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Bookstagram Photos


During the height of the pandemic in 2020, I turned to Bookstagram to stay connected with others while most of my free time was spent indoors reading. When the weather warmed up, I began taking books with me on walking trails around town and found plenty of spots to use as backgrounds for bookish photos.

It kind of turned into a game. If I saw flowers blooming at a certain corner of a trail, I’d think of what book cover would go with them and bring them with me the next day. It got me thinking about which book covers would stand out against a snowy background, which would pop against the trees at different times of the year, which would stand out against the leaves on the ground. 

This worked for a few reasons. For one, taking photos outside let me get photography practice without investing in something like a ring light during a time when everyone was struggling financially. Plus, most other Bookstagram creators were using their own bookshelves and bedrooms as their backdrops, so picking this route helped me stand out.

All of these photos were taken on my phone camera and edited with Adobe Photoshop in 2020-2021.

2021 – Present

As a paper shortage hit publishing and digital review copies replaced physical ones and I began buying audiobooks more often than hard covers, I had to improvise. Plenty of amazing Bookstagram creators chose carousel graphics for book recs, reviews, and other content, and I make my fair share of graphics as well, but I didn’t want to lose the fun of staging and editing photos.

So, I looked through the hard covers I own, found one that was solid white under the dust jacket and started using it to stage photos. This helps me visualize where to add the digital cover in editing and gives me real shadows around the digitally added features. Later, in Adobe Photoshop, I superimpose the digital covers using the perspective warp tool, using the brush tool on the spines and back covers where necessary, and adjusting the blending mode to let some of the model book’s texture show through and while maintaining the cover’s actual colors.

Unfortunately, I made a rookie mistake in 2022 and deactivated me Bookstagram at nearly 1,000 followers after leaving book blogging and planning to move onto other projects. I recreated my account recently and have place to be more active in 2024 with both bookish content and other digital art projects. Find me there at @aceofbens.