It’s no secret that in online dating, whether using a website or an app, making a good first impression is key. People can easily pass over your profile with the blink of an eye (or the swipe of a finger) if you don’t immediately grab their attention. Below are five rules of thumb for choosing your online dating photos. Pay extra close attention to #5.
1. The main profile picture should be a clear headshot of you.
If your main profile picture is either too far away or blurry, it will look like you’re hiding something… even if you’re not. You don’t want someone to click right past you because he or she simply can’t see what you look like, automatically assuming the worst. (It’s true—people are judgmental.) Let’s look at an example below from my favorite Broadway star, Idina Menzel.
2. Less is more
Believe it or not, some websites allow a whopping 26 photos in your profile! I only recommend three to five photos. I have no doubt that the pictures from your trip to Iceland are fantastic, but remember that there’s a time and a place for them, and that place is not an online dating site. Also, and most importantly, people have a tendency to look though all of your photos and dismiss you simply because they see just one they don’t like. Don’t give them that option. In the example below, our friend Josh Groban might be dismissed for his awkward webcam shots.
3. Have one “interesting” picture
It’s hard to know what to say to someone in that first email, isn’t it? This is why we need to provide some “email bait”—something to catch someone’s attention and generate questions. For example, if you have a picture of yourself with a crown on your head, it automatically raises the question, “Are you the prince of Agorthorophia?” (Well, you get what I’m saying.)
4. Be accurate
The point of doing online dating is to get offline. Don’t lie about your looks—people will always find out the truth in the end. It’s that simple.
5. Be by yourself in the shot… one is not the loneliest number in online dating.
This is your online dating profile. It’s not your friend’s, it’s not your sister’s, and it’s certainly not your ex-boyfriend’s (even if he is hot). For that reason alone, you want people to see only you. You’re already being compared to others on the site, so don’t give someone the opportunity to compare you to other people in your own profile. If you’re trying to show that you have friends or are social, just talk about the social things you do. And for men, if you are trying to say, “These attractive women will hang out with me, so you should, too,” it actually backfires, making us think it’s an ex you’re not over yet. People often ask about pets. As long as Fido is yours, by all means take a picture with him. But just one.
Now that you know the rules, get posting!