Today I caught up with Carmen, the gal behind the camera at @ohtheboofeels, to talk bookish pics, Insta tips and fave reads.
Cramen takes beautiful bookish snaps while she’s out and about in sunny LA. She reads widely and always has something new to recommend, while her bubbling enthusiasm for books is a reminder that, yeah, reading is awesome. Here’s just a sample of her gorgeous pics:
Carmen, thanks so much for joining me! Can you start by sharing a little about yourself: Where are you from? What do you when you’re not on Insta? How did you get into bookstagramming?
Hi!! I’m Carmen! I’m born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, and moved to the Los Angeles area almost 2 years ago. When I’m not on instagram, I like finding pretty hikes, go to the beach, find small bookstores, and hang out with friends.
I got into bookstagramming because I started a fan account for The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices almost 3 years ago, and then switched over to all books because of my love for them! Plus, I’ve dabbled in photography for about 10 years, so I loved combining the two together!
Can you tell us a bit about your Insta account: What inspires your posts? Do you have a particular aesthetic or theme? Has your account changed/developed over time?
I mentioned this in the question before, but I was primarily a TID/TMI account when I first started. I did a lot of photoshop edits, and posted a lot of photos from the set too. Though it was Twilight that got me back into reading, TID/TMI were the books that started my bookstagram account. Over the last year and a half, I really changed.
Honestly, I’m inspired by everything! I’ll see a cute coffee shop, or a cute bookstore, and I’ll want to capture it with a book! Also, if I’ve read a particular book that I absolutely love, I share my thoughts with my followers.
I don’t have a particular aesthetic or theme really. I love to take anywhere from posed photos, to just an isle in a bookshop! I do try to keep the same color/editing process to each photo though. That way it overall looks organized and well put together!
Over the last year and a half, I really changed my account. I used to just share others photos as well, but I decided to just take strictly my own photos! I feel that was a huge stepping stone in my bookstagram, and a leap of faith since all of my followers were fans of TID/TMI. Luckily, I have the best followers, and they supported my change to the fullest!
What camera(s) and editing software (if any) do you use for your pics?
Oh, I use everything!! I use my iPhone if I’m out and about and don’t have my cameras. But I mostly use either my Canon G7X, or my DSLR Canon XSI with several lenses I own.
As for software, I mostly use VSCO on my phone! I have a lot of filters to choose from on there and they have pretty awesome settings for lightening a photo or sharpening the contrast.
How often do you post and do you plan posts in advance, or are they more spontaneous?
I try to post every single day! A lot of the times, if I’m working with a publisher or a publicist, then I have a deadline of when the photo will be up. Most of the time it’s spontaneous posting though! I’m always out and about, so if I see a set up I like, I’ll take a photo. I do try to take a handful at a time, so if I happen to be really busy one week, I’ll still have a bunch of photos I can use!
What do you think makes a good post?
A great post consists of a clean and clear photo, with a great caption to go right along with it. I always love seeing others interact with their followers too!
What do you love most about being part of the bookstagram community?
I love that it’s a tight knit community! Everyone is so supportive of one another, and you know a lot of people! I love the fact that I can go to a book event, and I always see someone I know or who follows me. Being somewhat new to California, if it weren’t for Instagram, I wouldn’t of had any friends here, lol!! I’ve been SO many of my great friends through my Instagram account… including my boyfriend!
Is there anything you’d like to see change/improve in the community?
I don’t think there’s anything I would change! I wish there was a convention strictly for bookstagram accounts. Maybe I’ll create that one day lol!
Who are some of the bookstagrammers who inspire you?
There are tons! My great friend @ursula_uriarte takes amazinnnng photos!!
I also love @bookbaristas photos from different coffee shops and book stores.
@ReadingonCloud9 has amazing photos as well! Her use of props is fantastic!!
I could make a huge list, but there are so many!
What kinds of books do you like to read?
I love to read anything fiction! I love to be able to escape from the real world enjoy a nice read. I love anything from contemporary romance to fantasy, sci-fi to mystery, you name it! Anything that has a great story, I’m in!
What are three key things you look for in a good story?
Connecting with the characters, plot, and the ending/closure!
Who doesn’t love being able to connect with characters? If you can’t, then I feel that reading the rest of the book is pointless. If something happens to someone, you want to feel that pain they’re feeling or be happy when they’re happy. You know… basically, torture yourself, lol!
Obviously, plot! Again, if it doesn’t have one, then why read it?
Also, the ending! If it’s a series, it doesn’t necessarily have to have a cliffhanger, but it’s awesome when they do because it leaves you wanting more!!
If it’s a stand alone, it’s all about the closure! There’s nothing worse than leaving questions unanswered, and then there’s no second book to help out.
What do you love most about reading, and why do you believe reading is important?
I live in Los Angeles, so I’m constantly around people rushing, stuck in traffic, etc. I LOVE my time alone to read. There’s nothing better than curling up in my bed or lounging on the beach with a book and enjoying my quiet time. It gets me away from the real world, and exploring a different dimension and seeing it through someone else’s eyes.
I believe that everyone should be reading. I think those who don’t like to read, lack in the imagination department. When you do read, it helps keep the stress away, and it allows your imagination to run wild! Those who read are generally much happier than those who don’t – in my opinion.
What’s been your favourite read so far this year?
Easy. LADY MIDNIGHT by Cassandra Clare. Ohhhhh my goodness! The ANGST. Forbidden love. The action. THAT ENDING!
I can seriously go on and on about this book. I recently just finished it, and I cannot wait until I get my hands on the next book. Too bad it doesn’t come out until next year!
What five books should everyone reading this add to their TBR pile?
Anything by Cassandra Clare.
A Court of Thorns and Roses AND Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas
November 9 by Colleen Hoover
Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Never Stop Falling by Ashley Drew
What advice would you give to new bookstagrammers?
CONNECT with your followers!!
Try to reply back to as many as you can. It can get overwhelming sometimes if you’re busy, but always try to make time. It allows you to get to know them, and them get to know you as well!
Make sure you can see everything in your photo! Natural lighting works best.
You don’t always have to have a filter, but if you do, I always try to use the same ones. That way your feed is consistent.
Recommend books all the time!
Not only do your followers want to see beautiful photos, but they’re always looking for great books to read.
Put yourself out there!
Whether you’re out at events, or browsing on Instagram! Connect with everyone! I had business cards printed out so I can hand them out when I go to book events. That way you’re always meeting new people, and you never know what those connections can do for you. It can open new opportunities or you can make tons of new friends!
And finally, where else can we find you talking books?
If you haven’t yet, pop over to @ohthebookfeels, say hi to Carmen and see what she’s reading on Instagram.
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