Just the Tips: How I Edit My Bookstagram Photos with VSCO

I get a lot of questions about how I take and edit my pictures on bookstagram, and I figured I’d share a little tutorial on it since it’s honestly not very hard at all! My style is pretty specific – I like bright, clean, crisp colors, and more of a coolish / blue tone to my pictures. If that’s your thing, these editing tips will absolutely work for your pictures! If you’re into something different, I’d totally recommend playing around with the different filters & settings offered to make your own look!

I’ve been using VSCO for about 6 years now, and have loved it through all its updates and iterations. I use a bunch of different apps depending on the ~aesthetic~ I’m going for with the edit, but VSCO is definitely one of my most & longest used ones for sure. I use it almost exclusively for my entire bookstagram account, and most of the bookish photos on my blog & Twitter, too! While I do have the paid version of the app now, since I use it to edit photos for work and things professionally as well, I used the free version of the app for over 5 years! It’s amazing, and I couldn’t recommend it highly enough.

For my photo examples, I’m using Stephen King’s newest, which is just pretty and colorful and I love the look of! I’m also going to include another example just for thoroughness – a photo of me wearing one of my favorite t-shirts, taken in my bathroom at night when the lighting was yellow and awful. I want to show how much the app can help your photos, even if you don’t have the option to take ones with totally natural lighting (which some people can’t, due to work or life schedules, and that’s okay!).

Hopefully this helps, but if anyone has questions, feel free to let me know in the comments! I’d also love to hear what you use to edit your own photos!

How I Edit My Bookstagram Photos with VSCO


1) First, download the app!

This obviously only needs to be done once (and not at all if you already use VSCO!), but it’s an important step, so I figured I’d include it. 😛

I do have an iPhone, so for the sake of this tips blog, all my screenshots will be from that. I’m not sure if there are userface differences between the phone types!

VSCO in the App Store


2) Now that we’ve got that, I upload my photo & enter edit mode.

Everything within the app is super streamlined and intuitive, and I’ve never had any trouble navigating through the different menus or options. I also really love the clean, crisp interface – some photo editing apps have a super dark look, which I don’t prefer for apps that aren’t totally stylized. (For example, I also use Huji Cam and don’t mind the edgy look ’cause it’s supposed to be an old disposable camera, and a brighter design wouldn’t make sense conceptually!)


3) Go into the actual photo settings (not the filters section – although the filters are super varied and some are really cool!), and adjust the EXPOSURE first.

The adjustment level for this varies depending on how dark the lighting I’m using is. For midday natural lighting photos (like this one), I don’t need to go up too far. For the indoor lighting one, I went up only slightly higher.



4) Slide the menu over, and adjust the SATURATION.

This makes the colors a bit brighter, which is always the vibe I’m going for! If your colors turn a bit more yellow, don’t worry. We’ll fix that in the next step!


5) Finally, we’re gonna cool things down a bit! Make your way over to the WHITE BALANCE setting and adjust the TEMPERATURE.

This is a crucial step for me, due to how specifically cool-toned I like my photos to be. You can see in the two examples here that it varies a lot, so I do this on a per-picture basis to really get the best levels! This tool is really, really helpful for indoor lighting photos – usually they’re super yellow, which does not look good.I only adjust the temperature, and not the tint, but if your photo was more reddish or greenish, you could probably play with that a bit to help!






Here’s my indoor night-time lighting example, too! Same steps – Exposure, Saturation, White Balance!

I hope this helps!!

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4 thoughts on “Just the Tips: How I Edit My Bookstagram Photos with VSCO

  1. This is such a useful guide, Cassie! I have been trying to find the right photo editing app for me, so I might give VSCO a try to see what’s up. How you explain the adjustment of saturation, exposure, and white balance is great as well – I love that you explained WHAT and WHY you are doing it.

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