If you are single and thinking of diving into the world of online dating sites, you probably have a lot of questions. You’re probably wondering if it is safe, which is a great place to start. But you are also likely wondering what type of information to share. What is it about you that you will want to share with others? What are your most positive characteristics? What pictures of you should you post?
If you are like most people, that last question may have made you stop to think. Photos are absolutely the first thing that people scroll through when they land on your profile. After all, most sites have algorithms that are designed to match you with a particular profile based on your interests and certain characteristics. So, that hard work has already been done for you when you make an online connection. The photos though, are all on you.
Often times, people get concerned because it doesn’t appear as though anyone is checking out their profile. If you are concerned because you are not getting any smiles or winks, there is a good chance that your primary photo is not eye-catching enough. Your profile photo on an online dating site is your absolute first impression. If someone doesn’t like what they see, odds are that they will not move on to read more about your profile, which is unfortunate as you just might be the perfect match.
Take some time to get your profile photo right. And, you’ll know when it is right because you’ll start to see that people are actually paying attention and swiping right instead of left.
Tips to create the perfect online dating profile image
To be taken seriously in the world of online dating, you need to start by taking a serious profile photo. And we’re not saying that it needs to be a serious look, rather that you need to be thoughtful and take the process seriously. In the world of online dating, potential matches will be scrutinizing your photos. A weird crop may indicate that you are trying to cut out an ex. A photo with other friends including those of the opposite gender may raise questions. Your Facebook photo will be sure to disappoint. Your best primary photos is a clear shot of you, showing your shoulders and your entire head
No matter if you’re male, female, or other, your profile picture should create a positive reaction in the person who comes across your profile. In the world of online dating, you may be exposed to dozens, if not hundreds, of profiles each day. If someone doesn’t have an appealing photo, they are likely to be ignored. And unfortunately, there are some stereotypes and weird gender expectations and standards when it comes to evaluating a photo. For example, selfies that have been taken by a woman tend to be well regarded. But if a man takes a selfie, that isn’t quite the case. That said, don’t make this any harder than it has to be, and if you are really struggling to get a great photo, you may want to consider hiring a professional photographer. But, before you go the route of the professionals, consider these tips.
- Dress the part – We can’t emphasize this enough. Your clothes and the effort that you put into what you wear say a lot about you. For men, it is highly recommended that you take a photo in a suit, though a tie is not necessary. Or, a fashionable button-down shirt with turned-out patterned cuffs and a pair of designer jeans can be quite attractive. For women, a nice t-shirt, jeans, and heals can make for a great full-on body shot. But for a headshot, a nice solid print top with a complementary necklace will suffice. Of course, your hair and make-up should be done, but not overdone. You want to look nice, but you need to look like you.
- Consider your background – If you are taking a photo in your home, make sure that the space behind you is tidy (to that end, if you are making your way into the world of dating, you may want to tidy up regardless so that you are prepared if at some point your future match makes their way to your place). People of all genders can be quickly turned off when they see a messy home in the background, so pay attention and clean up first. Outdoor photos are also a great option, for men in particular. If you love being outdoors, consider a photo taken at your favorite hiking spot, or when you are out on the boat. Just make sure that you don’t need to squint into the sun when your photo is taken. And for your primary photo, ditch the sunglasses and let your potential match see your eyes and face.
- Surround yourself with great people – With most online dating sites, you will have the opportunity to post several photos. So first and foremost, make sure you have your own primary photo of just you, and then maybe another one or two solo shots. After that, feel free to share some photos of you with your friends. Be sure to avoid photos taken when you might be out on the town and getting a bit carried away – no need to suggest to a potential match that you have an alcohol problem, or worse. This all said, you need to be careful here too. For women, be careful about how many women you have in your photo, especially if you are all single (you can read between the lines on that one). For men, some photos with you and your buddies will likely be well regarded as women want to know that you have a social life and know how to have a good time.
- Leverage your best expression and look ‘em in the eyes – When you look directly into the camera, it demonstrates confidence but also makes it feel like you are right there in the room with them. Many people have said that the eyes are the windows to the soul, so be sure to look right at the camera and allow your potential match to view you that way. And smile, for real. This is an exciting time for you as you enter the world of online dating, so take the opportunity to show your enthusiasm by flashing those pearly whites. This is not the time to practice your funny faces. Smile big but not too big, and make eyes with that camera. Be present.
- Use the correct angles – Angles are important when capturing a solo image. If you are taking a selfie, hold your phone at eye level but angled facing just a bit down to get the best and most natural-looking shots. Do not try taking a photo with the camera below you or angled up, unless you want to have a photo showing a few extra chins. For women, if you are having someone else take the photo, you should cross your legs, bring your shoulders forward, and keep your hands close to your body. For men, keep your posture as straight as possible.
- Fido and Tigger are great photo companions – Don’t be afraid to have your dog or cat in one or two of your photos. As long as Fido or Tigger isn’t in all of your photos, your potential match will likely enjoy seeing you with your furry companions. Notice, however, that we said, furry companion. Online dating site profile photos are not the best place for photos with you and your beloved reptile. Save that information (and photo) for a bit further into the relationship.
- Get a high-resolution photo – Make sure that your photos have sharp lines and are not blurry. Though an added filter is fine, make sure that you do not add so much filtering or adjusting that the person on the other end of the computer or mobile device can’t really see you. If you are taking a selfie, use the main camera instead of the front camera. Whether taking a selfie or camera photo, do not try to add lighting with a flashlight – natural light is best. And no matter what you do, a pixelated photo is an absolute show-stopper (and not in a good way).
- Brush your teeth – Really, make sure that you have clean, white teeth for your photo. But even more than that, make sure that you are properly groomed. If you have a beard or facial hair, get a trim first. Take a shower, and put some time and effort into your looks. If you look like you haven’t bathed in days, you can be pretty confident that those matches won’t be flocking to your profile.
- Be yourself – Perhaps more important than anything, be yourself. If you would never wear a certain shirt or suit other than for this photo, then it isn’t the right choice for the photo. If you shaved your beard for the photo but have had a beard for as long as you can remember, then let it grow back before you take the photo (or don’t shave it – trim it, but don’t take it away). Make sure that your personality has the opportunity to shine through in these photos. Now is not the time to try to look like who you want to be. Be you, and not somebody else.
- Take a few different photos on different days – Let’s face it. There are some days where we are more photogenic than others. If you are taking your own photos, don’t be afraid to have more than one photoshoot. Then, after you have collected a variety of shot, ask a few close friends for their opinions on what works best. You may find that what you thought was going to look great, really didn’t. So, allow yourself an opportunity to try again.
By leveraging the above tips and tricks, you’ll be sure to create a profile photo that will cause potential matches to look again.