Celebrate Filing with 2021 Tax Day Freebies and Deals

So, let’s talk about how much we’re all totally looking forward to Tax Day even if this is the second year the feds have given us an extension.

Anybody? No? Well, the deadline will be here soon no matter how you feel.

Sure, the paperwork is annoying, deductions can be confusing, and you may end up owing a huge bill you didn’t expect.

Adding to the confusion the IRS has moved Tax Day, this year to May 17, 2021.

To ease the pain of Tax Day — and save your refund for another time — take advantage of some of these Tax Day 2021 freebies and deals!

Tax Day Freebies and Deals

We’ve scoured the internet to figure out what companies are offering deals, discounts, and freebies on Tax Day this year. Every little bit helps, right?

Retail Tax Day Deals

Most retailers offer discounts on specific tax software sold in-store, and others just offer great deals around Tax Day. We’ve rounded up the following general Tax Day deals in retail stores:

  1. Dollar General

The weekend before Tax Day, Dollar General is cooking up savings that are quite nice. Spend $25 pre-tax on or before 5/15/21, and you’ll save $5.

  1. Best Buy

Best Buy is offering up to 20% off tax software.

  1. Amazon

Buy TurboTax Deluxe for $10 off on Amazon and get a $10 Amazon gift card.

Tax Software/Filing Tax Day Deals

Talk about waiting until the last minute! If you still need help ahead of Tax Day, check out some of these deals on software and tax prep:

  1. TaxSlayer

Get 35% off your federal tax return, valid through May 17, 2021.

  1. TurboTax

Get $20 off TurboTax through May 15, 2021.

  1. H&R Block

Get 20% off H&R Block online tax filing products through May 31, 2021.

  1. TaxAct

Get 20% off your federal tax return, valid through Oct. 30, 2021.

  1. E-File

Get 40% off tax filing through E-File.com, valid through May 21, 2021.

Food and Drink Tax Day Deals

Celebrate the end of tax season with a free meal or a free round of drinks. Here are some of the best 2021 Tax Day freebies for food and drink:

  1. WOWorks

The WOWorks family of restaurants is new to the scene but is hitting the ground running with Tax Day discounts at all of its brands, including The Simple Gree, Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh, Frutta Bowls and Saladworks. On Tax Day only, you can get your favorite entree for just $5.17.

  1. Kona Grill

On May 17, relax with a drink (or two!) at Kona Grill, where you can get up two House, Skinny or Watermelon Margaritas for just $10.40.

Get it? 1040? Don’t worry, you’ll stop seeing those numbers in your dreams soon enough.

  1. Great American Cookies

Got a sweet tooth? Check out Great American Cookies for one free original Chocolate Chip Cookie on May 17.

  1. Marble Slab Creamery

Is ice cream more your thing? The sister brand to Great American Cookies is offering a free Regular Ice Cream when you buy another Regular or a Best Value Ice Cream. Again, this is only good on actual Tax Day 2021.

Miscellaneous Tax Day Deals

  1. Bumper

When shopping for a used car, it’s a good idea to get a vehicle history report. CARFAX is not the only name in the business; from May 12 through May 19 of this year, Bumper.com is offering 20% off vehicle history reports for anyone using that tax refund to buy a used car.

  1. Southwest Airlines

If you have a Southwest Rapid Rewards account, login and click the link for TurboTax. If you file using that link, you’ll earn 1,000 points.

  1. Straight Talk

Get massive savings on a new phone during tax season. Straight Talk has insane Tax Day discounts on the Samsung Galaxy A51 (save $200), LG Stylo 5 ($100 off) and more.

Potential Tax Day Deals

In previous years, we wrote about some of these Tax Day deals. We’re cutting it close to 5/17, yet these brands haven’t updated their promos as of yet. It’s worth checking their sites in the coming days, however, to see what Tax Day freebies you may find:

  1. Boston Market previously offered two delicious Tax Day specials. You could get the rosemary lemon chicken meal with a beverage for $10.99 or a half-chicken individual meal complete with two sides, cornbread, a regular beverage and a cookie for just $10.40.
  2. Bruegger’s Bagels previously offered a $10.40 Big Bagel Bundle deal, plus 20% off catering orders for pickup or delivery with the code “twentyoff.”
  3. California Tortilla used to turn into a taco speakeasy. The password “chippin’ in” while ordering on Tax Day got you free chips and queso with any purchase.
  4. Cinnabon is known for giving out free treats with its Tax Day Bites promotion; however, the promotion varies by location, so be sure to check with your nearest Cinnabon before rushing out to cure that sweet tooth.
  5. Chuck E. Cheese before gave parents a Tax Day break with some food and fun. They could get a large cheese pizza for free with the purchase of any large pizza – and if you said “I need a fun break,” you could get 50 free tickets as part of the spring break promotion.
  6. Firehouse Subs offered a free medium sub with the purchase of a medium or large sub, chips, and a drink.
  7. Hardees had breakfast covered last Tax Day – all you had to do was stop by before 10 a.m. to enjoy a free sausage biscuit.
  8. Hot Dog on a Stick once gave one free Original Turkey Dog or Veggie Dog to every customer.

If there’s one thing more American than taxes, it’s hot dogs.

  1. Kona Ice once dubbed Tax Day “National Chill Out Day.”

Its motto? “No taxation without relaxation!” Swing by your favorite location for a free shaved ice.

  1. Noodles & Co. has previously had a “File Online, Order Online” deal for $4 off your order of $10 or more if you order online or via their app and use the promo code.
  2. Schlotzky’s treated guests to a free small original sandwich with the purchase of a drink and a bag of chips at participating locations on Tax Day – no coupon required.

And its “Original” is anything but ordinary: It’s got ham, two kinds of salami and three kinds of cheese. Three kinds of cheese, guys.

  1. Sonic Drive-In has, in the past, offered half-price cheeseburgers all day long on Tax Day. What better way is there to eat your feelings about Tax Day, aside from washing it all down with half-price shakes, floats and ice cream slushes if you visit after 8 p.m.
  2. Sonny’s had a cheeky deal for Tax Day: The IRS (that’s Irresistible Ribs Special), a rib dinner plate, was half-price.
  3. Tony Roma’s was “writing off” some kickin’ shrimp in a previous tax season. Guests who presented the offer received a coupon for an order of kickin’ shrimp to use on their next visit.

If you’re a member of the Tony Roma’s Email Club, you may receive the coupon in your inbox prior to Tax Day.

15. Hydromassage and Planet Fitness teamed up to gently melt your troubles away with a Tax Day promotion for a free massage.

Free massage? Yes, please!

16. The Hand and Stone Spa offered a “Relax the Tax” sale on a -hour introductory massage starting at $39.95 — and with over 300 locations across the U.S., it’s likely you’ve got one nearby.

  1. Zeel offers in-home and on demand massage in over 85 cities and regions. During a previous tax season, it gave first-time customers $20 off their first massage for the entire month of April.

Because leaving the house after you file your taxes is so overrated.

Contributor Timothy Moore has written about personal finance with specialities in banking and insurance since 2012. His work has appeared in publications such as The Penny Hoarder, Debt.com, Ladders, WDW Magazine, Glassdoor and The News Wheel.

Source: thepennyhoarder.com

EverQuote Can Help You Pay Final Expenses for as Low as $26/Mo

Did you know it can cost $7,000 to $15,000 to cover funeral costs and other final expenses? Your loved ones shouldn’t have to pay thousands out of their own pockets to cover outstanding credit card debt, medical bills and memorial services.

If you’re between the ages of 50 and 85, there’s an answer for this: a final expense life insurance policy. These policies pay out to your beneficiaries in just a few days, so don’t try to cover those expenses in your last will and testament. Wills take weeks or months to fully settle.

Getting life insurance used to be complicated and time-consuming, but thanks to websites like EverQuote, it’s easier and more affordable than ever. You’ll be able to quickly see all of your life insurance options at once, helping you make the best choice.

No in-person medical exam is necessary. Final expense policies range from $5,000 to $30,000 in value. You could get $10,000 in coverage for as little as $26.08 per month.*

There are no hidden fees and no monthly payment increases. As long as you make your payments on time, your coverage can’t be canceled or reduced in value.

Get Up to $1M in Life Insurance Coverage

EverQuote is an online marketplace that helps people find life insurance. Do you need term life, whole life or final expense coverage? EverQuote will walk you through the process to find the right amount of coverage for you.

Even if you think you don’t qualify for life insurance, EverQuote can help find a policy for you. They’ve already helped more than 5 million people figure it out.

You’ll need to fill out a pretty detailed form, but it’s all important information to make sure you get the most accurate quote. Do you smoke? Are you an avid sky-diver? Once you answer these questions, you’ll be connected to a licensed insurance agent, who will find the coverage that makes the most sense for you.

You can leave your family up to $1 million in term life insurance, and rates start as low as $7 a month**. So whether you need it for 10 years, 30 years or your whole life, EverQuote can find the right policy for you and your budget. Get started here — it just takes a few minutes.

*Rate for final expense coverage is for a 50-year-old non-smoking woman.

**Rate for term life insurance is for a 30-year-old non-smoking woman.

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Source: thepennyhoarder.com

Micro Wedding Is Sign of the Times

Micro weddings have become ultrachic in the time of coronavirus. These smaller weddings allow you and your future spouse to exchange your vows, enter into a legal relationship and get access to each other’s health insurance all while living through these socially-distanced times.

What Are Micro Weddings?

A micro wedding is generally a wedding with less than 50 guests. In the before times, micro weddings were often a cost-cutting measure as the most effective way to cut your budget is to cut your guest list.

When you cut your guest list, you’re cutting down on the amount of space you’ll need at the venue. Simultaneously, you’re cutting down on the costs of food, alcohol and favors.

During the time of Coronavirus, micro weddings are helpful to your health as well as your wallet. You may even want or be required to cut your guest list further than the normal standard of 50 guests.

Planning a Micro Wedding

When you’re planning a micro wedding the first thing you’ll want to start with is your guest list. You may only want your closest friends and family there for your big day. Or, in this time of pandemic, you may only want it to be the two of you and the officiant. In some states, you can even eliminate the officiant via a self-uniting marriage.

Whether you have a handful of guests or just the couple at your micro wedding, venues and vendors across the wedding industry have many ways to help you share your big day while saving money.

Get Creative with the Venue

Because you have a smaller guest list, your venue doesn’t need to be nearly as large. Your favorite art gallery might be renting out space, or you might be able to book a private room at your favorite restaurant. If a venue had a minimum guest count prior to 2020, those minimums have likely been reduced or eliminated altogether.

If you are absolutely set on having a larger wedding despite the pandemic, you could book your local park or another outdoor venue to make the event safer. Be sure to remind your guests that they still need to wear masks and observe the 6-foot rule even though the event will be taking place outside.

Newly weds get married as hot air balloons are released all around them on top of a mountain.
Getty Images

Destination Weddings

You may have a bit of pent up wanderlust, dreaming of a destination wedding. Destination weddings are usually micro weddings. Because you or your guests will have to pay for extra expenses like hotel rooms and travel costs, the number of people who can attend usually becomes inherently smaller.

There are certainly some Caribbean destinations that are allowing Americans to visit during the pandemic, and some of the resorts are offering great deals. But despite more and more Americans getting vaccinated, many people are still avoiding air travel. Be prepared for some guests to decline your invitation if air travel is involved.

Instead of air travel, you can either commit to a long road trip through locales where the infection rate is low, or pick a venue within convenient driving distance. Traveling in your car with other members of your bubble is a far safer way to get from point A to point B.

Remember that even if you’re fully vaccinated, there is still potential for you to spread the virus to your guests, your hosts and anyone else you may come into contact with. The more the virus spreads, the more likely it is to harm the unvaccinated, even if those unvaccinated people aren’t in your immediate circle.

Allowing the virus to spread like this also provides it with increased opportunities to mutate into vaccine-resistant variants, which could force us all into lockdown again until boosters for new strains are available.

Invest in Quality Videography

Maybe you never dreamt of having a micro wedding. You might even be upset that you can’t have a huge party with your family and friends.

One way to help soften the blow of having a micro wedding during the pandemic is to share your big day with quality videography. You can either livestream your ceremony or hire a videographer to document the celebration.

Because business has been slower and videography has new importance during the pandemic, some venues and videographers are offering discounts on these services.

Curbside Tastings

The mere fact that you’re feeding less people at your micro wedding means you can spend less on your wedding cake and any catering your micro wedding may require.

During the pandemic, some bakeries, restaurants and caterers are offering curbside tastings to ensure everyone’s safety.

Drive-By Wedding Visits

Maybe in normal times, your sister would have been your matron of honor, but she has a disabled child who is high-risk. Even though you are both vaccinated, her child is not. She can’t risk exposing herself to even asymptomatic cases of the virus as she could unknowingly pass them on to her child.

You still want her to be a part of your big day. If she lives within driving distance, you could schedule a drive-by visit prior to the micro wedding ceremony. Either she and hers could drive by your place, where you’d be on display in your gown or tux, or you could drive by her place, stepping just outside the car to show her how good you look while keeping a masked distance of well over six feet.

It’s not the same. It’s still incredibly sad that she can’t be there, and you might even want to consider postponing your wedding until she can attend. But if the show must go on, these drive-by visits can still provide you both with a special memory from your special day.

Include Remote Readings

If you’re having a Zoom micro wedding, even those who cannot attend can participate in your ceremony. In the case of your sister, she may perform a reading or conduct a prayer through the screen. You can customize your ceremony any way you see fit, using your creativity and the power of the internet to make your micro wedding all that much bigger.

Micro Wedding Ideas for a Smaller Guest List

When planning a micro wedding, you may find that you have a bit of a budget surplus because of these cut costs. Both the budget surplus and the fact that you’ll have far fewer guests at your wedding allow you to get creative and a little more personal with the finer details of micro wedding planning.

Hand sanitizer and face masks are set out for guests to use during a wedding reception.
Getty Images

Wedding Favors

The following are a few favor ideas you might consider for your micro wedding, depending on your budget and your wedding’s theme. The dollar signs are meant to show you the relative expense but the exact dollar amount of each is based on your own budget.

  • Masks. ($-$$) Masks can be custom-printed with names and wedding date, nodding to the extraordinary times we’re all living in while giving your guests a functional gift they’ll be able to use in their day-to-day lives. You may even want to make these favors available to guests upon arrival rather than at the end of the celebration. That way if anyone forgot to bring their mask, they’ll literally be covered.
  • Hand sanitizer. ($) You can find plenty of beautiful yet affordable options for custom-printed hand sanitizer right now. Instead of the “Germ-X” label, your label will include your names, the wedding date and perhaps some adorable quote about love. This is another good favor to make available to your guests upon arrival.
  • Fauci-approved smooches. ($) Want to DIY your micro wedding favors? One cute idea is to get a glass jar, fill it with Hershey Kisses, and affix a label that reads “Social Distance Kisses.”
  • Flip flops. ($-$$) If you plan on driving to the beach for your destination wedding, flip flops can make a great wedding favor. If guests forget about the sand and wear fancy shoes to your celebration, they’ll appreciate the option to switch to beach-friendly attire upon arrival. Because your guest count is small, you can ask each guest for their shoe size beforehand so everyone is accurately accounted for. You can also go the extra mile and order custom flip flops with your names and wedding date printed on them.
  • Custom luggage tags. ($$$) This option is a little more expensive, but if you find yourself with extra padding in your wedding budget you may decide they’re worth it. Luggage tags can serve as a token of hope that life will go back to normal soon and we won’t have to stress as heavily should we have to get on a plane and traipse through the airport.

Guest Book

Similarly, because micro weddings have so few people in attendance, you can use creative ideas for a non-traditional guest book. Your guest book can then be integrated in your day-to-day married life.

Here are some ideas that can be customized to any micro wedding budget:

  • Picture frame. ($-$$$) When you get your wedding pictures back from the photographer, there’s likely to be one photo that just blows you away. Before the wedding, purchase a frame where you can display that much-anticipated picture. Buy a frame with a removable mat. Then, you can have your guests sign the mat in lieu of a guestbook on your wedding day. Their well-wishes can be displayed in your home alongside your favorite wedding photo.
  • Ornaments. ($-$$$) Have you ever known someone who has a tradition of picking up a Christmas ornament on every vacation? Their tree then reminds them of all the journeys they’ve enjoyed. You can do a similar thing for your wedding day — especially if you have a small guest list. Instead of a guestbook, provide ornaments and paint pens coordinated with your wedding colors. Each guest will sign one. Every year, you can display your wedding-day memories on your tree, remembering those who were there with you.
  • Tiles or stepping stones. ($-$$$) Are you and your soon-to-be spouse remodeling? Or doing some landscaping work? If so, you can integrate your wedding day into your design plans. For instance, if you’re doing interior repairs and plan to lay tile, you can put out some tiles at your micro wedding in lieu of a guest book. Each guest would then sign one, and you could integrate your guest book into your home. If you’re doing outside work, you could have each guest sign a wet stepping stone, even adding their handprint if they want to. You can then integrate these stepping stones into your garden.

Stationary

Things are a lot more hopeful right now with somewhat improved vaccine distribution, but there are still so many unknowns. As you plan your micro wedding during uncertain times, you might want to familiarize yourself with some Corona-era additions to the wedding stationary world:

  • Change-the-date announcements. Change-the-date cards are now incredibly common for wedding postponements. Just like wedding invitations, these cards range from cute and witty all the way to incredibly formal. You can look for a template that matches the tone of your wedding day.
  • Virtual wedding invitations. Maybe you’re doing your part by giving the virus as few opportunities to mutate as possible. That’s why you’re doing a Zoom micro wedding with just the two of you plus your officiant. Paper invitations to your wedding are still a beautiful touch, but the most convenient way to invite your guests to livestream the event is through a virtual invitation. With virtual invitations, your guests will have access to a clickable link where they can participate in your ceremony live.
  • Elopement announcements. Whether you elope or simply choose not to announce to anyone but your micro wedding guests that you’re getting married, after-the-fact wedding announcements are a good way to include family and friends. Prior to the pandemic, these were commonly used for elopements, so you can find plenty of templates online even if they predate 2020. But you can also find pandemic-specific announcements whether you eloped or did, indeed, plan and have a few guests. Ideally, this announcement will contain a link to a wedding website where friends and family can view either pictures or video of your celebration after the fact.

It can be hard to break it to family or friends that they are either not invited or are uninvited to your wedding. But you are not the only one going through this situation. The silver lining is that because so many couples have faced the same circumstances, there are plenty of templates online and professionals who have worded the same sentiment for numerous clients. You don’t have to stress about the wording on your own.

Brynne Conroy is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder. She blogs at Femme Frugality.

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Source: thepennyhoarder.com

3 Easy Ways to Get Free Meals for Kids While School’s Out

A little boy recieves food in a bag from a bus driver.


A Jefferson County School District student receives several bags with meals, Wednesday, March 3, 2021 in Fayette, Miss. As one of the most food insecure counties in the United States, many families and their children come to depend on the free meals as the only means of daily sustenance. Rogelio V. Solis/AP Photo

Millions of families struggle with food insecurity every summer when school is out. Income loss due to the pandemic has only exasperated the situation.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) up to 12 million children are currently living in households where they may not have enough to eat.

If you’re worried about how to put food on your family’s table, help is out there.

How to Get Free Meals for Kids This Summer: 3 Federal Programs

The American Rescue Plan — the coronavirus relief package President Joe Biden signed into law in March 2021 — provided funding to expand several USDA programs aimed to reduce child hunger.

1. Pandemic EBT

Families with children eligible for free or reduced lunch and those who qualify for SNAP benefits can receive extra money for food via the Pandemic EBT program, which is being extended through the summer to make up for missed school meals.

The USDA standard benefit amount is $375 per eligible child over the course of the summer. Those living in Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam or the U.S. Virgin Islands have a higher standard benefit.

You’ll need to enroll in the Pandemic EBT program through your individual state, as funds are disbursed at the state level. Currently, 40 states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, have been approved to operate Pandemic EBT programs.

Money is generally distributed in two or three disbursements throughout the summer.

2. USDA Summer Meals

All families with children 18 and under can participate in the USDA’s summer meal programs, which partners with local agencies including libraries, community centers, parks, churches and schools to distribute meals.

Program rules have been loosened so that meals can be distributed in bulk packages to cover multiple days and so parents can pick up the food without having their children present.

This interactive map helps you find local meal distribution sites. You can also locate a nearby site by texting “Summer Meals” to 97779 or calling 1-866-348-6479.

3. USDA National Hunger Hotline

The USDA National Hunger Hotline can help families seeking food assistance. Call 1-866-3-HUNGRY (1-866-348-6479) Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. E.T. to reach the hotline. If you need assistance in Spanish, call 1-877-8-HAMBRE (1-877-842-6273).

Free Meals Next School Year

Even after summer comes to an end, families will still be able to get a financial break when it comes to feeding their kids.The USDA is extending its National School Lunch Program Seamless Summer Option so that students can receive universal free lunch throughout the 2021-2022 school year. Waivers will also be given to provide free meals for kids in daycare and preschool programs.

If students are still learning virtually, you’ll be able to pick up meals for children to eat at home. Check with your child’s school or child care provider to see if they are participating in this program.

Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.



Source: thepennyhoarder.com

7 Tips on How to Take Pictures of Items to Sell

The axiom “photo, photo, photo” may be to online selling what “location, location, location” is to real estate.

To put it simply: knowing how to take pictures of items to sell online has almost as much of an impact on your success as the actual object. It’s the presentation, the first way a shopper sees your product.

Often, entrepreneurs who start an online business aren’t photographers. Sometimes, they don’t even have a background in a creative industry and it’s unlikely they will have camera equipment beyond their smartphones. They’re passionate about their businesses selling vintage clothing or refurbishing vintage furniture, but they’re self-taught. For many, the internet has been their teacher.

Pro Advice on How to Take Pictures of Items to Sell Online

But don’t worry, we’re about to let you in on some tips to make bank on. We consulted with the pros so you don’t have to do all of that legwork. Instead, let two eCommerce gurus guide you through the art of putting your best foot forward — photographically speaking, that is.

1. Decide What Style Photography You Want

Before Christine Soojung Han of Vintage Sooj even shoots a photograph, she asks herself some philosophical questions. What is she trying to achieve with this photograph? What is she hoping to emulate or what kind of mood does she want to evoke? In essence, what story is she telling with the photograph.

With clothing, much of that comes down to style: do you want something moodier with shadow or do you want crisp and clean images? Is this a stylized portrait or is this simply about the clothes? Researching and having a style of image in mind that you want to achieve makes it easier from the outset.

You don’t have to have fancy equipment to start: smartphone cameras work fine.

2. Find the Right Background. Be Consistent.

Aesthetically oriented social media sites like Instagram show images in a grid pattern, so it’s important to have a background that you can replicate each time. If you’re at a friend’s house when inspiration strikes, consider whether you’ll be able to return to their house each time to shoot a new product. The answer is probably not.

Both Han and Sara Chen of the upcycled furniture company Sara Chen Design suggest keeping the background clean and neutral. Chen uses white walls as her backdrop, but in the last year, she has spruced it up by adding board and batten wood paneling to her staging wall. Chen has a space in her house specifically designated for staging, a luxury not everyone has.

Han, who started her business in a tiny apartment, began taking photos with a bedsheet as her background. That got tedious because she had to steam the wrinkles out each time. Now, she uses color paper backdrops that she bought cheaply from a photographer who was looking to downsize equipment. Examples of Han’s backgrounds can be studied on Etsy. Scroll through the pages to see where she used bedsheets.

“You see people use printed backgrounds or landscapes, but I think, no matter what you decide to use, it shouldn’t be distracting, because you want the attention to be on the clothing,” Han said.

Chen echoes the same premise for furniture.

“Avoid a crazy wallpaper wall,” she said. “That’s not for everybody and it really becomes a distraction. You want to be able to look at your furniture and not your wallpaper.”

3. Lighting Matters

Lighting was the first piece of advice that Chen offered. Finding the right place in your home is a matter of finding south-facing windows and, ideally, more than one window. You want to have lots of natural light. How the light comes through your window will change by season and time of day.

Chen doesn’t like to use artificial lighting, because she finds it changes the color of the furniture in photos.

Han found natural light to be too fickle. She started out with simply soft sunlight, but that was too dependent on the weather. So she bought soft boxes for light and studio lighting for about $100 and that upgraded her lighting set-up.

4. Stage Your Photograph

When Han first started, she used props in some of her photos, like pampas grass or a stool. She found the props to be distracting, so now she models the clothes in most of her photos and adds accessories to the outfits. She doesn’t want to take attention away from the product itself.

For Chen, staging is pivotal to creating a lived-in scene with her furniture. The important thing with staging is to strike a balance between domestic beauty and distraction. Chen suggests simple objects like a round mirror or a couple of white or black-covered books. She always likes to have vases on hand to hold flowers cut from her garden.

5. Capture the Details of Your Items

When it comes to furniture product photos, Chen says, capturing the details is key. What makes your piece special? Take a photo of that. Examples of Chen’s clean photo styling can be studied on Instagram.

Chen takes photos to show how deep a dresser drawer is or what the top surface looks like. She shares photos of the furniture legs and hardware, because that can make a difference to a buyer and is often another aspect of her design. If she can add a video, she does. A video gives people the sense of the full scope of an item and what it looks like in natural daylight.

6. Edit Your Photos

Chen’s photos might sound perfect from the first take. But there is a lot of work involved. Part of that is in the editing. Chen uses the Adobe Lightroom editor as her image editing app. She finds the platform easy to use. In editing, Chen can adjust the lighting and the effects to make it look just as it does in real life, rather than to make it look better or more beautiful.

7. Use Multiple Photos

Chen would post as many photos as possible if she could, but social media sites limit how many photos a seller can post. Chen’s adage is: take as many photos as possible. More photos offer more details and more chances for someone to fall in love with your item.

Photos Make a Difference

Both Han and Chen say photos have made a difference in attracting buyers. Han will often reshoot a piece that hasn’t sold after some time. She might try different lighting or a different background to highlight the piece. Once she posts that new photo, she can usually sell the item right away.

Chen calls taking a good photo “50% of the work.” She recently bought a dresser online for $50. Although Chen usually sands, paints and refurbishes the furniture she sells, this piece was in such good shape that she did nothing to it. She took some well-lit and aesthetically appealing photos and sold it for $595. She made almost $550 off of the dresser with little additional work.

“Photos make such a big difference,” Chen said. “You need to take time to take better photos if you want to sell for more money.”

Elizabeth Djinis is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder.

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Source: thepennyhoarder.com