Have you ever noticed some people have the most beautiful Instagram pages that show off books? I bet you want your page to be like that too. Guess what? I have good news-it’s easy to do!
This week we’re going to dig deeper and really take a look at some ways to streamline your feed and give you a signature look within your posts. Links to both the tutorial video and the full RT TV episode are at the bottom.
The best way to curate your feed is by picking a signature style and applying it to the way you shoot your imagery.
Step1: Pick a consistent background.
I recommend a solid color so that it will go with most things. I typically lean toward white or black colors because they works so well with most covers. When picking a background, try to keep it the same. Typically you want to go with a flat background, avoid wrinkles or lines, to keep the focus on the book itself. Occasionally, with things like bedding, there are exceptions to the flat rule. (Pro tip: Tutorial Video on Picking Backgrounds)
Step 2: Consistent lighting.
Always photograph your books in the same place at the same time of day. Of course lighting will change with the weather, time of day, etc, and sometimes there is nothing you can do about it, but keeping it relatively the same will definitely help with your signature look. You want the light hitting your books and decorations at the same angle to help define your signature style. (Pro tip: Tutorial Video on Shoot in Dark and Limited Lighting)
Step 3: Picking decorations.
Make sure when choosing the elements you will be adding to your image that you are selecting objects with a connection to the book. It might be that it has the same colors on the cover or it could be that it has to do with the story itself. For more information on selecting the right elements for your image, check out our video. When you are picking what items you will be using, keep in mind that they should not overwhelm or take away from the book. (Pro tip: Tutorial Video on Selecting Decorative Elements)
Step 4: Arranging objects.
When laying out your objects, make sure you aren’t doing too much overlapping. You want every object to be seen, and more specifically, you want to make sure you aren’t covering any important parts of the book, like the title and author name. (Pro tip: Tutorial Video on Layering Decorative Elements)
Step 5: Keeping the book the focus.
The most important thing in this image is the book. Don’t drown it in a bunch of unnecessary objects. If your image looks cluttered, people won’t waste time looking at it. The eye should be drawn immediately to the book. Don’t cover any important information the viewer might need like the title or author name. Don’t bury the book in a mountain of stuff. The decorative elements are secondary. The book should not be hidden off to the side unless it is extremely clear it is the focus of the image. Keep the book as the main part of your photo.
Step 6: Leaving space to edit.
When setting up your layout, don’t forget to leave room to edit in some words. You may want to add your logo or a few sentences telling the viewer what it is, how the objects with it are connected, or direct them to your website. If you don’t leave space, preferably on an outside corner, you’re going to be fighting to find somewhere to put your logo/words that won’t take away from the image. (Pro Tip: Don’t put anything in the bottom left corner. If people regram you on Instagram, a little box with your handle is placed in the bottom left hand corner and will cover up part of your image.)
Step 7: Taking the photo.
We’ve talked about taking the image time and time again. Use reflectors if you are in low or limited lighting. Work with natural light. At this point, you know the drill, but if you don’t, hit up our video series on youtube for photo taking tips from me (professional photographer at K.M. Robinson Photography)
Picking your signature style can be both super easy and super tricky. You need to pick something that represents your brand.
Some of my favorite ideas for stylizing your images include:
- White background with natural window light
- Desktop images
- Black background with natural window light
- Books with food/snacks
- Books outside
- Books on a bed
- Books and shoes
- Books and jewelry or makeup that represents the book
- Books on shelves
- Books and drawings
- Books and coffee
Note: Books are not the only thing you should be showing on your author feed. Simply replace the word “book” with the other writerly and brand-appropriate (things that make sense logically with your brand) items and keep all of your images within your signature style.
These are just a few ideas to get you started. You can come up with your own signature look. Just remember to keep background and lighting in mind and you are styling. Consistency is key.
If you’ve taken my Author Bootcamp or Blogger Bootcamp courses you already know the importance of picking a theme/message for your brand. Find a signature style that matches with this theme and commit to it. You want to keep your brand consistent throughout your website, blog, and social media platforms. Your goal here is to create a brand that is instantly recognizable throughout the internet, even if the content is not living on your page (ex: if you guest blog, or your graphic ends up on Pinterest)
Once you start creating a series of images and putting them on Instagram, you’re going to see a shift in the aesthetic of your feed. It will take a little bit to solidify your new direction, but keep going. If you can, do multiple images at once and upload them to create a more stylized feed faster. (Note: when dealing with the algorithm we teach that you should only post once a day for maximum effect and interaction. So it’s up to you: get more interaction or get a stylized feed faster) People will start to take notice once you have a curated feed. You can even take a screen shot and post that so fans can see your curated feed at one glance. This will prompt them to look at your entire page instead of just scrolling passed one image in their feed.
Using hastags will help to get you new visitors too. Once they see your stylized feed, they’re more likely to stick around.
This new stylized aspect of your Instagram page should most definitely spill over into your other social medias. What’s the point of being intentional in one area but not in the others? That doesn’t promote consistency or reliability within your brand at all, and that is your main job: giving fans a brand they can trust.
Finding your signature style may take some trial and error. Make a list of the ideas you want to try, then try them. See which ones feel like the most comfortable to create, you’ll be doing this a lot so you don’t want to be struggling each and every time. Then take your top choices and post them on Instagram. See how people respond to them. Be decisive and chose which style fits your lifestyle and your brand best…and then do it. Don’t stop, don’t flounder. Do your work. Make the effort. Grow your brand.
Have questions? Post them in the comments. I’m happy to help. Want to run ideas passed me? Go for it. I love hearing from you. Don’t forget to show me what you’ve come up with! Link in the comments and tag my on Instagram @readingtransforms
Don’t forget to check out our tutorial video, a special look at a brand that is using signature styles in their marketing coming to our FB Live this weekend, and Episode 1 of RT TV for an in depth look at this lesson.
But wait! We don’t want you to go this alone. We’ve got a BONUS for you. In your weekly email from us about this week’s lesson is a freebie downloadable Checklist for Instagram Images. Check this off every time before you post and create a more successful Instagram account.
Please note, all of our bonus downloadable freebies are sent out in our weekly emails, but if you aren’t on our list, don’t worry, you can join now and we’ll send you all of our back bonuses PLUS a special gift that will help with your book marketing.
Happy styling, darlings!