Bookstagram Tutorials: Apps to Use

In our next installment of my Bookstagram tips series, let’s talk about apps! I have several different apps (other than Instagram itself) I use to put together my feed and manage my content. Let’s talk about my top 5! 

I’m going to attempt to list these in order of prominence of use, but honestly, I use them all pretty equally and consistently.


Canva is an online design and publishing tool that has so many different uses. Canva is available in both smartphone app form, and desktop form. While there are similar functionalities, the desktop version does offer a few more features.

I mainly use Canva to create graphics for my Instagram stories and for my blog posts. Canva offers templates to start from, or you can build your own designs from scratch! I also use it to edit in covers to “basic images,” which means photos that are taken straight down at whatever surface you want to add the cover to, and requires little to no manipulation. I have a video showing how I add covers in Canva (in a very simplified form) here.

Canva is available in a free version, which can do pretty much anything you need. There is also a “pro” version, which is $9.99 per month. The main benefit of choosing to get the pro plan is a wider variety of templates and stock images to choose from. Try out the free version for a while and then see if you gravitate more towards the pro features before deciding to buy!

I’ll be doing another post in the future all about Canva and it’s various features. So if you have any specific features you want to see, let me know!


Pixlr is basically a free version of photoshop but for technologically challenged people who don’t know how to use photoshop. It’s a photo editing tool that allows you to create more complex photo edits. There is a mobile app, but trust me, it is much, much better in the desktop version.

While I’m sure there are other uses for it, I use it primarily for adding covers to angled shots where I need more in depth manipulation using the distortion tool (see below).

By using Pixlr, you can distort the photo to create angles and make it seem like it’s a real book in the photo! Trust me, I know this sounds difficult. But if I can do it, you can. I have the technological skills of an old lady.


Lightroom is another photo editing app, but this one focuses more on colors, contrast, stuff like that. While you can do this in the Instagram app itself, the one benefit to Lightroom is that you can create premade filters, called presets, so that you simply have to click one button to add a custom “filter” to your photos. Using the same filter on all your photos is one way to give your feed a cohesive look.

The best part, Lightroom is free! You can obviously pay more to unlock more features, but just for adding a preset/filter, the free version is more than enough.

You can create your own preset, or buy them from places like Etsy! To create the filter you see on all of my photos, I purchased a preset from Etsy, and then changed it up to make it my own! Now, I apply this preset filter to all of my photos in the Lightroom app and then export it to post on Instagram. It makes adjusting photos super simple!

If you decide to purchase a preset, most of them come with instructions on how to download them. However, stay tuned, as I’m planning an in-depth preset tutorial post in the future! Let me know what questions you would want answered in this future post!


InShot is a free video editing app, and probably the most complex of the apps on this list. Reels are hard, and I think that trying to make them in Instagram makes them more difficult than it needs to be. InShot is what I use to edit videos and make reels.

With InShot, you can record your video segments for your reel, splice them together, trim them, add a filter, all sorts of stuff! Then, all you have to do is export them, add music in the Instagram reel posting doodad, and share them!

I’m still learning this app, but the basic features you need to make a reel, splicing and trim, are very user friendly! Play around with it, it’s fairly simple! If you’d be interested in learning more about this app in a separate post, let me know!


Planoly is probably the least used app on here based on frequency, but it is one of the more helpful ones. This app is used to plan your feed! So, if you wanted to have a pattern to your grid, or you just want to see what all your photos for the future will look like together in your grid, this app is great for that!

The free version allows for 30 photo uploads a month, and once you upload them, you can drag them around and re-order them to get the feed of your dreams! If you have a business IG account, you can also use Planoly to schedule and post for you, but I prefer to just use it to plan the feed.

By planning my feed using this app in advance, I can see if I have certain pictures that don’t fit well next to each other. For example, When I was originally planning out my June feed, I was very happy with the order on paper. Once I put the photos into Planoly, I discovered I had 3 Kindle photos right on top of each other. So seeing it in Planoly helped me better space those out so my grid didn’t look weird.

Obviously, you absolutely DO NOT have to plan your grid out like me. I’m weird and have a certain aesthetic I like for my feed and for my grid. That’s my personal preference. At the very least, you can use Planoly to just get your ideas out for future photos and help you plan your posts during the week to save some time!

Do you use any of these apps? Do you use others? Let’s chat about it!