By Jessica Huhn for DateAha!
Your profile pictures are your first impression on any dating site. Are you putting your best face forward? And more importantly, do those photos show the authentic you? Potential matches want to see who you really are. If they’re turned off by less-than-ideal photos, you’ve lost your chance for a match before they even have time to say “thank you, next!”
Here are 10 tips for selecting the best pictures for your dating profiles. Whether you’re using Match.com, Zoosk, Tinder, Bumble, OKCupid, or another site, these tips will help you get you more matches and help set you up for success in the long run.
1. Smile, Naturally
Choosing a main profile picture where you smile makes your profile look more inviting. And make sure your smile is genuine.
Interestingly, though, according to a Hinge report, the best way to smile in a profile picture differs for men and women.
- Women, show your teeth in a broad smile to get more likes.
- Men, bring out the “soft smile” without teeth for the most success.
2. Choose The Right Look
To look at the camera or not to look? The answer’s different for men and women.
- Women, you’ll have more success with photos where you look away from the camera.
- Men, look straight into the camera — eye contact is crucial.
3. Get Active
Love sports or physical activity? You’re in luck. Photos of you getting active will score you loads of success — according to Hinge, they get more likes than almost any other type of photo (75% more on average)!
If you’re not into sports, don’t fake it, but make sure you post candids (preferably outdoor ones). People want to see your interests, and photos like this might spark a meaningful conversation. Just avoid any photo on a beach, and don’t post drinking pics — we know you’re more original than that!
4. Stay Away From Selfies
No, really — potential dates do not want to see your selfies in the bathroom.
But don’t just step outside and start taking selfies, either.
- All selfies are a no-go because you have to hold the camera awkwardly, and because you have a sorely limited number of ways to pose.
- Call a photography-savvy friend instead and ask them to snap a few pics — or even hire a pro.
5. Pick Photos That Feature You And You Alone
- Make sure to stand alone for most of your profile photos, including all of your main ones.
- Don’t pick too many photos with friends — you want to make sure people can tell who you are. Limit yourself to 1 or 2 photos with other people.
- Leave out any photos with kids or pets.
- Most importantly, don’t post a picture with a friend who might look like a significant other! That’s a major turnoff that’ll stop you from receiving matches.
6. Honesty Is The Best Policy!
Don’t be afraid to show who you really are! People will feel duped, and get angry, if your photos don’t match your true self when you meet in person. This will probably cause you to lose your chance for a lasting relationship.
- Choose at least one full-body shot. Showing your whole body will get you more messages and replies to your messages. (Zoosk dating profile data showed a 203% increase in messages and a 33% increase in replies to those who posted full-body photos, compared to those who didn’t.)
- Make sure your eyes are visible and in focus. Don’t hide your face with a hat or sunglasses, or else people may think you’re hiding something else.
- This is common sense, but avoid photos that are more than a year old. Potential matches want to see exactly who you are in the here and now. So, say no to that 5-year-old photo!
- Remember: your self-confidence in embracing and showing who you are, flaws and all, will be worth way more in the long run!
7. Embrace Variety
Don’t post just one profile photo. That doesn’t give potential matches a good enough idea of who you are, and you definitely don’t want to keep them guessing. Instead, pick between 4 and 10 photos that show you in a variety of poses and settings.
8. Let Them See Your True Colors
Believe it or not, the colors you wear can impact the number of matches you get!
- Women, you’ll attract more interest if you wear red in some of your photos.
- Men, for more matches, choose a nice blue or black shirt for at least one photo (but make sure it’s not one with a wild print).
- Everyone, consider using a color “season” guide to help pick outfit colors that look best on you for your profile photos (based on eye color, hair color, and skin tone).
9. Shed Some Light On The Subject
Pick photos with the best focus and lighting.
- Make sure the images are not grainy or too dark.
- Don’t use your flash — that will make you look up to 7 years older, according to OkCupid!
- Opt for sunlight instead, as that will make your skin look smoother and clearer.
- And interestingly, the timing of the sunlight is key, too. OkCupid found that sunlit photos taken in the “golden hour” (the hour just before sunset) outperform all other naturally lit photos.
10. Most Filters Are A Faux Pas (But One Is Classy)
- Stay away from most social media filters (especially Snapchat ones), as they’ll create a super unnatural look.
- One exception: apply a simple black-and-white filter to a few photos for a more attractive, diversified profile.
Bringing Transparency To Dating Profiles
Now that you’ve read these photo tips and applied them to your own dating profile, let’s talk about people who are afraid to show who they really are in their profile photos.
What if you go on a date with someone you’ve matched with, and they’re totally different from what you saw in their pictures? What if they hid what they really look like with old or concealing photos? You might get mad (and rightfully so), but now you can alert others to this dishonesty.
It’s all thanks to DateAha!, a browser extension that lets you comment on top of any dating profile and reply to others’ comments. If you find out that your date’s profile photos are 5 years old, for example, and that he’s a lot less fit in person, you can anonymously leave this feedback for others to see, right on his profile.
This will encourage the wider dating community to show themselves honestly in their profile pictures because they’ll want to avoid negative feedback.
Learn more about DateAha! and join the movement for dating accountability here.