3 Tips for Picking the Best Photos for Your Dating Profile

Dating apps have become mainstream these days, and we’re hearing more and more about finding true love and even marriage via the apps. There are plenty of tips out there for navigating the online dating scene, as well as for creating the perfect profile. (Even Clinton Kelly from TLC’s “What Not to Wear” is taking a stab at it a new show on the network, “Love at First Swipe.”) But we wanted to dig into one of the most daunting aspects of online and app dating: choosing the right photo to make the right first impression. Having the right ones can help weed out people who might not be compatible, saving you time and giving you better matching success.

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Step One: What kind of person am I looking for? You can tailor your photo to attract people with specific interests. For example, if you’re outdoorsy and looking for a partner with whom to hike, bike, or swim, the best way to express that is to use a picture in which you’re active. Couch potatoes who aren’t interested in being a part of your active lifestyle will likely pass. On the other hand, if you’re looking for someone with whom to go to museums and art galleries, choose a photo of you at a cultural institution.

Step Two: Do my photos reflect my personality? If you’re generally goofy and light-hearted, don’t be afraid to create a profile that has a lot of silly photos. And if you fall on the more serious side? Mix in a few standard photos or photos of you in a work setting (but a more natural one, not a mug shot). This signifies that you have fun but are down-to-earth—appealing to those who want someone with whom they can laugh as well as have real conversations. Most of us have lots of photos at bars and clubs. And if you’re a fun-loving partier, you should show off that side. But balance it out with other photos, too—after all, you have interests beyond nightlife.

Step three: Are you getting bogged down in the details? The point of dating is to have fun and learn how to love, so take all this advice with a grain of salt. The important thing is to get started and get out there. There’s so much more to compatibility than a photo, however carefully selected, can tell you, so don’t let the pressure of a good photo be your barrier. And don’t forget that if your photo doesn’t explain all aspects of who you are, other people’s might not either. What someone writes about themselves tells a lot too, and again, you may be pleasantly surprised when you meet a match face-to-face.