Tomes and Tea: A Sunday Tumblr Tradition

Sunday Tomes and Tea - Welcome to Night Vale

Sunday Tomes and Tea is a tag created by @bibliophilicwitch on Tumblr back in 2013. I’ve been participating since mid-2016, I joined the book-nerd, tea-lover party with this pic of Welcome to Night Vale that spring.

Sunday Tomes and Tea - Everything's Eventual

Sunday Tomes and Tea - Magic Burns

When I have delicious baked goods around, I make sure to include those too. (Both of these are from 2017.)

Sunday Tomes and Tea - The Dark Tower

When I’m lucky enough to be reading something with cool illustrations, I snap those instead of the book cover, because so few books have them! (2017, The Dark Tower.)

Sunday Tomes and Tea - The Death of Vishnu

Sunday Tomes and Tea - The Subtle Knife

Despite the name, it doesn’t have to be tea. My oatmeal looked especially pretty one Sunday morning, and a different weekend, I was chugging a smoothie for my poor sore throat. (Both 2018.)

Sunday Tomes and Tea - The Bookseller of Kabul

Sunday Tomes and Tea - The Awakening

Because my mug collection is vast, I try to coordinate whenever I can. (Both 2018.)

Sunday Tomes and Tea - A Darker Shade of Magic

Sunday Tomes and Tea - Misery

Sunday Tomes and Tea - Pigs in Heaven

But when I get a new favorite mug for Christmas, it starts showing up more weeks than not. (All 2019.)


Sunday Tea and Tomes - Children of Earth and Sky.jpg

And when my poor used book is missing its pretty dust cover, like this past week, it’s time to get creative and mess with what has obviously been my standard setup for all these years!

Bookish DIY: Props for Book Photography

99 - Again the Magic

It’s no secret that I’ve developed a style for my book photography, and the base style is quick, simple, and boring. I know it is, because when I started reviewing, I was finishing the book, realizing I needed a photo of it to post, and doing the minimum work possible–which amounted to finding an article of clothing or piece of fabric that looked good with the book cover, setting the book on it at a slight angle, and shooting.

Seriously, it’s easy, and it looks decent, but it gets bland after a while.

I’d been making half-hearted attempts to do better from time to time, but at the end of last year, I decided to be more serious about it. First of all, I would do my best to incorporate more props to make the photos more interesting, and second–this is the key–I would take the photos ahead of time.

Since I organize my physical TBR (roughly) in advance of reading it, I know which books are coming up soon, so there’s no reason I can’t take advantage of an afternoon of good sunlight and take a bunch of pics at once, with props and time to lay it all out well, right?

So let’s take a look at some props I’ve been using, and in many cases making, to enhance my photos.

Stuffed animals. Maybe you don’t have any, but if you do, and their colors coordinate, or they go with your book thematically, you’ve got yourself a prop with no work.

Jewelry. Whether you’ve made it yourself or not.

Bookmarks. Obviously!

Food/Candy. Wrapped candy is great as small, individual objects to scatter. And whenever I make any kind of treat, now, I do my best to get it into a book photo before it’s gone.

Origami. Those book-page roses have featured in quite a few photos since I made them last fall, and this year I branched out and made a sectional star. The puffy stars I used for my original TBR jar are incredibly popular in the book photography I see on Tumblr and Instagram–I’m just not very good at them, really, and I don’t have a stock of brightly colored paper to work from. When I do, maybe I’ll try again.

Coffee Filter Flowers. I made the large white one with this tutorial, and it took me about six minutes, can’t beat that. The smaller, dyed one took a bit more work, but was totally worth it for the color. And if you look for them, there’s even more elaborate flowers to make, like dahlias, daffodils, and roses made from individual petals cut from the filters.

Real Flowers. I don’t have any examples of my own to share yet, we’re not a flower-buying or -growing household, and it’s winter, etc. But I have plans in the spring to pick wildflowers when I can. (There’s artificial flowers from the craft store, as well, if you don’t mind spending on them–I try to avoid buying props, preferring to use what I have or make from my existing craft stash.)

Mini lights. Again, nothing of my own to share, because I went to take a picture a few weeks ago with my Christmas lights, only to find out that between the time we’d taken the tree down, and getting them back out for a photo session, they’d stopped working. Next year, when I get new ones, we’ll see.

I hope I’ve given you some ideas to improve your own book photography, and of course, there are so many more ideas out there! If you’re looking to improve, pay attention to photos you like when you see them on social media, take notes, even save them for reference! (But reference only, don’t ever use them anywhere without permission!)

Get inspired and make stuff!