Congratulations, if you’ve decided to take the first step into the world of online dating. But first there’s one thing you should know. Your profile picture means EVERYTHING.
Yes, it might be true that a picture is worth 1,000 words. And in the specific case of online dating, a picture can often say more for trust, attraction, red flags and compatibility than those 1,000 words.
- Go Solo
Nothing else should compete with you in the photo. No friends. No cute, fluffy pets. For your main profile picture, you should be the focal point, Minix says.
“Don’t over filter your the picture,” she advises. It automatically sets the tone that you’re trying to mask something or that you’re being inauthentic.
- Forget the Glamour Shots
“Definitely show your face and upper body, as well as a full shot. I always think you should add more than one picture [if allowed], Minix says, adding that the photo shouldn’t be too closely cropped around the face. “Show at least your upper body and face.”
- Tone It Down
Obviously you don’t want to be too provocative in your photos, as it might attract the wrong attention and the wrong men. But Minix says you shouldn’t have to aim for your church bulletin headshot either. “I’d say base it on your professional profile picture but dial it down two notches, not a suit, maybe a button-up shirt, lightly unbuttoned without the jacket.”
Also, she says don’t go overboard on the makeup. “Aim for a light beat. Try not to look like you’re going to a drag show,” she jokes, “if they were to bump into you, they should recognize you.”
- Don’t Get Flushed Out
“NO…Bathroom…Selfies,” she says. “No pictures with a whole bunch of crap in the background. Make sure your background is not dirty. No one needs to see your dirty underwear and a beat-up shoe on the ground behind you in your picture.” (Remember, we can zoom in on some of these photos now, so do a little forensics before you post).
- Find Your Light
Take your photo outdoors because it can give you an interesting, scenic background. She adds, “A natural background is usually the best because you don’t have to worry about lightening. Take your picture in natural light, where you have some sunshine on you. That’s how some people go wrong because they are inside.” Good lighting is your friend.
- Do You
Dress and look how you would normally—as if you were heading to meet friends, not an art gala. “Don’t do your most dressed up look because that is not you every day. Because if you put that up and they meet you, they’ll be like ‘what happened.’ Minix says you should stay true to yourself for the most part, but she does think the fashionistas should consider pulling back a bit. “A turn off for most guys is if you’re in the picture and you have your Louis Vuitton bag. A lot of guys might think, “nevermind, I may not be able to afford her.”
- Stand Out in the Sea
Find a way to make your picture jump out. If a man is scrolling through a series of photos, you may be likely to grab his attention with a bright and colorful top (but the key is complementary), she says. Just not so conservative.
- Give Good Oral—Hygiene
Mind out the gutter folks, we’re talking about smiles. Studies show that men are much more attracted to smiling women than non-smiling women. Smiles are often the biggest attraction point beyond any other attribute. “When I was in the dating scene or when I go out now, most people are attracted to a smile. If you are not smiling, the first things people say is “why you mad” or “what’s wrong with you,” says Minix. I think a nice bright smile is good.”
- Rep Your Set
“If you are able to put up more than one picture, which most sites allow you, I would definitely throw in an activity picture.” she says. Minix says this is your opportunity for future dates to get a peak into your personality and interests. If you’re into working out, show a gym photo of you mid-rep. If you’re into sports, show a tailgating photo. If you do have animals, now is the time to show of your cuddly pup Fefe.
And as one additional consideration: perhaps take some time to actually shoot and stage a profile picture. If you’re scrolling through old photos and you can’t find a recent photo of you that you like, then don’t force it. And definitely don’t pick that one photo you’ve been using for the last 10 years.
BMWK, are you following these tips on your online dating profile? What other tips and tricks have you considered?