Photoshop Tutorial For Book Blogging

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Many book bloggers review digital copies of books. Check out this Photoshop tutorial for book blogging to learn how to create a clear bookstagram picture on your eReader.

Photoshop Tutorial for Digital Books and Book BloggersPin

Not all book bloggers and bookstagrammers are pro photographers. I should know. Some days, my pictures rock.  Call it a small miracle.  Other days, they just suck the last wine drop dry.  I can write, entertain…and drink wine. Unfortunately, while I own a stellar Canon, I am not the best picture taker or photo editor.

Even worse, imagine writing a strong book review and having a cloudy #bookstagram picture for Instagram and Pinterest. Many book bloggers review digital copies of books, and taking a clear picture of that eReader with the book cover is a b*tch.

AmIRight? Raise that hand in the air like you just don’t care. 


While I am not a pro at Photoshop, many readers have asked how I personally take #bookstagram pictures of ebooks without weird reflections, grainy covers (not on purpose), and just hot messes laid out on my iPad. This Photoshop tutorial for book blogging is how I transform my digital books into little IG masterpieces.

Photoshop Tutorial For Book Bloggers Color of Fear BookstagramPin

A Small Warning:

I will not even pretend to be a Photoshop expert. A year in, I am still learning the beginner tricks I need to succeed. I watch endless tutorials, read blogs, and play around.

This post is meant for beginner and intermediate users and bloggers looking for a quick fix for taking pictures of their eReaders and digital books.

The techniques here work for other types of bloggers too.  Just know that there are always multiple ways to play around on Photoshop and edit. This free post is not meant to be the Photoshop Bible. I’m merely sharing my less than 10-minute edits to superimpose a book cover over an eReader, which for me is an iPad.  This process works well for me, and I hope you find a few takeaways.

Photoshop Tutorial for book blogging A Spark of LightPin

Copyright With Book Covers:

Second, copyright is a tricky beast with book covers. You should always seek permission for cover use from publishers, agents, and/or authors if you start playing around with or use book covers, filters, and/or their images in general.  My understanding is that fair use applies with book covers for reviews, but also within reason.

Will most authors and publishers mind?  Probably not. Free publicity, good or bad, is publicity. If you accidentally violate, offend, or use an image that someone claims you didn’t have the right to use, they might just ask you to take down the post.  Do it. 

Technically, you can get sued, especially if you monetize your blog; this appears rare in the book blogging world.

P.S. None of this is legal advice, and of course, you should seek professional services if you are concerned or unsure.  Rule of thumb: get permission.

Having clauses in your Book Review Policy help protect you too, and I am an LLC to separate my business from my wine fund.

For the two book covers used in this post, I would personally like to thank indie authors Jennifer Ann Shore and D C Wright-Hammer for permission to use their covers in a respectful and appropriate manner. Scroll to the bottom to learn more about their stellar titles and work(s).

I am fortunate to have such supportive authors as a part of The Uncorked Librarian book community.

Photoshop tutorial for beginners PinPin

Photoshop Tutorial For Book Blogging: Superimposing A Book Cover Over An eReader

 A Few Photoshop Logistics:

  • In order to use this tutorial, you will need to have Photoshop CC.  As a smaller blogger, I invested in the Adobe Creative Cloud plan for individuals starting at $9.99 a month.  Super cheap, right?  With this plan I get:

Lightroom CC

Lightroom Classic CC

Photoshop CC

20GB of cloud storage

I use Lightroom and Photoshop EVERY SINGLE DAY for Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and my blog images.  At the very minimum,  Adobe programs are easy to use for color filtering, resizing, and editing your pictures.  What pro editors do with these programs blows my mind.  Do you ever wonder how those influencers on Instagram make beautiful, consistent themes?  These programs are exactly how IGers achieve uniformity and professional looking shots.  Check out . Plus, scan over Adobe Spark for a new way to make Pinterest covers.

  • Although you can edit with apps, I prefer a desktop computer.  This tutorial and its screenshots are from my MacBook Air.  You can still follow along with your PC.
  • If you have trouble following my directions and screenshots, drop me a quick comment or message. As I learned more about Photoshop, articles gave me ideas. Don’t be afraid to play.

A Step-By-Step Guide For Superimposing Book Covers on Your eReader

OK, so an author/publisher/agent sent you their book cover for use in your blog and social media accounts. Check!

Between Two Minds Book CoverPinNew Wave by Jennifer Ann ShorePin

You took your usual #bookstagram shots with your eReader. Check! If you need more tips and tricks, check out these articles on how to start a Bookstagram and why start a book blog.

Now, you are unhappy with the blurry screen image in your #bookstagram shot.  Check! CHECK! Sigh.

TUL To The Rescue:

Below are my initial #bookstagram images.  I am going to use two different books and #bookstagrams for this tutorial.

The first picture shows you how to work with an easy blank canvas.

The second eReader picture has some flowers over the edge of the screen.

P.S. I chose to leave off the digital ebook covers to make this tutorial less confusing and to show what you can do with a blank eReader screen.

Photoshop Tutorial blank eReaderPin

Photoshop Tutorial For Book Bloggers eReader with flowersPin

Step 1: Open Photoshop CC (I am using a 2018 version) and open your book cover and #bookstagram files.

  • Open Photoshop.  You got this! Click File > Open.  Select your #bookstagram shot and the book cover.  You want both files open at the same time.

Step 2: Arrange your #bookstagram picture and book cover so that you can see both of them at the same time.

  • I like to see the images that I am working with next to each other instead of constantly switching windows.  To see all images select Window > Arrange > Float in Window. Move your windows side by side.
Photoshop Tutorial For Book Blogging Floating WindowsPin
I opened my #bookstagram image and the Between Two Minds book cover. I set up the images side-by-side to look like this.

Step 3: Use the Quick Selection Tool to select the area you want to be filled in on your eReader.

  • If your object/eReader/iPad is perfectly square/has straight edges, you may also use the Polygonal Lasso Tool located at the left of the Quick Selection Tool.
  • Using your tool of choice, select and outline the area that you want to paste your book cover into and hit Enter.
Screenshot of Adobe Photoshop quick selection tool with pen and lasso
The Quick Selection Tool is the bottom right paintbrush with the lasso. The Polygonal Lasso Tool is the half star to the left.

Photoshop Tutorial for book blogging Quick Selection ToolPin

Photoshop for Book Bloggers Selection ToolsPin

Step 4: Copy the second image to your clipboard (the book cover)

  • Click on the top of the book cover file.  Use the keyboard shortcuts to Select All: Command+A (Mac) or Ctrl+A (PC).  This command will place a dotted line box around your book cover.
  • Then, use the keyboard shortcuts to Copy: Command+C (Mac) or Ctrl+C (PC). This action copies your book cover to the clipboard. Your book cover should look like this:

Adobe Photoshop screenshot of selected Between Two Minds book coverPin

Photoshop tutorial for book blogging selected images side by sidePin

Step 5: Click back on your #bookstagram picture and paste the book cover into the eReader

  • Once your book cover is selected and copied, click back on your #bookstagram file.  Select File > Edit > Paste Special > Paste Into

Photoshop CC screenshot of Edit menu with paste specialPin

Step 6: Resize the image with Free Transform (it may paste funky)

  • Free Transform is located under Edit. You can also use the keyboard shortcuts Command+T (Mac) or Ctrl+T (PC)
  • When moving around your image, hold the shift key to maintain the picture’s original proportions.  You might need to tweak the cover to fit, though.  Hit Enter when you are ready to set your image in place.
Photoshop Tutorial for book blogging Free Transform ToolPin
See the funky paste? I need to resize this bad boy.

Step 7: Play around with the shadows (Optional)

  • This step is not a must.  However, I like to play around with my images and make them more natural.
  • On the bottom right of Photoshop, look for the tab that says Layers.  Click Fx. Under this menu, you will find options to play with Inner Shadow[s] and Inner Glow.  I don’t have any particular settings that I love but play around.  You will notice that you can make your eReader image look less flat with shadows and rounded edges.

Adobe photoshop cc tutorial to show fx menu and layersPin

Step 8: Resize and export/save

  • Smaller images with SEO keyworded file names is key for ranking in search results. Plus, small files keep your blog loading speed faster, which again is great for SEO.  Under Image > Image Size, I aim for image sizes around 600×900 pixels at the most.  I set the resolution around 80 pixels/inch and select Resample: Bicubic (smooth gradients).
  • Now your picture is ready to export and use.  Go to File > Export > Export As > Select PNG and Smaller File > Export All > Name your file including your SEO keyword

Photoshop CC screenshot of export as file settingsPin

 Step 9: Filter and edit in Lightroom classic CC (Optional)

  • I create my own filters in Lightroom.  Lightroom is what creates consistency in your brand and IG theme.  .
Blogging Tips For Book Bloggers PresetsPin
Click here to get my favorite presets.
  • I also love using Lightroom presets. Travel In Her Shoes has some of my favorites: Aggie’s presets are a great starting point to show you how you can play with grain, focus, colors, shadows, and highlights.  Aggie’s world-traveling pictures are gorgeous, and I love tweaking her settings to work for me.  You can check out Travel In Her Shoe’s presets packages here.

Photoshop Tutorial For Book Blogging Lightroom PresetsPin

And guess what?!  You made it!! We are DONE!!! Transferring a cover and resizing will eventually take you under 10 minutes.  Filters are up to you, though.  I get obsessive.

The final two #bookstagram pictures:

Bookstagram Ereader Tutorial New WavePin Bookstagram Photoshop eReader TutorialPin

I hope you find this tutorial helpful for how I make and edit #bookstagram and blog images.  Everyone has their own tricks and tips for using Photoshop. These are currently my steps and settings.  I will update this post as I refine my #bookstagram craft.

About The Books Used For This Tutorial:

New Wave by Jennifer Ann Shore is a brand new YA dystopian feminist fiction read.  Meet strong-willed, Mol, as she discovers her role in an authoritative society while falling in love.

Between Two Minds: Awakening by D C Wright-Hammer is the first book in a brand new science fiction series.  Imagine living in a world where if your body fails, you can migrate your mind into a handsome new vessel.

Thank you again to Jennifer and D C for letting me use their attractive covers!

Wondering what to read next?  Check out 67 blog post ideas for book bloggers.  Want to make money blogging? Don’t miss our Affiliate Marketing 101 For Book Bloggers.

Other Helpful Book Blogging Guides:

Book Blogging Tips Related PagePin
Looking for more book blogging tips? Get all of the tricks in this master book blogging post.
Bookstagram 101 Related PostPin
So you think you mastered those blurry digital books on your eReader? Time to move onto to #bookstagram. Learn how to create a badass #bookstagram here.


  1. I love this idea!! We mostly get ebooks because we’re usually abroad and it’s the reason why I haven’t really gotten into Bookstagram because e-readers look so boring. My next push is starting doing bookstagram so this is so so helpful. Thank you ^_^

    1. Ereaders do look so boring! I haven’t been styling as many flat lays or traditional bookstagram shots lately since they don’t do that well with travel (I post a lot of travel these days). I had to get more creative and bring the books to life in locations; that seems to be working better for my double niche. I do need to mix in a flat lay or two. I miss them! Thanks!

  2. This is so interesting and you explain things so easily! I’ve struggled with editing in the past and haven’t used PhotoShop for years (I was pretty nifty in College but those days are long gone..) Thank you for doing this tutorial, it is really useful!

    1. I am glad that this Photoshop tutorial was helpful! I wish I had formal Photoshop training in school. The program looks like an alien to me, but thankfully, I was able to master/play around with some key tricks. I need to learn more this year.

  3. 1. I am so glad to see someone mention copyright and permission!! My “day job ” involves managing intellectual property (rights, copyright, permissions, contracts), and I love it, but it’s truly a calling because most people HATE it. With the fiery burning passion of a thousand suns. However, I eat up anything IP-related like a sweet treat. And I REALLY get jazzed when I see someone mention how important copyright is and requesting permission is. Yay, rights!

    2. That Photoshop CC package sounds pretty great. I’ve heard of Lightroom before but didn’t know much about it. I still take and edit all my photos on my phone. It works well enough for now, but I know I’ll need to branch out a bit sooner rather than later. The package you describe sounds reasonable and helpful! Thanks!

    1. Copyright is so tricky sometimes too, especially for book bloggers. I think at the heart of book blogging (definitely not everywhere else), an author or publisher wants their title and cover out there–as long as it’s being portrayed accurately. And unlike other fields, if someone uses a cover that they thought they had permission for but the publisher is mad they are using, they’ll just ask you to take it down. Fair use always confuses me. With Amazon affiliate programs linking to book covers and Goodreads using covers with what I had read they don’t exactly have permissions for, it’s all over the place. NetGalley is a little wishy washy on their “media kit” and permissions…also not wanting to be liable but telling you it’s part of a kit to use.

      I love the Adobe Creative Cloud. There are some awesome apps for your phone, though, too that won’t add in the expense. If you ever jump over, let me know if you need help.

  4. I used Photoshop during the digital semester of Photography my senior year, so it’s been awhile haha. I remember liking Lightroom a lot more, as I enjoy the editing aspects of photo taking rather than having to add other effects. One day, I will master Photoshop to some extent, even if it’s just for meme making lol :’)

    1. I am SO jealous, though! I never had a formal Photoshop class, and I would LOVE one. It’s fun to learn on your own and self-teach yourself, but I bet it’s a lot faster in school.

      Lightroom is my favorite because it looks less alien and because you can play with colors. I am sucker for tones, lighting, and grain.

      Can’t wait to see your memes! Happy New Year!

  5. What a great tutorial! Seriously. I actually read it quickly while I was at the end of my lunch break at work and thought, Omg, I could never be this good! But, upon my second read, when I actually have time to read it carefully, I can see how you broke it up step by step in a way that’s so easy to follow. I’m intimidated by photoshop but that’s because I’ve never tried it! I need to use Lightroom too. I think my brother (who’s a photographer) has given me access to his account but I haven’t really checked to confirm that. I’m such a slacker! I was going to use Lightroom if I bought a real camera but for now I’ve just decided to upgrade my phone.
    Thanks again for your post! I will definitely have to bookmark it!

    1. If I can do it, anyone can! I grew up slightly older than the world of computers and having Adobe programs in school. I find all of them (esp Photoshop) greatly intimidating. There are so many buttons, options, and toggles. It’s frustrating and foreign a lot of the time. …But, after playing around and watching numerous tutorials, I appreciate the learning process. Each week, certain tasks become a little less alien. Even this post…it took me months to remember this pretty short process and get it right. Sometimes I couldn’t replicate the outcome. Now, I thankfully can.

      I use my iPhone for most pics. We do own a Canon, but someone really needs to teach me how to use it. I rely far too much on the auto settings. I like when IGers post their camera settings under a pic. It gives me an idea of how to play around…I just haven’t had the time or been able to make that a priority…yet. I am hoping the local library will offer free workshops one day. Heck, I’d pay too…photography is a serious skill.

      I hope your brother can teach you mad skills! That’s SO cool!

      Happy New Year! Here is me…not blogging on NYE ; ) XXxx

  6. Awesome tutorial! You have a way of explaining things that makes it look easy. It’s a great guide for beginners and intermediate’s unsure how to get this just right. Of course, it’s all about playing around and having fun on photoshop, which you emphasized.

    Thank you so much for the mention! I am so happy you’re loving the presets as much as I do!

    1. Hey! Thank you–I was worried that I wasn’t explaining any of this so well.

      Playing around is really key. I don’t think one person’s method ever fully works for someone else–but it sure helps and enhances the process. Adobe itself puts out great tutorials, which I need to go back and watch more of.

      I love having the presets as a guide–at first I was like OH CRAP none of them work for me. And they don’t—until I start playing around with the settings. They have taught me SO much (I can edit skin tone, exposure, grain, luminance), and once I know what adjustments to make, they are perfect for sharpening my images and creating uniformity. Definitely took my pic game to the next level and 200% worth it! I do think that some expect presets to be the magic answer, but you have to know how to play and alter them. Thank you SO much for the idea. It’s been amazing!

  7. Holy crap! I never thought to do that. I resigned myself to the fact that my ebook photos would be lackluster! I usually edit my bookstagram photos on my phone and I’ve been thinking about getting Lightroom and the Photoshop app so for this alone I think it would be worth it.

    1. I know, right? I am sure that I didn’t invent this idea, but one day I was just playing around…and then it was like, OHHHHH MYYYY GOSHHHH, I can just add the cover afterwards. I think that my authors actually appreciate this too because it makes their product look much more visible and appealing.

      I love Lightroom SO much for everything that I do blogging-wise. It’s fun to play with and transforms content to make it more professional. Plus, for about $10 a month, you get EVERYTHING from Adobe. That and Tailwind are my MUST yearly expenses. You can watch endless free youTube videos for guidance too.

  8. Oh man, I NEED to get Photoshop! Not that I’m a book blogger, but this is just reinforcing all the things I CAN’T currently do that I would like to be able to do for visuals on our blog!

    Plus, book blogger are not, these tips are great!

    And has anyone told you lately how fantastic your flatlays are looking?! Mine would be my kindle in a box with a handwritten note that says ‘please use your imagination!’

    1. Everyone needs to get Photoshop lol! I truly love it. You know that I’m 200% about being a real and authentic blogger–but my sometimes crappy pics need editing. With IG as such a visual platform, I know that I need to make sharpness and exposure adjustments and a few color edits/enhancements for a coherent theme. Plus, I am not a photographer so every little edit helps.

      I have used these tips and tricks for playing around with backgrounds too. Works the exact same way for travel.

      I’m glad that you found this helpful! Thank you, and Happy New Year!

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