Bookstagram props are one of the things that always make me jealous of other book bloggers because I want all those pretty things! This is also going to be a pretty long post!
The last few weeks have been awesome for me on Instagram because of #romancestagram! It’s such an awesome community of romance readers sharing their favorite books! I can’t tell you how many books I’ve already added to my TBR already. It’s not even funny!
Anyway, this is the inspiration for my post! I was really insecure and intimidated by all the beautiful Instagram posts with all those props that at one point, I didn’t want to post photos at all! I mean, I don’t have all those props and candles and basically everything else to take photos.
But following #romancestagram and seeing a lot of romance-themed posts, made me think outside the box and look through what I already have around the house to use as props! And I have to tell you, I’m inspired again!
See, I realized that you don’t have to have all the beautiful things to take an awesome photo! You just need to be creative and think outside the box! I purchased a few items throughout the years, but now, I don’t have the urge to buy all the bookish things anymore! And I was able to find things that I already own lying around the house!
This post is about encouraging everyone to not be afraid or insecure to post your photos! Hopefully, this post will inspire you to be creative with your bookstagram props and join the #bookstagram community!
Don’t forget to check out the following posts:
Props you can reuse multiple times
Invest in a good backdrop
I currently have 3 backdrops that I use all the time. The two vinyl backdrops I bought on Etsy (Bubblegum Backdrops) were a bit pricey but I use them all the time, so it was a good splurge. I don’t have nice textured tables so this was an awesome alternative. I tried using 12×12 scrapbook paper and even with 2 of them set side by side, it was really hard to manage bigger flat lays. I picked the 24×24-inch size vinyl backdrop which is perfect for flat lays.
The other backdrop that I bought for $1.50 was a poster paper that I found at Michaels! I just saw this wood design and I thought it was perfect. It’s longer in length (about a 40×20 size) and better than scrapbook paper, plus they store well! And you can’t beat the $1.50 price tag! Just make sure you don’t roll or crease it.
The next backdrop that I hardly use as a backdrop anymore was one I purchased 2 years ago. I think it was about $4 or something at Michaels and it’s a plain white poster board. This is also perfect to use as a reflector (see post below under lighting) instead of buying a legit reflector. Since I’ve had it for 2 years now, I’d say it has earned its stripes, yeah?
Buy flowers, leaves, & shrubbery
As most of you have noticed, I use a lot of flowers on my flat lays. I also reuse them. A LOT. The key is to buy them when they’re on sale! I normally don’t post flat lays themed on seasons, so I don’t really need to worry about buying seasonal items. So shopping off-season usually gets you a 60% or 70% off of the seasonal flowers!
I have a flower weakness and I want to buy them all – which is really not possible. The key is variety, so you can mix or match them and have enough to cycle through for your photos. Also, purchase 2 or 3 branches of flowers if possible for balance.
reusing flowers is okay!
Purchase greenery or leaves since it helps balance the colorful flowers and book covers. You can also hit up your local dollar store for flowers and shrubbery!
Tip: Don’t be afraid to bend the stems! They help a lot with composition and balance.
same green shrubbery
Wood, Crates, & Trays
Buy a few pieces of painted or paintable wood. There are a ton at Michaels and I get them on sale! I currently have 3 pieces that I’ve accumulated throughout the years and I use them quite often.
Also, get a crate! I have a few crates since I use them for storage. This is a win-win!
Tip: I use my crates to store my props and other items.
same white crate (this has a Christmas design)
I use natural light. And that’s FREE! I usually take my photos in the afternoons. I have three spots where I take photos – our bedroom, the guest room, and the living room (by the sliding door). The guest room is perfect in the mornings, the bedroom is perfect in the afternoons, and the living room is perfect all day.
I also take photos during the weekends. I work full-time and get home late, so weekends are perfect for this. I take a few photos that I can post throughout the week (which is why I don’t post daily on Instagram).
Remember that white poster board I mentioned earlier? You can TOTALLY use that to reflect the light and avoid the shadows! SERIOUSLY this helps A LOT! And you didn’t have to spend a lot of $$ to buy a real reflector!
Tip: Use a white poster board to reflect light if you don’t want to splurge on a reflector.
I tried using a lamp with a bright white light as my friend Crystal @ Crystal Blogs Books recommended and I wasn’t too happy with the outcome. I didn’t like the lighting and I much prefer natural light. But this is just my preference, you can try it and see if you like it.
Pearls & Glass Stones
Other staples that I have on hand are pearls and glass stones. I only picked 2 colors of glass stones and have no plans to buy more. I figured blue and clear glass stones should be good enough! I also bought one pack of pearls that came with clear diamonds and the pearls were in two colors, light pink and cream.
white and blue glass stones
cream & pink pearls & clear diamonds
One of the items I wanted to purchase was alphabet tiles! We don’t have a Scrabble board here so I was psyched when we found the tiles sold at Michaels. Crystal was the one who pointed it out to me and I have been using them ever since! You can use it to spell anything you want, too!
Bookish Box Goodies
One way of getting a lot of stuff is subscribing to bookish boxes! They are pricey, but you get a book and goodies. Plus you can reuse the bookish items that they come with!
Free items around the house
Pets & Babies
If you have them, use them! LOL I’m kidding, but I absolutely love looking at photos with furbabies! Twylah doesn’t love to pose for the camera so I hardly use her (although I wish I could). I don’t have any babies so you won’t see those on my feed.
Wooden Serving Tray/Food
If you have a wooden tray, use it. If you have a plastic tray, use it! I’m pretty sure you have at least one tray at home! Plus, you can use it creatively – like take it outside!
Another item that works is food! I don’t have a bunch of photos with food but if you can, use them! I also try taking photos while at a restaurant – especially if I am bringing with me my tablet or kindle! If not, I use my phone.
I love mugs and we have a few varieties that I have purchased throughout the years. They really don’t have to be fancy, but I prefer the ones that are shorter with a bigger mouth. But you can use anything you have at home. If you don’t have any mugs, hit up your local dollar store! They have tons to choose from and they’re only a dollar!
This is self-explanatory. Use them all the time! A lot of people prefer a white or cream-colored sheet, but if you don’t have them (I don’t), use anything you have! Trust me, it still works!
Throw (this was a Christmas gift from my coworker)
You don’t even need to buy those fancy bookish pillows! I only have one of those pillows and I hardly use it!
You can use sweaters, tights, tops, bottoms, swimwear, dresses, or anything in your closet! I prefer sweaters or cardigans and I use them all the time (on myself, too *wink).
lace kimono, faux leather leggings, orange shirt
This item does cost money, but if you already have them lying around the house collecting dust, USE THEM!
Pierre plays the guitar, so he does have a few guitars and amps and I have “borrowed” them from him a few times.
Use all of these to your heart’s content! You do need to purchase these, but I’m pretty sure we all have at least one of these lying around!
If you collect book sleeves, use them on your spreads! They are cute and you can match them to your flat lay.
Don’t forget to use your books! Stack them, line them up, whatever! They can be used to enhance your spread!
If you’re like me who absolutely LOVE stuff, you probably have a few around the house! I have a few items that I use a lot: Pierre’s skull ashtray that he has never used before (it used to store his guitar picks, but those picks have found a different home LOL), a vase, frames, whatever you can find! Use your imagination!
Seasonal Decors/Fairy Lights
If you decorate for the holidays, you can use Christmas balls and other seasonal décor that you already have lying around. I don’t usually use seasonal flat lays because I don’t have a lot but I do use them sometimes.