How to choose your profile picture

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Choose profile picture

Wondering how to choose the perfect profile picture? Check out our top tips on what to look out for when trying to find the ideal photo for your online dating profile 

So, you’ve done everything right. You’ve given thoughtful responses to the Relationship Questionnaire, crafted your profile, and thought carefully about your likes and dislikes. Your dating profile showcases everything that’s great about you. But why isn’t your inbox lighting up with messages from your matches?

Chances are, your profile is missing one key element: the perfect profile picture. Appearances definitely aren’t everything but photos do help people decide whether they might be attracted to someone or not. The good news is that it tends to have less to do with the way someone looks than with the photo itself.

Why is your online dating profile picture so important?

First impressions count, in real life and online. In the same way that an attractive stranger may catch your eye from across a room, someone’s profile photo is the first thing you notice about them. A great photo can attract someone instantly but a bad one can turn them off straight away. It’s a snap judgement but it prevents them getting to know more about you. You could be completely compatible with someone but you may never know because their photo puts you off!

Think about the kind of person you’re trying to attract. We’re guessing that’s someone warm, open, honest, genuine and thoughtful. While you can’t determine all these qualities from a picture alone, you’ll definitely be able to tell pretty quickly whether someone is truly present and interested in attracting others.

What makes for a bad online dating profile picture?

1. Fuzzy or bad-quality photos

Any photo where you can’t really make out the person’s face is a definite no-no. Whether it’s because the picture is out of focus, the resolution is too low, or you’re suffering from glowing red eyes, it shouldn’t be on your profile.

2. Selfies

Selfies might be okay for your Facebook page but not for your dating profile. The same goes for pictures taken in the bathroom mirror. Firstly, it makes it look like you don’t really go anywhere with anyone or do anything interesting. Secondly, it’s difficult to get a good angle when taking a selfie. Avoid that unflattering mirror shot by asking a friend to take your photo, or invest in a camera with timer.

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3. Keep your clothes on

You may think that showing off your figure will win you lots of attention from matches, but the opposite tends to happen. Users whose picture features them topless or under-dressed (say, in a swimsuit at the beach, or fresh from the gym) tend to get fewer visits from matches. Leave a little to the imagination for now.

4. Why the long face?

Avoid using photos where you look stern, aggressive, or unhappy. Why would you want to seem grumpy to someone you haven’t even met yet? If you’re in doubt about whether to post that moody shot or not, ask a friend for their objective opinion.

5. Photos with someone else

Your main photo should feature you and you only. Don’t include exes, best mates, random people in a bar. And don’t just crop someone out of the photo in the hopes that no-one will notice. People do and it makes it look like you’re trying to hide something. Stick to solo shots.

What makes for a good profile picture?

1. Flash those pearly whites

A smile is the most attractive quality in a person, in real life and in photos. Think about the matches you’re drawn to immediately. Are they all smiling, happy people? There’s more than one way to smile too. If you don’t like showing your teeth, find a smile that works for you – just make sure it’s a genuine one.

2. Look like someone you’d want to meet

Photos that show someone looking friendly and approachable tend to be the most successful. If you look open and engaging, people will want to speak to you.

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3. All-natural

Let your profile picture show you as you are. Opt for natural make-up and avoid heavy filters.

4. Good lighting

A well-lit photo can make a world of difference. A photo taken outdoors or in summer is usually best as it keeps the lighting natural and warm.

5. Let the background spark a conversation…

Consider using a photo of you in front of something that might become a talking point for your matches. It may be a shot of you cheering for your favourite football team, or relaxing in an exotic locale. Think about including something that might inspire someone to ask about your adventures.

6. …but don’t let there be too much of it

A shot of you from a distance in front of the Eiffel Tower isn’t going to draw other users in. If it’s too hard to make out you face, your matches might think you have something to hide.

Tips for taking the perfect profile picture

1. Don’t DIY

Choose a photo that’s been taken by someone else. It doesn’t need to be a professional photographer, just a close friend who’s willing to take a few snaps.

2. Know your best angle

The secret to taking a great photo is to find the right angle. The Internet is rife with tips on how to take the best photo for your face shape. Spend 15 minutes googling your facial qualities and find out how professional photographers advise you to shoot them.

3. Don’t pose

Try to look as natural as possible, without looking as though you’re trying too hard. Relax so you can come across happy and easy-going.

4. Make it look accurate

Make sure you look like yourself. Don’t use a photo that was taken when you were younger, lighter, or dressed up to the nines. You want to convey a sense of openness and honesty in your profile photo and give people an accurate impression of what you look like.

5. Add other photos

Don’t forget to add a selection of photos. Choose a wide variety; you on holiday, one or two with friends, or shots of you doing something you love. Ideally people should be able to get an idea of who you are and what you’re into by looking through your photos.

If you follow the advice above, you should be able to choose an online dating profile picture that shows you at your best. Remember, your photo is there to encourage your matches to get to know you better.

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