I think most of know Instagram as this heavily curated platform where your photos will only be seen by the masses if you photoshop them into oblivion. But I think there’s an interesting trend happing recently; we are getting so tired of the perfect, fake-looking feeds and are moving back to a more casual approach.
I’m not just making this one up — The rise of casual Instagram is a real thing. And I can see it too in my own feeds. Ever so popular are the so-called photo dumps, no make-up selfies and unfiltered food photos. Yes, the quality of our phone camera is way better than it was in 2012, but other than it really feels like we are back where we started.
Now, this trend is slowly dripping into the world of bookstagram. Yes, bookstagram, the world of heavily curated, aesthetically pleasing book photos. Bookstagram has always been a little weird to me: The books we read are always about the stories in them, but bookstagram is way more about aesthetics than the actual books. It’s mostly about pictures being pretty. But that age might be coming to an end with casual bookstagram.
I first heard about casual bookstagram on TikTok. This is the place where videos with ‘casual bookstagram’ inspo get thousands and thousands of views. In my opinion, we are so jaded by the hyper curated aesthetically pleasing photos that we are now gravitating towards the other side. Photos of attainable shelves and books.
Want to start a casual bookstagram? I’m going to give you some tips down below, but I also want to urge you to just start making photos and posting them! Check out my very own casual bookstagram here to get some inspo!
Back to basics – but not too much
Don’t get me wrong, the casual bookstagram trend is very much back to basics, but also not too much. It’s important to realize that the photos are still edited here and there, people still throw filters over them and try to make them look interesting by making their bookshelf look pretty, thinking about a nice background or adding artificial lights. Casual does not mean ugly and not fun to look at, it just means cozy and less curated.
Casual bookstagram is about being casual and cozy
Before I changed my focus to casual bookstagram, I tried to make my photos as bright as possible. People like bright, fresh looking photos, was my reasoning. When I switched to the more casual approach, I found that to not be the case at all. People like cozy looking photos, the idea of being curled up in bed with a book versus a photo (that’s still beautiful!) with all kinds of props. That also means that casual bookstagram often takes advantage of artificial lighting and more warm colors.
To illustrate: the photo on the right is how I used to make my bookstagram photos, and the left is how I make them now. I still really love the photo on the right, it’s not bad at all, but I think the photo on the left looks way more cozy and ‘real’. It is less curated.
Focus on how loved your books are
Something that I’ve seen A LOT on casual bookstagram is people showing off how loved their books are. If you’re one of those people that likes to write in their books, stick in tabs or even break the spines, this is the perfect trend for you. I think it’s great to highlight those things and post them, and other people seem to like them as well. There is something so satisfying about seeing books that aren’t pristine anymore, instead they tell a story.
But I don’t want my bookstagram to be casual
You don’t have to! In no way shape or form am I saying that you should have a casual bookstagram: there is still a market for the curated bookstagram photos as we know them. In fact, I’d argue that it is way bigger than the casual bookstagram trend. However, I do think that the casual bookstagram trend will continue to grow bigger and become more popular. I also think that casual bookstagram is way more attainable content to make for a lot of people: you don’t need to spend money on fancy lights, expensive equipment or props, you can just make these photos on your bed or in front of your bookshelf. And I think that’s wonderful!