Our moderators have reviewed over 600,000 photos from members since we started our site. That is a lot of experience with what makes a good or bad dating photo! We asked them what mistakes they see people making over and over.
- Not having a picture at all.
- Paying no attention to the background.
- Wearing a terrible outfit.
- Other people in the pictures.
- Too much flesh on show.
- Terrible angles.
- Grumpy expression.
- No face in the photo.
- Badly lit, or blurry photos.
- Poor Grooming.
- Photos of photos / screen captures from other sites.
Not having a picture at all!
Online dating is a numbers game – you get far more choice of potential partners than you do in day to daily life. That works both ways though, so you have to make an effort to ensure your profile stands out from the crowd. Members without a photo get 10 times fewer messages and many members ignore your messages.
Paying no attention to the background.
Toilets, urinals, piles of laundry, stained paintwork, playroom toy explosions, or wheelie bins are all terrible backdrops for photos. A nice view while on a walk, a park, a landmark, or something interesting behind you is best.
Bad choices of outfit.
An old dressing gown might be comfy, but it is not a good look when you want to pull. The more effort you put in, the more likely attractive members are to reply to you. Wear the kind of thing you would wear on a night out, interview, or first date.
Other people in the pictures.
Make sure it is just you in the picture, no kids, or friends. Your first impression should be all about you. Having a friend in the photo reduces the number of messages you will receive.
Too much flesh on show.
Unless you are using a holiday photo on the beach, or by the pool you really should keep your shirt on. Bare chested men don`t get many messages from women, as it is considered vain (unless you are under 30 ripped and have a full on 6 pack). For women an off the shoulder dress seems to be the sweet spot between sexy without being too provocative.
If you are looking down into your camera, then you will look like you are all chin and nostrils. Looking slightly up into the camera makes your eyes look bigger. For women standing slightly side on looking over one shoulder is especially flattering. The worst performing photos we see are those taken really close to the camera. Most camera lenses are slightly fish eyed, so photos are distorted when the entire frame is all face.
If you were in a bar and sat there scowling at people why would they talk to you? You have to look friendly and approachable. For men neutral expressions are OK, but for women a warm approachable smile, a “Mona Lisa” knowing look, or a slightly questioning “have we met before” look all work well.
Some vices are polarising, it is ok to put in your profile that you enjoy a night out, or glass of wine. However, you should always try to present yourself in the best possible light. People look for someone who looks happy and healthy, so it is usually better to go with a photo that shows this side of you.
No face in the photo.
If you don’t have your face in the photo, or you are wearing dark sunglasses, or your mouth is covered then members will assume you are married, or are hiding something. If you don`t want to put a picture up then just add one and make it private, you can still send it to members when you send them a message.
Badly lit, or blurry photos.
If you are just a smudge, or a dark blur then members are going to assume you just cannot be bothered. A brightly lit outdoor picture is much more effective at getting someone to reply.
Take a photo after getting your hair cut and having a shave / trim. You have to make an effort if you want better response rate. And if a haircut makes a difference between getting a reply from that member you really like, or not, then it might be worth the effort.
Photos of photos / screen captures from other sites.
This looks amateur, or worse, it looks like it is a fraudster impersonating someone else. Just get a friend to take a load of photos of you instead. Wear a few different outfits, then get their advice on which is the best one.
For tips on how to create a great profile picture click the links below.