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Hi there! I hope you’re doing well. Are you taking care of yourself? You should be, because you are worth every ounce of effort.
I have been so surprised by how fun Instagram can be! I joined as a Bookstagrammer only a few months ago (check out my profile here), but I’ve got a decent following, and I’m having a blast.
I really didn’t expect to. I joined mainly to create a social platform, but I have fallen in love with the Bookstagram community and also with the art of photos & videos.
I have learned a lot since I started (sometimes I look through my old posts and cringe a little). One of my favorite things to do is Instagram Reels. Reels are also great for the dreaded algorithm. Insta likes to show off your Reels. I was a little nervous about them at first, but now that I understand them, they’re a breeze!
I thought I’d share a few tricks I use when creating a Reel. Keep in mind, these will be catered mostly to books, but you can apply it to your own content as well.
1 Good lighting is essential, whether for photos or reels. Natural light is best, or white light if you don’t have a nice spot by a window. I have a big empty space on my office floor right in front of a window that I keep clear for Insta photo shoots. Here’s a link to some photo lights if you don’t have any.
2 A phone stand has been a life-saver for me. I couldn’t make most of my Reels without one. I see a lot of people making Reels that seem a little shaky. They look fine, but you’re not reading this tutorial for your Reels to be fine. If you need to get one, this one looks good and is a decent price.
3 Pick your music first. Now, this is not essential, but I’ve found it fun to make sure I’m on beat when I switch scenes or do a trick. It gives the Reel a more polished feel in the end. You can find music to add by clicking on the music note & searching for a song.
4 Edit as you go and preview, preview, preview. Reels can only be so long, so you may run out of time if you’re not trimming as you go. Also, back to 3, you might not be on beat if you aren’t accounting for the snipped ends of each video.
5 Transitions are one of the hardest parts of making a Reel. One thing I have learned is to make sure that the scenes you are stitching together line up with each other. For example, one trick I do is to flick the book, and when I pull it back up, it’s a different book! MAGIC! Check out an example here (3rd transition). First, I made sure that I was holding both books with the same hand at close to the same position on the camera. Then, I trimmed the end of the first scene until the book was at its lowest point, then I trimmed the beginning of the other until I found the same position. You should also pick a relatively blurry frame so that the transition isn’t quite as obvious. The goal is to watch one book descend, then another ascend, which you can see between Wicked King and Blood & Honey in the linked video.
6 Once you have all your scenes, Preview to double check the transitions and how they line up with your audio. Is every transition clear? Does your audio end on a weird beat? Did you miss a trim?
7 In Preview, click on those 3 line toggles at the top. These are your audio controls. I usually keep my music all the way up, but make sure your Camera Audio is on 0, unless you want your shuffling sounds in the background. If you are talking in your video, ignore this step.
8 If you want words on screen, you can tap on the scene and type as normal. Want to make them only appear for a certain part of the video? Click on the excerpt block at the bottom left of the screen, then use the trimming toggles on either side of the video to trim to how long you want the words to appear.
9 Posting is pretty final for a Reel. You cannot go back and edit the Reel (just like with your photos), but you also can’t edit the words of your post (unlike with your photos). Triple check your spelling and grammar. make sure you are ready to post this, otherwise you will be deleting your post, which is rarely a good idea. Make sure you have all the hashtags you want on there, you cannot go back and edit them later. Of course, you can comment more if you do miss some. I would actually suggest doing this anyways as I have noticed more traffic when I go back later and add a few fresh hashtags.
I’m not an expert, and I’m still learning, but I wanted to share this with you so that maybe Reels won’t be quite so scary anymore. Enjoy!