How I Take My Blog/Instagram Photos + Edit + Props


I am back from my unannounced/unplanned hiatus, with a post about photography. Yay.

How I Take Photos

I take my photos on my iphone 5c, because my camera is absolutely ancient and my phone takes better pictures. If I can, though, I use my Mom’s iphone 6, because that phone’s camera is insanely good. Like, better than some actual cameras. But, y’know, since it’s Mom’s phone and not mine, and mine has a pretty decent camera anyways, I stick to the 5c.


I use this thing when I take pictures that have me in it. I don’t know what it’s called, but you can buy them for the dashboard of your car, and they’re cheaper than tripods. They’re basically a giant suction cup with a phone holder.

You can take pictures with your phone held either sideways or upright, and…that’s about it. You can adjust the angle slightly, but not as much as you could with GorillaPod.

The GorillaPod is my brother’s, but I still use it when I need to get a specific angle. I bought an attachment that can hold an iphone, so that combined with the cost of the tripod is more expensive, and, honestly? It’s not really necessary.


For pretty much all other photos, I have two posterboards; one black, one white. I bought them for about 75cents at Target. You’ll have to buy new ones every couple of weeks, though, because even if you’re extremely careful, they’ll get wrinkled or ripped. Or your dog will decide they look like a delicious snack (he also eats money, library books, comics, and toilet paper).


I shoot everything in square, because it’s the best for instagram. I also turned on my grid, because it’s super helpful making sure everything stays centered.

How I Edit My Photos


This is an unedited, messily taken photo I shot quickly on my phone.


I use the PicMonkey app to edit my photos on my phone. It’s free, it’s easy to use, and…that’s why I use it. There’s also the free PicMonkey website, which works basically the same way, with more functions.

When you open the app, you simply select the photo you want to edit. It’ll pop up in the editing screen. Hit adjust.

The editing works on a sliding scale. The one problem with the app is sometimes the editing is a bit slow, and you’ll have to exit out and then start again, but it’s also pretty new, so I’m sure they’ll fix it soon.

When you’re done editing, hit the checkmark in the top right corner, then hit save. Save to camera roll…and you’re done.

Finished photo, and photo on instagram.

 (If you want to follow me on instagram, it’s my personal account, but I’ll still post tons of book photos. Also, photos of food and my pets).

Props For Photos

Props in bookstagram photos can really tie it together, and sometimes you have no idea what do use. So, ta da! A list!


Mugs, teacups, plates, measuring cups, mixing spoons, spatulas, whisks,

saucers, fridge magnets, utensils, bowls, cups,


Shoes, mittens, gloves, winter hats, socks, sunglasses,


Sunglasses, bracelets, earrings, scarves, watches, rings, necklaces, purses,

clutches, makeup bags, phonecases, backpacks, totebags, hairclips, umbrellas,

Beauty Products

Lipstick, chapstick, lipgloss, hairbrushes, mascara, eyeshadow,


Pens, pencils, notebooks, scrapbooking paper, ink pads, stamps, greeting cards,

envelopes, planners, sticky notes, notepads, giftwrap, washi tape, paperclips, staplers,

tape, rulers, Sharpies, colored pencils, paint, paintbrushes


Energy bars, crackers, cookies, teabags, chocolate bars, popsicles, ice cream bars,

fruit, gum, candy, muffins, cupcakes, soda, toast, peanut butter, yogurt,


Phones, earbuds, headphones, game controllers, cameras, MP3s, phone chargers


Stuffed animals, picture books, balls, plastic animals, action figures, legos,


Comic books, polaroid photos, lace, napkins, beads, feathers, stones, flowers,


Happy Friday,




17 thoughts on “How I Take My Blog/Instagram Photos + Edit + Props

  1. Two things:

    1. I don’t mean to sound old and cranky, or disrespectful, but I kind of don’t get the props with books thing. Is it just to add visual interest? Highlight themes? Play with colors? I’ve been wondering this for awhile now.

    2. This is a SUPER CLEAR AND HELPFUL tutorial. Like, even I could follow and understand it. Please continue to share things like this!


    1. I think all three? I don’t really tend to use props because I think they draw attention away from the book (and besides, bookshelves are A+ backgrounds), but I also know that some people really like to use props. Paperfury, acciobooksandcoffee, and Folded Pages Distillery are a few. And you don’t sound old, cranky, or disrespectful at all!

      And I’m glad! I was worried it was a bit too rambly for a tutorial.


  2. Ooh! I absolutely love this! As someone who is new to the whole blogging thing (and does not use instagram cause I’m a recluse) I’ve been having some trouble with pictures… I’ll definitely be checking out picmonkey!!!!
    Thank you for this amazing tutorial!!!


    1. I’m glad it’s helpful! And I just went over and peeked at your blog, and your photos look quite good! You should have seen my photos when I first started out. Eesh.

      (Also, I only joined Instagram like two weeks ago. You’re not a recluse for not using it)


      1. Oh my word, thank you!! I tried to get them to look okay, but sometimes the lighting was off, and it was just…yeah. Haha, but I eventually got them to not look so bad, and so I used them, but I kind of wanted an editing software thingy of some sort, but just didn’t know what to use.
        Oh yay! I’m not a recluse after all!!! 😀


      2. PicMonkey is good, because it’s easy and free. Canva is a bit more complicated but it’s also free and you can do more stuff with it (they just don’t have filters). Also, fairy/Christmas lights? If you have enough, they’re weirdly good stand ins for natural light.


      3. Oh! I’ve used Canva! At least, that’s how I made my Blavatar thing… I didn’t really think about actually uploading a photo and editing it, but I’ll definitely have to try that out!
        Oh my goodness, I would have NEVER thought of that! I’m totally going to look into the fairy lights!! Thank you so much!!!!


  3. Ohh always love behind-the-scenes sort of posts. THIS IS AWESOME. I love your little tripod-y thingie. I use a DSLR and my tripod is a stack of books on a table.😂 And then mad dashes to get set up before it goes off because I can’t figure out how to make the timing longer than 10 seconds…like, sure I could read the manual but who has time for that? Pfft. I use picmonkey to edit too! *HI FIVE*


    1. Which one? The gorilla pod I stole from my brother or the car thing? Either way, thanks!

      I wish I had a DSLR, but I have neither the money or, honestly, enough time to photograph things to make it really worth the price.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s