Tired of feeling frustrated every time you check your online dating sites and apps?
If you’re not getting the results you want, there are usually two major reasons. Either your dating profile sucks, or your photos do.
In this article, you’re going to learn 13 online dating photo tips that will help you line up your most attractive photos for Tinder, Bumble, or any other dating app or site, so you can meet higher quality women than ever before.
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And if you're not that hot, don't worry – keep reading for how to be magnetic and irresistible to women, no matter what you look like. And since most schools don’t teach how to take a good Tinder photo, you’ll find plenty of examples of good picture ideas for guys you can use for inspiration.
Let’s get started!
#1 First Impressions Are More Than Skin Deep
Studies have shown that women take about 1/10th of a second to form an impression of someone in a photograph. If she has a bad impression of you from the start, she's not clicking on your profile or responding to your message.
Here’s where it gets challenging – she’s forming opinions on just about every aspect of what she sees, including your posture, facial expression, and the clothes you’re wearing.
The technical term for this is “thin slicing,” and everyone does it in just about any social situation.
To get on the good side of her first impression, your photos need to convey all the reasons you’re such a great catch. This is called “signalling,” and it can make or break your online dating photos.
Think of it this way – she’s going to imagine herself in the lifestyle the photo conveys. It’s why unique travel photos are so successful. You're visually communicating that you’re interesting, you'll take her to exotic places, and most importantly, that you have the financial means to do it.
Here’s a comparison so you can see how signalling works:
Which guy do you think she’d rather spend time with? (Spoiler alert: it’s not the couch napper.)
#2 Appeal To Her Natural Instincts
The secret lies in evolution – that's right, we're talking Darwin, survival of the fittest, alpha male theory. Biologically speaking, alpha males are desirable mates, so you want to subconsciously convey your alpha status in your photos.
Here's an example – let's say you play basketball. And action shots make awesome profile pictures for guys, by the way. In a single photograph you communicate that you're athletic and part of a social group, two highly desirable traits.
But it can't be just any basketball picture. The best online dating profile pictures feature you as the center of attention – you're making a slam dunk, catching the ball, or in control of it. What you AREN'T is the guy in the background, watching the action go down around you. Get the idea?
If you’re hiking with a small group of friends, you’d want to be the one leading the way. You're the captain of the ship, the one in the driver's seat, the guy making the toast… you get the idea.
#3 Your Friends Should Make You Look Good
This almost goes without saying, but make sure you’re the hottest one in the frame of any group photo you choose. As Tinder’s sociologist Jessica Carbino put it, why risk disappointing her when she realizes you’re not the one she was hoping to meet?
In fact, researchers have proven that the “Ugly Friend Effect” not only exists, it works. When you’re in a picture with guys less attractive than you, you look even more attractive by comparison.
Dan Ariely, a researcher in behavioral economics, did a simple experiment to prove that giving someone a slightly worse option makes you appear more attractive. In his experiment, he showed women two pictures – one of “Tom”, the other of “Jerry” – and asked them which guy they considered more attractive.
When presented with only two options, Tom and Jerry were evenly matched in the looks department. But when Ariely provided an ugly version of Tom in the photo lineup, suddenly Tom was rated as more attractive. When the lineup included “ugly Jerry,” Jerry was the favored one.
The moral of the story? If you have a friend who looks similar to you but less attractive, take some photos next time you’re together with him. It’s important that you look great in the photo even with him cropped out of it, but with him in it, you’ll look even better. (Note: Don’t use this as the primary photo on your profile. You should always be the only person in your main pic.)
#4 The Group Shot Quandary
A lot of guys mistakenly think that including a group shot is mandatory, because it makes them look more social and outgoing.
While it’s true that a group photo does convey those traits, it only helps you if you look great in the photo AND you’re the most attractive one in it.
Most group photos fail on one (or both) of those fronts, and it ends up working against you in the long run because it actually lowers your perceived attractiveness.
It’s probably easier to use a photo of you in a social setting, like a cool cafe or outdoor park. As long as it’s not a selfie, it’s obvious you were there with at least one other person, right?
#5 How To Send Attractive Signals
Remember, this is all about letting her imagine a lifestyle.
For men in their 30s and above, consider using a “dress up” shot. Many women looking for a mature, established man want to know you can hang at a company event or cocktail party.
A picture of you dressed nicely at a rooftop bar, a restaurant on the beach, or a yacht could have the same effect.
But avoid the cliché pictures of you rocking a rented tux at a wedding. Anyone can look good once, right? You want to convey that you look this good all the time.
If you're lucky enough to be a guy in his early 20s, good news – you can skip the suit shot – it might actually hurt your chances by making you seem too serious or even uptight. But you can still convey success by choosing a picture of you at a nice club, restaurant, or other “luxurious” surroundings.
Don’t go overboard with the fancy photos though. You don’t want to look like you’re bragging, and survey data indicates that 81% of singles want to see casual photos showing your everyday life.
But that being said, make sure your everyday life intrigues her.
#6 Channel Your Inner Dos Equis Guy
Yup, you want to be interesting. Everyone has hobbies, so pictures of you doing something you enjoy are a great idea. Riding a motorcycle, playing hockey, going for a hike – this is the proverbial “action” shot.
But make sure the photo doesn't look faked. No matter how hot you are, if you're posing by your muscle car with an “I'm so awesome, check me out” smirk on your face, your inbox isn't going to get the action it deserves.
See the difference?
Your photos should showcase your alpha side – “manly” men build things. They go camping. They go hunting and fishing. They own the dance floor.
But when you're choosing a photo, keep a sharp eye on the surroundings.
If you enjoy cooking, that's an interesting thing to showcase – unless of course, the kitchen in the background is a disaster area. No one wants to be with a slob.
You also want to highlight multiple facets of your personality, so choose a range of photos. 3 to 6 is an ideal number. While you want to have a few photos to give her the sense you’re a real person, it’s really unlikely that you have 6+ pics you look equally attractive in.
#7 Consider Going Pro, Even On Apps Like Tinder
Pro photos can be a great investment. After all, a pro photographer with an expensive camera knows how to manipulate the lighting, help you pose in a natural way that doesn't look forced, and generally bring out your best qualities. Basically, a pro will make you look better than your buddy with an iPhone ever could.
But there’s a catch – you want pro photos that don't scream “I hired a photographer for this.” You want to look casual and natural, like a buddy snapped a photo while you were out having fun.
This means no studio shots with you posing in front of an obvious backdrop. Have the photographer take them in an interesting natural environment, preferably in a few different locations.
When you’re booking a pro photographer, make sure to find one that will allow you to change outfits each time you change locations. Remember, the trick is to make it look like your photos were taken while you were out and about, doing fun, interesting things that align with your interests and personality.
When you use more than one photo with the same background or article of clothing (i.e. button up shirt), it doesn’t take a genius to guess the photos were taken together. If your photos also look like they might have been professionally taken, women will suspect you probably hired a professional photographer for your dating profile. Not cool.
That’s why your photo lineup should not feature multiple photos where you’re sporting the same clothing or even in the same location.
To that same end, you should never use all pro shots. Ideally, you want a good mix of attractive candids with a few pro shots sprinkled throughout your lineup.
Don’t have any good candids? Offer the photographer a little extra to snap some additional photos with a cellphone (in yet another location and outfit, of course). Now you should have what you need.
#8 She Wants To See Everything (Well, Not That)
You'll definitely want to include at least one full body shot that shows you from head to toe. In fact, Zoosk discovered that using a full body shot increases messages received by 203%.
If you want to show off your abs, make sure the photo is taken in a natural setting like the beach, for example. And make sure it shows your face. Naked, faceless torso shots just look tacky.
That being said, feel free to look away from the camera. When you have a variety of poses in your lineup, it’s more visually interesting. The same is true of your expressions – you’ll want some photos with a warm smile, others with a more serious look.
For more tips on how to take Tinder photos (and every other kind, too!), check out the photo advice in our Ultimate Guide To Online Dating.
#9 Know When To Smile
One thing to keep in mind – a recent experiment by Photofeeler found that when you’re looking at the camera, you’re more attractive when you’re smiling. So a good rule of thumb to follow is this: If you’re making eye contact, smile. If you aren’t, smiling vs. not smiling doesn’t matter.
#10 Avoid These Common Pitfalls
You can have six incredible photos, and still sabotage your chances with one bad one. These photographic don'ts will make sure you have a bullet proof photo lineup:
- Don't use a picture of yourself taken in front of a mirror (even if you keep your shirt on this time). Match.com recently surveyed its users, and found that 29% of women were turned off by a photo taken in front of a mirror with a smartphone.
- Think about what that type of photo communicates – you don't have any friends who can take a picture of you, and you're not willing to invest more than 15 seconds to make a good impression.
- The shirtless selfie – just don't. According to the same survey, 1 in 3 responding women said shirtless selfies were “downright offensive” and “an almost instant dealbreaker.”
- Don't hide your face in your photos. File this under obvious, but if you're going to wear sunglasses and a hat in every single picture, or show yourself from neck down, she's going to wonder if you’re wanted by the authorities, married, hideous, or what else you might be trying to cover up. In fact, 23% of single women say this is their biggest pet peeve when it comes to online dating photographs.
- Don’t use racy photographs. A full 75% of women say overtly sexual photographs are their biggest online dating foul. Keep it classy.
- Don’t use obviously Photoshopped pictures, especially when it comes to selfies. Statistics show 61% of online daters think the most attractive photos are natural and unenhanced. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t ever touch up your photos, but it does mean you should make sure your photos don’t ever look touched up.
#11 Achieve The Perfect Photo Lineup
Dating website photos should provide an overall look at your lifestyle, and reflect intriguing aspects of your personality.
You don’t want to have all headshots, because that’s boring – not to mention narcissistic. And using all travel or “action” shots will leave her wondering when you’ll have to time to go on a date with her.
Here are 6 types of photos that can work well:
- Full length shot
- Closeup (from your shoulders up)
- Intriguing environment (travel shot, rooftop bar, museum, etc…)
- A different intriguing environment
- Activity – like a sport or hobby
- Non-posed social/group shot
You don’t need all of these, just some of them.
Use this list as a guideline, and don’t worry if you don’t have all 6. You want to look great in all of your photos, so don’t choose a poor one just so you can check it off the list.
The most important thing for you to remember is you’re only as attractive as your worst photo. The photos you choose can make or break your dating profile – good ones equal dates, and bad ones could mean a lot of lonely Friday nights.
#12 Second Opinions Are Your New Best Friend
Once you have a selection of possible photos to use, you’ll need to choose the top 3 to 6 that get the best feedback from others and form the type of photo lineup described in this article.
How do you gather feedback from others? One way is to use one of the internet sites created just for this, like PhotoFeeler.
Or you could ask one of your hot females friends for her opinion. Even better – ask 3 to 5 females to rank them for you.
For the best results, channel your inner geek and assign each photo a point based on where your friends ranked it. So if you have 10 photos, the best photo would get 1 point, and the worst 10 points.
Do this for each friend’s ranking, then add up all the points for each picture. Use the photos that scored the lowest number of points.
Sounds like a complicated process, but choosing the best photos for online dating you can is worth the extra effort. 45% of online daters say the “Pictures” section of a profile is the most important part.
#13 Bring In The Big Guns
Photos are hands down the most important part of your dating profile. If you choose the wrong ones, you’re not going to get the results you want. Talk about frustrating!
Women are visual creatures – just like you. That means photos can make or break you on dating apps and sites. Based on OkCupid data published in Dataclysm, Christian Rudder estimated that photos drive 90% of the action.
And once you’ve got some action in your inbox, you’ve got to to keep that message exchange going until you lock in the date.
Why not save yourself a ton of time and effort, and call in an expert? ViDA is here to make you irresistible on dating sites. We do it all for you… To start, we’ll get 10+ females on our team to rank your photos and determine the most attractive photo lineup possible. Then, we’ll even lightly touch up your best pics.
Want a skilled professional photographer in your area who knows all our best tips and strategies for taking natural-looking photos that capture you in the best light? That’s practically a standard part of the process when you work with a team of experts like ViDA.
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