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Online Dating Advice: Six Tips To Pick Your Pics Wisely

Updated on May 13, 2015

Online Photos Can Make or Break Your Profile

Relationship advice has to include online dating, since millions of people are members of these sites. Thousands of happy couples have met their mate online. However, there are several factors that come in to play when creating an effective online profile that gets the desired results. Online photos are a crucial aspect of an online dating profile, and one that frequently gets overlooked.

It’s amazing how many single women (and men) drop the ball when it comes to posting decent online photos. A scan of any of the dating sites will reveal thousands of relationship seekers with horrendous pictures displayed for all the world to see. People don’t even realize that they are turning away potential dates with pictures that are a turnoff.

You Only Get One Shot at a First Impression

Imagine you are going out for an evening to a place where you might meet and mingle with eligible singles. Would you throw on a pair of sweats, run a comb through your tangled hair and declare yourself “good to go?” If you want to get the right kind of attention, probably not. You would make every effort to look your best. After all, first impressions count.

Well first impressions are equally important online. Outdated or inappropriate photos that don’t adequately portray how you look, or that send the wrong message, get passed over very quickly on the Internet. People are in a hurry, and they are quickly scanning these sites for possible dating prospects. The very first thing they look at are the thumbnail pictures that go with the heading of your profile. If it doesn’t have any aesthetic appeal, you are passed over in a split second. There are a few things to watch out for when posting photographs. The following tips can go a long way towards getting better results on a dating site:

Can you see me now?
Can you see me now? | Source

Watch Your Facial Expression

A quick scan of any of the top dating sites reveals a variety of photos that leave the viewer saying “what were they thinking?” The facial expression in a picture really does say a thousand things about you. You don’t want to look like you’re in a police lineup. If you are frowning or grimacing you are not going to look inviting to anyone. Some of the cool artsy or Goth types might think they are making an impression - but truly, they’re just scaring people. Make sure you are smiling or at the very least have a relaxed, pleasant expression on all of your public photos. People respond well to smiles, online and off.

How Far is too Far?

Everyone who’s attempted online dating has dealt with the frustration of trying to look closely at photos that are taken too far away from the subjects. Full body shots are great, but you must have at least a couple of headshots that are fairly close up. If a potential date has to squint or look too hard at your photos to make out your face, they will quickly give up. Additionally, you will look like you’re trying to hide something about your face and get passed over. Have a friend or relative take some closeup shots from a flattering angle. This simple tip can lead to a big increase in responses to your profile.

There is Such a Thing as Too Close

Speaking of up close photos - the issue of camera angle needs to be addressed. Just because your smartphone is your favorite new toy does not mean a photo that you took in your car should be used online. Save those shots for intimate friends on Facebook. The close up shots taken from a weird angle on camera phones or webcams look downright crazy on a dating profile. You want close ups, but not that close.

Is there anything in my teeth?
Is there anything in my teeth? | Source

Not The Right Forum for Family Photos

Everyone wants to look well liked and popular, but too many group photos on a dating profile can be a turnoff to eligible singles. People who may be shy or introverted will not be impressed with the volume of friends and relatives in your pictures. It can be downright intimidating to someone with a small family, or no family, to reach out to someone who appears to have dozens of close friends and a huge family. Plus, they may mistake a close relative, or friend, for an ex boyfriend or girlfriend - an immediate turn off. You need to stand out on your own merits with a dating profile. There’s always time later on to trot out the family vacation photos or introduce Crazy Uncle Joe. Your online dating profile is not the best forum to introduce friends and family. Keep it simple and just post photos of you by yourself.

They're Called an Ex For a Reason

We’ve all stumbled across online dating profiles that consist solely of photos where an obvious second person is cropped out of the picture. People who use these photos on their dating profile seem to be unaware that these photos scream “I’m still not over my ex!” The first question that crosses the mind of anyone viewing this collection from the past will be: “Are they really ready to date?” While the photos may be a high quality and are taken in exotic locations that you can’t replicate at home - it’s still better to leave them for your personal photo album. Take some new photos where you are obviously the only subject in the picture. It will not only help you move forward emotionally - but solo shots convey the message that you are alone, emotionally and physically, and are ready for a relationship.

Be Proud of How You Look in the Present

That photo your best friend took of you in college is the best picture, ever. So good, in fact, that thirty years later you’re still using it on your dating profiles. It won’t work. If you are dating in your thirties, forties and fifties - you must use current photos to represent what you look like now. Yes, you may have a few extra wrinkles and gray hairs, but your age will show on the first date anyway. No one likes feeling misled, and the first date will be the last if you subtly misrepresent your age. If your current look doesn’t appeal to them - they aren’t a match anyway.

Your online profile is the only thing prospective dates have to determine if you are a possible match for them. You don’t want to be out of the running before eligible singles have read what you’re about. One of the surest ways of generating interest in your online profile is by making the time to take some quality shots. Just a few simple photos can make or break an online dating profile. Great photos will improve your chances for meeting “the one."

© by Macteacher 2013


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    • macteacher profile imageAUTHOR

      Wendy Golden 

      7 years ago from New York

      Thank you for your post. You are right, there is nothing worse than not being honest, and leaving out a photo or posting a very old one makes a very bad impression. Thanks for stopping by. :-)

    • profile image

      Guru of Online Dating 

      7 years ago

      What Your Profile Picture Says About You...

      Let's face it, attraction is important. The reason you put up a picture in the first place is to "attract" someone to your profile. Those daters that don't post a picture are sending out some very counter-productive vibes. No picture usually means the person can't work a camera, or worse, they have something to hide. Craig's List is swamped with posters posting messages without a picture, because they know they're hiding something. Don't do that on a real dating site. Especially one you're paying for. More often than not, not having a profile picture can also signify you're already in a relationship and/or married, looking for something on the side. I've, unfortunately, met my fair share of women who claim they're "divorced" but actually only "separated" and they still live in the same house as their "ex".

      My biggest beef with people's profiles is that they upload their four or five "favorite" pictures from a decade ago. Relationships are based on a foundation of trust. If you show up on that initial "meet and greet" looking nothing like your profile pictures, that trust is gone before it can even begin. It's common knowledge that people fudge a little here and a little there...women usually subtract 5 years from their age while men routinely add 3 inches to their height. But once you finally meet the person you've been emailing and texting and chatting with on the phone, and they look nothing like their pictures, you feel cheated and bamboozled. Not a great start.

      Most of us would rather see what you look like running an errand today rather than what you looked like that night you dressed up with friends and snapped a picture at that perfect angle five years ago. That's not being shallow; that's being a realist.

      The Guru of Online Dating

    • LongTimeMother profile image


      7 years ago from Australia

      Good idea to tuck the phone away, macteacher. Eye contact is a good thing when you're walking down the street. :)

    • macteacher profile imageAUTHOR

      Wendy Golden 

      7 years ago from New York

      Hi LTM - (Sorry I like abbreviations) ;-)

      I think too many people are glued to their Smartphones and not really paying attention to what's going on around them. So your observation is accurate.

      I like to keep the phone tucked away when I'm out and about, so I can interact with the world. A live conversation beats an online connection any day - but more people need to wake up to that and smell the coffee, so to speak. :-) Thanks for stopping by.

    • LongTimeMother profile image


      7 years ago from Australia

      Hey, macteacher. I'm sure there must be many witty, wonderful people who are overlooked because their photos simply cannot reflect their fabulous personalities. Do you think online dating sites discourage individuals from actually starting up real life conversations with people who catch their eye in the supermarket, the workplace or down the street while they're walking their dog?

      It would be a shame if people no longer say, "I was about to get a cup of coffee. Care to join me?" when they get the chance. Seems to me a conversation in a coffee shop is a great way to make new friends and a potential new partner, without the pressure of it being considered a formal date.

      I hope social media hasn't completely eliminated general social contact.

    • macteacher profile imageAUTHOR

      Wendy Golden 

      7 years ago from New York

      Hey Andy I will have to look for it. So many people are clueless about dating in general and really clueless online.

    • Andy McGuire profile image

      Andy McGuire 

      7 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      I just published a hub that states these exact same concepts! Nice.

    • macteacher profile imageAUTHOR

      Wendy Golden 

      7 years ago from New York

      Mpropp thanks for leaving a comment. I have used the dating sites with very little success. I still think face to face dating events are the best thing. There is no substitute for connecting with someone in person.

    • macteacher profile imageAUTHOR

      Wendy Golden 

      7 years ago from New York

      Shiningirisheyes - I promise you are not missing much on social media. People tend to get really weird online and say silly things. Getting drunk while the webcam is running is never a good idea. LOL.

      I'm going to look up the movie Catfish on Netflix.

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 

      7 years ago from Minnesota

      Very well-written and informative. I don't use the dating sites, thankfully, but I can't imagine what people are thinking when they post those bad photos! I like your tips and your advice. Very useful.

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 

      7 years ago from Upstate, New York

      This was highly informative as I am not a part of the on-line social media. Yeah - I know - every friend, family member, neighbor, grocery clerk, priest and postman is shocked but I have no use for social media other than this type of writing site. Although, you opened my eyes to some tricks people pull. I also think getting highly inebriated and forgetting to log off an account would explain why there is a picture of a man in a pink tutu and full beard! LOL

      Have you seen the movie Catfish? Makes you wonder how true a person is being.

      Voting up

    • macteacher profile imageAUTHOR

      Wendy Golden 

      7 years ago from New York

      Why thank you so much. I'm just starting out on Hubpages and it feels great to get positive feedback. :-)


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