Follow these simple tips about on line dating profile pictures and you can not only enhance your profile but avoid some frustration for potential great matches.
In the olden days of on line dating, people actually read through profiles and met up with people that they did not see a profile picture of, according to my friend who met his wife on line.
But we are visual creatures. In fact, the one thing that all sites have in common is that they shove a small image of your potential date in front of you and ask you to read a bit further. In the age of The Facebook, Pintrest, Google plus, instagram and twitter, we are bombarded with easy access images, in almost unlimited quantity, and usually in a very timely fashion, about lots of wonderful things we couldn’t care less about.
So why do most people’s images suck? I’ll tell ya what to do and what not to do.
Make it simple
When someone is looking for a potential match, they are looking for a person, and in fact most likely due to evolution, a person’s face. They are not looking for a group of people, a dog, a boat, a motorcycle, or a painting. When adding profile images ideally you should have a clear image of just you. Make sure you have at least one clear image of your headshot, preferably in your going-on-a-date kind of attire (or greater).
What are you doing?
If you are adding images of yourself, do not add fifteen images of you sitting in a dark room, illuminated only by the glare of a monitor, taking head shot after headshot with your web cam. If you do this you will look:
- Much less attractive – you really think the dim blue monitor light is enhancing your natural skin tones?
- Really boring – all you have are self portraits? Don’t you ever leave?
- Poor – you don’t own a camera or a nifty iPhone to take clear hi res pics with?
- Deceptive – are you just a tiny head on a giant body?
- Lonely – You have no one who could possibly take a pic of you? What about your kids? Even the very young would be happy to take a pic of you, a friend, a coworker, some guy you pay a dollar to, that japanese tourist.
Regardless of what you write in your profile, people are going to get an impression of you from your picture – much faster, with more of an emotional hook.
It is very hilarious, ironic and ultimately annoying to read the profile of a self-proclaimed world traveler with hundreds of friends, activities and hobbies who only features the above-mentioned web cam darkened cave shots. Really? Skiing in Aspen? Riding elephants? Baseball games? Click.
Limit group pictures
As I said people are looking for you. They are not going to take your group of ten friends to the movies, that would get expensive and we all know that Debbie is the big killjoy who orders way too much food anyway.
Group photos are the favorite images of the social people, especially women.
If you add group photos follow these rules to limit frustration on the viewer:
- Make sure your caption tells the viewer which one you are, every time. Don’t assume they get who you are – to them you are one of three blondes, they don’t see that you are the one with the better shoes, or the (duh!) coach bag or more hair than the other guys.
- Don’t feature too many pictures of you and your gang out for a night of beers – perception is everything so even if these pictures occurred over the course of a year between all your church visits and helping the children and rescuing kittens, they are just going to see a party dude/dudette.
- Make sure you are featured prominently in at least one of them. If you’re always the sad head in the background it will look like someone else’s photo and you are just the wall flower.
No one is going to date a motorcycle
It is a common mistake of men to feature images of a motorcycle, a car, a dead animal or some other possession that they think is cool. Though there are those out there that are looking for the sports guy/gal, the harley guy/gal, it is a bad idea to do this. You can mention that you enjoy going for rides, that fishing is a fun hobby and that you do hunt from time to time, but your profile is about you. If you are not in the image, there should be a really good reason why you are not. The profile is not the time to play show-and-tell, that is to be saved for the actual relationship. You went to Cairo? Great! Your cat is ever so cute? Fantastic! Your kids are funny and got paint all over them? Awww!
Just don’t put that in your gallery.
You may find it boring, self centered and selfish, but that’s really why the visitor is there – to see you, doing stuff, from different angles. If you feel like you are on display, you are. You are on display when you leave your house, it’s just not as obvious as when you make a profile.
Children should be
seen not heard briefly mentioned.
At a certain age, it becomes very common to be dating and have children. You love your kids. You think they are the cutest things in the world, they are a part of you and in fact most of your pics probably feature them standing next to you.
There’s one problem – you shouldn’t show them on line.
If you have to show a pic that has your kids in it, crop them out if possible. If you can’t crop them then please blur their faces. It is not fair to them to have their images all over the internet. Dating sites, with the exception of one, all allow not only members but unregistered visitors (read – search engines!) to view all of the images of someone’s profile. That’s not good. Privacy is very important.
Your profile may mention that you have kids – that’s enough.
Don’t get creative
With the exception of Google Glass, everyone is walking around seeing things as is – they are not walking around looking at things with a coral border, or in sepia tones or with random flowers sprinkled all over them.
Do not, do not, and I repeat for clarity, do not alter your images in any way. Some dating sites allow you to “purchase” alterations on your images with the assumption that this makes you more eye catching. It may, at first, but if you are unattractive to someone without alterations, then you are going to be unattractive AND annoying if they clicked on a thumbnail only to see that it is a tacky alteration.
If you alter your images it will look like:
- You have an awful lot of time to putz with your profile pictures
- You think you’re really attractive (thinking you are really attractive only works for the .2% of people who are really really attractive)
- You are a really tacky person with no style
- You spend too much time/money on a dating site.
The only exception: a black and white photo or two.
I sing the body electric
This is a subject that is a complete no brainer for some, and for others it is a huge problem – full body profile pictures. There are those that, in the course of selecting images, automatically include some or all full body images. It just seems natural, standing in front of a big gate, at a party, etc. Then there are the almost macabre images – the Disembodied Heads! Muh hahahaha! Picture after picture is just a head, no points of reference, you can barely figure out the setting. People do this for two reasons, neither of which is good:
- They just don’t know any better. They figure you just want a picture of their face, so they take a quick pic with their web cam (see bad web cam photos no-no above) or their phone. That’s an easy fix.
- They are less than confident about their appearance. In the case of women, where it is most common, they do not feel comfortable with their weight. In the less common case with men, they don’t like being the shortest guy in the pic, so they crop everything out.
Trying to sell people your head when it’s just gonna bring that schlumpy body along simply does not work. People will eventually have to see the rest of you. In the case of real life encounters, people will see all of you at the same time.
So how do you address point #2? Well, it is a question of liking yourself. If you don’t like your weight, perhaps more time focused on yourself and less time on dating sites makes sense? Or perhaps it is only a matter of confidence. Try it. Try some full body profile images and see what happens. You may be pleasantly surprised!
Granted, on some dating sites you may risk the occasional less than kind off the cuff message, but the alternative simply doesn’t work.
Cropping, Rings, Shrek Arms and overly friendly friends
Finally, try to limit the images with a big giant hairy Shrek-like arm from your previous boyfriend/husband, or any body parts from your old flames. Make sure your photos are not so old they still have you wearing a wedding ring (you’re not STILL married, are you??). If you have a pal of the opposite sex and they are in 50% of your pics with their face up against yours looking a little too happy and or drunk, it will send the following message : I have issues with my friend, I really want to be with them, or, I have actually been with them and will continue to do so, so there.
That’s probably (hopefully) not true, so just avoid the perception.
I understand that some of this seems like a lot of work. Its not really, it’s just fairly intelligent and upfront choice of images, while still maintaining your anonymity. Good luck!