with pleasure and squirm in anguish, because there’s no possible way of you making anything nearly as beautiful. You won’t have to despair much longer though, because this is our ultimate guide as to make your own pictures drool-worthy as well.

Get a pet
I fully believe that getting a cute pet that photographs well will make you internet famous. Pets and books combine two of the internet’s most enjoyable pass times and I honestly can’t think of anything better than looking at pictures of both of these things. We’d recommend getting a young pet, because no one can resist baby animals, but do keep in mind that they might be a little more difficult to handle when it comes to standing still long enough to photograph. Also, realize that the type of pet you’ll choose will say a lot about your proficiency in taking pictures. Cats and dogs are cute, but very mundane. Lizards, ferrets and birds are already more exotic, but then you will have to compete with some of the booklr greats. However, I’d love to see more big animals combined with books. Give me some small ponies languidly chewing on some flowers with a stack of books next to them. Or what about baby sheep, everyone loves baby sheep!

Pictures via Listen to the Stories & The Book Ferret

It’s all about that color scheme
Pick a color and go with it. Is your cover purple, then collect all things purple in your vicinity and stash them around the book you’ve chosen to photograph. If you want to play it safe, then pick objects that have the same shade as the cover, but the trick that the more advanced booklrs and bookstagrammers know is using a gradient. Use every shade of purple imaginable, coordinate them from light to dark (or reverse if you’re ready to live on the wild side) and start snapping.

Pictures via beautiful-bibliophile & Paper Fury

Get accessories that show off your aesthetic
This isn’t about getting the color scheme right, although accessories can definitely add a nice dash of color to your pictures. The accessories you should pick, should say something about who you are and what the book means to you. Great things to add are candles, pens, notebooks, hot beverages, old photo cameras and make up, but try to have fun with it as well. If you’re reading a mystery then dig up a spy glass. A romance novel? Anything made out of lace will do. Does the book contain a character that can breath/control/conjure up fire, then set a fire and see the new followers racing in. Don’t use glitter though, people will lose their shit over that.

Pictures via Lost in Wildernerds & A Holiday Girl
Pictures via Lost in Wildernerds & A Holiday Girl

You can use anything as a background
This should be your motto. Most of us live in pretty drab places and that means we don’t have a lovely hardwood floor or great wallpaper to use as a beautiful background. But a real artist can do without, because true artistry is making do with what you have. Use clothing, blankets, bare skin and your book closets to give those images the right atmosphere. But make sure you crop the pictures, so no one will be the wiser!

Pictures via The Rustic Window & Read the Bloody Book
Pictures via The Rustic Window & Read the Bloody Book

Socks, tights and legs: the holy trinity
Taking pictures of your books is not about showing off your face – although you can if you look cute and preferably have brightly colored hair – but it is all about those legs. Put on your comfiest socks or tights, show a bit of skin and snap the dreamiest, sensualist picture you can imagine. Feel free to experiment with color (see color scheme mentioned above) and textures. The woollier, the better. Combine with accessories and cozy pets for extreme cuteness.

Pictures via A Bookish Love Affair & Books and Stardust

Go outside
I know you don’t want to hear this, but sometimes going outside has a purpose. We can all take pretty pictures inside the home, but those self-made backdrops are nothing compared to what nature can give us. Find the nearest forest, mountain, creek or just a stash of leaves and drop your book right in there for ultimate prettiness. If you’re scared of making your book dirty with outside germs, the holding-your-arm-in-the-frame-picture is a very popular alternative you can try. And if you reaaaallllly don’t want to go out, just add some plants, flowers and other foliage to your inside-picture. It can have a nice effect as well.

Pictures via Papercut Pages & Bookstore Babe
Pictures via Papercut Pages & Bookstore Babe

Whoever told you that you can only photograph one book at a time is so wrong. Bookstacking is a true and tried activity of all the booklrs and grammars I know. You can take a look at the color-scheming again and pick books that fit one shade or rainbow the hell out of it. Besides those options, it’s always a great idea to show off entire series – especially if you have all hardcover or paperback editions – or a collection of classic novels published in the same series.

Pictures via Ursula Uriarte & Lisa's Lost in Lit
Pictures via Ursula Uriarte & Lisa’s Lost in Lit

Well there you have it! These are some of our pro-tips, taken from the online professionals. If you have some of your own, feel free to leave them in the comments! And if you want proof of our know how and see some of our tips in action, you can find us on instagram and Tumblr. But if you want actual good pictures, follow any of the mentioned blogs above or just follow Bookstagramfeatures and feast your eyes on all the goodness.


Esmée de Heer is head honcho over at the Bored to Death book club website, writing the daily content and making sure the site stays up and running. She's one of the founding sisters of the book club and enjoys reading and giving unsolicited love advice.


  1. inkpaperblott

    Woah. That’s a joke right? Telling people to get a pet purely for pictures is insane. A pet is a huge commitment. I just… can’t even continue I’m that shocked to read that.

    • mm
      Bored to Death book club

      It is definitely meant as a joke. Please don’t get a pet for a pretty picture, that would be crazy.