Online Dating Photos: Your Guide To What They are, How To Present Yourself, What To Avoid and What Your Photos Reveal About You
The recent explosion in online dating has caught many off guard with little to no etiquette to follow. Unflattering photos can hurt your chances of meeting that special someone online. I recommend clients approach online dating like job-hunting: would you submit a poor resume to a potential employer? No, so don't post unflattering photos. Here is my list of No No’s to avoid.
1) Do not post photos with exes. (Obvious, but you would be surprised how many people post photos with exes or possible cropped out exes.)
2) Stay away from selfies. (Especially gym selfies, car selfies, and bathroom selfies. Unless you have an epic selfie on top of a mountain peak, ski lift, or with a celebrity, just say no to selfies)
3) Avoid Cliche Fish Photos. Women will assume the larger the fish, the smaller the tackle : )
4) Hold off on photos with your kids. (It is great you love your children but simply listing you have children in your profile is enough for now.)
5) Avoid profile photos with sunglasses and hats. (People want to see your eyes and face.) If you must, go ahead and use one only.
6) Avoid group shots unless you specifically mark who you are in the lineup. (People don't want surprises nor switch-a-roo.)
7) No duck-faces nor Snapchat filters (no explanation needed)
8) Stay away from photos without you in the photo! This is a dating website, not your portfolio gallery.
9) Avoid staged portrait photos and corporate headshots. These are often stiff, lifeless and are easily identifiable as being staged.
10) Avoid extremely small, distant, blurry and dark photos. (People want to see you and how you look like, not a silhouette.)
11) Avoid looking too intense in photos - Read this guide for more info
There are always exceptions to the guidelines above. Using one or two of the above photos will not ruin your chances for success but if most of your photos fall into one of the items above well you will have a harder time getting people to look past your photos. Now that I got all those out of the way, you may be wondering, what can I use? You want photos that put you in the best light and that represent who you are. Photos that are understated, silly, self-deprecating and candid are highly recommended. Here are my recommendations:
1) Photos of you smiling or laughing . Candid and embarrassing photos are great. It shows you know how to let go, poke fun of yourself and have fun! Authenticity conveys confidence.
2) Photos of you doing what you love — do you love dancing? hiking? dressing up? Show it!
3) Ask someone to take a photo of you. It is easier to ask a stranger to take a photo of you while on vacation / touristy place of interest.
4) Look for photos from events online. If there is an event you attended recently (sporting, professional, social etc.), you can probably find photos online.
5) Use a variety of shots (3–6 total photos should suffice). 1 up close-up, 1 action photo, 1+ travel photo and 1 candid photo can round out your profile.
6) Use photos that will engage suitors, invite them to inquire about the backstory behind the photo. Where is that view of? What event was this photo taken at?
7) Label photos with a caption as needed. (i.e. friends, babies, others or the situation). Is that your child? Who is your hot friend? Is that your ex? Your ability to write a captivating caption vs. stating mundane can help make you more interesting.
8) Include at least 1 full body photo and show your face. If all your photos are headshots, 1/4 body or from the side, people might assume you have something to hide.
9) Make sure all photos are recent i.e. 2-3 years old. You should be proud of who you are today and how you look today.
10) Would you be ok showing these photos to friends, family members or colleagues? Not a perfect test but if you are too shy or embarrassed by your photos to show people around you, what makes you think you should show it to strangers?
Remember it is better to have fewer, higher quality photos than have that one extra unflattering photo (you are only as attractive as your worst photo). For a complimentary dating profile review - apps, photos, bio - contact me today For additional advice with writing a bio and selecting apps, check out this FAQ.