Book Marketing: Your Guide to Photographing Books in Nature

Published by audenjohnson on

I like to photograph nature. I’m also a bookworm and journal collector. Why no combine the 2? I post the pictures on Instagram but, mostly, I do this because it’s fun. I love planning what books and journals I’m going to pack. I get lost in looking at a scene, setting up the book and photographing it at different angles. It’s fun to look at the results and see that they came out better than expected. Even if the experiment failed, I know what not to do next time.

These kinds of photos could be great for a book marketing campaign.

Whenever I go for a long walk, I usually pack a ton of books in my little backpack, making my bag heavy. No matter what I do, it’s heavy.

Outside vs. Inside

I’ve photographed books in my apartment but the lighting is terrible. The photo comes out too yellow and too dark. Outside lighting just adds something special to the photos, especially at sunset. You get some nice dark and light contrasts.

Besides, I tend to make a mess while I’m prettying up the photos. It’s a pain to clean up afterward. Although, I do have a different kind of mess after my books and nature photo sessions. I never put the books back on my shelf, because I’m tired after walking for several hours. I end up with piles on tables.

I tend to take photos outside because they fit my theme. Also, there are a lot of bookstagram accounts. Mixing nature with my photos helps me stand out a bit.


I’m usually carrying about five book and journals on any sessions. Because of this, I rarely bring extra accessories like Funkos.

They do add some spice to the photo but that’s a lot to carry. The small basket in the below photo couldn’t fit in my bag so I held it which wasn’t a whole lot of fun. I didn’t walk as long.

In most cases, I try to find something in the environment to enhance the photo like a pine cone, flower or nice leave. My dog Oreo, when she sits still, can add a little something to the photo.

Since my thumb is often in the photos, I’ll put on a nice ring as a decoration.


Sometimes top-down or straight on photos work. In most cases, I’m sitting or kneeling on the ground. Fortunately, I’m so focused on the shot that I don’t realize how silly I look until I stand up to move on. Often, I’ll hold the journal against the background. Keep in mind the sun’s position. You get a terrible glare on glossy covers when the sun hits it certain angles.

The Perfect Background

I walk around, observing the environment to find what would provide a great background for my books/journals.


These are great background and accent pieces, especially for journals. In the spring, you’ll have sidewalks covered in flower petals. Place a book on that and maybe sprinkle some petal on the cover. Or, hold up the journal to a cherry blossom tree.


I’ll often prop the books in or against trees, especially if I get some nice light from it. A tree or part of it can get your book/journal to an interesting height. I’ve propped many journals on fallen trees. Also, trees often have some great textures which make some interesting backgrounds.


I’ll often hold up a book to get a nice background.

Sometimes, I’ll stand the journal on the ground or on something high, kneel and photograph it straight on.


More often, I’ll just place the book/journal on the ground, especially if that ground is covered in leaves or flower petals.


I have a lot of fun on Halloween. The houses in my neighborhood go all out with decorations and they’re used to people photographing them.

Photographing ebooks

I have a couple of print books published. However, most of my books, most of my reading, are ebooks. Those can be interesting to photograph. It’s particularly difficult to get a nice clean shot of the cover when the sun’s high. Most times, you’ll only get the landscape reflected on your screen. You can take advantage of that.

But, that won’t be much help if you want to photograph your book cover. I haven’t found one thing that works all the time when photographing screens. You keep taking the shot at different angles until you get a clear photo.

Some Maintenance

I hope you don’t mind getting a little dirty. I never sit in mud but I do kneel on the ground. My books never get wet or dirty, though, because I’m careful about where I set them. I’ve also never brought home critters. I examine each area before I put down the book but, just in case, I shake out the books before I put them back in my bag.

I’ve mentioned before that the bag can be heavy. Halfway through my walk, my shoulders are usually sore. I do tend to have back problems but the heavy bag never hurts it. Mostly, the ache is in the neck and shoulders.

Take a lot of Photos

I’ve noticed the more photos I take the better I get at spotting interesting scenes. With more practice, you’ll get better at finding those little scenes perfect for photographing your books or journals.

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