Nope – now it's time to choose some photos. And you'll want to put some thought into this, because women are visual creatures – just like you.
You can have the most amazing profile in the world, but if your photos suck, so do your chances of getting dates with attractive women.
Photos are essential to your online dating success.
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.
And if you're thinking about skipping photos altogether, consider what Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner wrote in their book “Freakonomics”:
A low-income, poorly-educated, unhappily employed, not very attractive slightly overweight and balding man who posts his photo stands a better chance at gleaning some emails than a man who says he makes $200,000 a year and is deadly handsome but doesn't post a photo.
If you still need more proof, try posting a profile on Match without a photo – a graphic quickly informs you that profiles with photos draw 15 times more interest.
So how do I choose my best photos?
To answer this question, let's think for a moment about what the images represent. Photos tell a story, it's not just about how attractive you are.
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.
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 football. And sports pictures are great, 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 football picture. Make sure you're the center of attention – you're throwing the ball, catching the ball, or tackling someone to get the ball. What you AREN'T is the guy in the background, watching the action go down around you. Get the idea?
There’s a big difference between pictures of you interacting with your friends in an interesting way, and posed group shots. Skip the “posing with your bestie” pictures altogether. According to data analysis by Zoosk, they decrease messages received by 42%.
And this almost goes without saying, but make sure you’re the hottest guy in the frame of any photo you choose.
Center of attention, check. What next?
Think about other traits a biologically superior mate has, to continue with our alpha male theory. When a woman looks at your photos, she's going to imagine herself in the lifestyle the photo conveys.
This is why unique travel photos are so successful. You're interesting, you'll take her to exotic places, and most importantly, you have the means to do it.
For men in their late 20s and older, throw in a “dress up” shot. Many women in the 30s and up want to know their man can hang at a company event or cocktail party.
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, and can provide her all the finer things in life.
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 convey the same vibe 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.
Channel your inner Dos Equis guy.
Yup, you want to be interesting. Everyone has hobbies, so include a picture of you doing something you enjoy. 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 on your motorcycle with an “I'm so awesome, check me out” smirk on your face, your inbox isn't going to get the action it deserves. Ride your motorcycle and have a friend take some shots “in action.”
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 the kitchen in the background is a disaster area. (I guarantee she'll look at that mess and picture herself having to clean it up – not hot).
You also want to highlight multiple facets of your personality, so choose a range of photos. 3 to 7 is an ideal number. No one (except maybe your parents) really wants to scroll through more than that. Plus, it’s really unlikely you have 7+ photos in the first place that you look equally attractive in.
Think of your photographs like a marketing campaign. One big commercial dedicated to selling yourself.
It's more than just being an interesting person, you're also conveying to her that you're the kind of guy who has the basic necessities of life covered. You have a place to live, nice clothes, access to a shower, and you're responsible enough to keep a pet alive.
Your OkCupid profile is not the place to prove you can do a keg stand or take home a beer pong trophy. Save that stuff for your FB page.
Should I go pro?
Here at ViDA, we think pro-photos are a great investment. In fact, we have access to a huge network of professional photographers all over the world.
A pro photographer can manipulate the lighting, help you pose in a natural way that doesn't look forced, and generally bring out your best qualities. But never use all pro shots – that looks like you're trying too hard to impress her.
Ideally, you want pro photos that don't scream “I hired a photographer for this”. 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.
You'll also want to bring a few different outfits. Of course, if we’re going for a natural-looking photo lineup, you won’t want to use 2+ pro photos featuring the same background or the same outfit.
Whether or not you hire a photographer or enlist the help of friends or family, you'll definitely want to include at least one full body shot. In fact, Zoosk discovered that using a full body shot increases messages received by 203%.
Another great photo to have in your bag is one of you looking 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.
But one thing to keep in mind – a recent Photofeeler study found that the combination of looking directly at the camera and NOT smiling was considered less attractive. So a good rule of thumb to follow is this: If you're making eye contact, smile. If you aren't, it smiling vs. not smiling doesn't matter.
Here's what to avoid.
You can have six incredible photos, and still sabotage your chances with one bad one. So here are a few photographic don'ts:
- Don't take a picture of yourself 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 responding women were turned off by a photo taken in front of a mirror with a smart phone.
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 all your photos. File this under obvious, but if you're going to wear sunglasses and a hat in every single picture, she's going to wonder if you’re wanted by the authorities, have horrible, thinning hair, 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 guys.
- 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.
You’re almost there…
Choose photos that 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 the types of photos to include:
- Full length shot
- Closeup (from your shoulders up)
- Intriguing environment (travel shot, rooftop bar, museum, etc…)
- Activity – like a sport or hobby
- Another activity shot
- Non-posed social/group shot
- Pro photo
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 7. 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 online. The photos you choose can make or break your dating profile – good ones equal dates, and bad ones could mean another lonely Friday night.
Get a second opinion.
Or you could ask one of your hot females friends to rank the photos for you. Even better – ask 3 to 5 friends for their opinion.
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 it’s worth the extra effort. 45% of online daters say the “Pictures” section of a profile is the most important part. And here at ViDA, we think it’s really much more important than this in practice.
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 capturing you in the best light? That’s practically a standard part of the process when you work with a team of experts like ViDA.
… And, really, that’s just the tip of the iceberg of what we can do for you with one of our comprehensive service packages!
Looking to get more dates online? CLICK HERE to see how ViDA can get you out with the best-quality women in your local area.
I hope you've enjoyed my best online dating photo tips for guys. If there are any important points you think are missing from this post, leave them in the comments below!