There are so many clichés about a good online dating photo: “A photo says a thousand words,” “your photo is your first impression,” etc. Well, cliché or not, they are true. Your online profile photos have to make a good first impression or you won’t catch the eye of someone online – sorry but that’s how it goes. Here are some tips from Claire Bahn, President of Online Profile Pros, for getting attention-grabbing dating photos, but please remember to go easy on the retouching.
- What You Wear Matters
Be yourself – wear clothes you love, take photos in a place you love. You don’t need to run out and buy new clothes for your shoot. The most important thing is to feel comfortable and “yourself” in the clothes you wear for the shoot. That said, please skip anything ill fitting, i.e. too big, too small, etc. or anything too casual and sloppy. We always find that if you dress like you’re going on a first date works best – remember your photo is the first impression. Most importantly, if you enjoy where you are or what you’re wearing, it will show in the photo.
- Don’t Play Where’s Waldo with Your Profile Photos
Don’t post photos with other people or pets, and don’t use props, like reading a book or knitting, or doing fake activity like swinging a racket when you’re not actually on a tennis court, or in standing in front of your car.
- Do Post an Eye-Catching Photo with Visual Interest.
This is a technique used for actor headshots. You can wear a pop of color, like a sweater or scarf; use a beautiful setting as your background or stand in front of an interesting wall or door. These techniques will catch someone’s eye and make them want to take a closer look.
- Don’t Be Shy
Don’t cover your face with sunglasses, a scarf, or even a mask (yes I’ve seen that too). Don’t try to be too arty or mysterious by making the viewer guess what you’re face looks like. All they will do is get turned off and move on to the next person. People will focus on your eyes first so make sure that they can see them clearly.
- Smile or Not to Smile
Well, that depends. A 2011 study showed that women are deemed as most attractive when they smile, while men were seen as least attractive when they smile. Men were seen as most attractive when they displayed “pride” or confidence. So guys, display confidence in your photos, but make sure it doesn’t read as “douche-bag.” Women, smile and show those pearly whites! Sometimes those scientists do know what they’re talking about.
- Skip the Selfie
Here’s the thing – while you might think a selfie makes you look “authentic,” the message that it really sends is that you’re too lazy to get a friend to shoot a couple of snaps of you or you don’t care enough about your personal brand to even try to work with a professional. These are not the messages you want to be sending. Use a real camera if you can, but a smartphone will do in a pinch. If you do hire a professional, hire an experienced dating profile photographer, they specialize in profile photos, so you won’t look like you went to Sears or Glamour Shots.
- To Retouch or Not to Retouch
Retouching is a slippery slope. If you have a distracting blemish or an odd shadow then retouching can save a photo that would otherwise be discarded. However, if you have a professional use the full power of Photoshop to transform the way that you look then all you’re doing is fooling yourself. As soon as you meet someone they will know you deceived them and most likely turn around and leave. Why waste your time and theirs? Be happy being yourself and you will find the person that is right for you.
Author: Claire Bahn
Claire Bahn, President of Online Profile Pros, formerly DatingHeadshots, runs the largest photographer network in the U.S. and Canada, specializing in online profile photos. Online Profile Pros, helps thousands of online daters create the perfect authentic online dating profile.