Top 3 Pics for the Perfect Online Dating Profile


Using the right photo is the easiest way to attract the right people. A photo says 1,000 words. So spend 80% of your time on getting the photographs right and 20% on writing your profile.



People are particularly fussy about looks when online dating. In person, someone’s voice, laugh, charisma, and body language can all influence how much you fancy them. But most online dating sites reduce potential dates to just a static image. So those images have to work hard for you.



Let’s explore the most successful types of pictures, namely: headshots, interesting activities and body shots.




                                              Head Shot


This is the first picture that people will see so it’s vital that it’s a crisp and clear.


For Women:


  • Flirty, smiley headshots looking directly into the camera work best. Selfies are fine. Men are not repelled by selfies the way some women are!



  • Colour is eye-catching, which is important when looking at tiny screens. Try a bright pink, red or blue top or a bright-coloured background.



  • Make-up wise, wear what you’d wear for a date. Slightly more for blusher and foundation, as cameras can wash out your complexion.



  • Practise with a few, and ask for a man’s opinion.



  • Check for split ends and flyaway hair! They can show in photos



For Men:


  • Men do surprisingly well with black and white photographs. Maybe it’s more brooding and rugged?



  • Don’t worry about finding a photo where you’re smiling into the camera. Research shows that photos where men aren’t looking into the camera work well.



  • Avoid using any corporate shots you’ve had taken for work, as I’ve yet to see one where the man looks even vaguely sexy. You need to appear confident, not awkward and bashful.



  • Go smart and sexy in a crisp shirt (white is great, against a darker background), or casual and manly. Proves you know your way around an ironing board. A bulky sweater or fleece can add inches to your chest and make you look huggable.



  • Don’t wear a sports shirt for your headshot, unless you were actually playing that sport. Otherwise it’s too casual, and tells women they’re looking at a man who spends most weekends either away watching sport or at home, shouting at the TV. You can use those pictures later on, but not as your main picture.




                                     Interesting Activity


For everyone, the next photo should be you engaged in an interesting activity, something people can talk about. These photos generate more conversations online. They’re different, spark people’s interest and catch the eye.



It’s easy to see why these photos work. Smiling headshots can be attractive but it’s not exactly a conversation-starter. Like in real life when you spot someone gorgeous across a crowded room. As soon as that they start doing something interesting, you’ll have something to say.



  • Get a photo of you doing your quirkiest hobby. Do you do stand up or amateur dramatics? Do you play an instrument or an unusual sport? Do you bake incredible cakes?



  • Panicking that you have no quirky hobbies or that your interests would scare everyone off? Just think harder. Were you ever on TV? Get a screenshot. Ever had a photo with a famous person or in an unusual place? We’re not aiming for Pulitzer-Prize-winning photo journalism here. Just something interesting that people can comment on, to open up some back and forth.



  • One tip: make sure the photo still clearly shows your appearance. A rustic shot of you halfway up a mountain is interesting, but we still want to know what you look like. Because we’re shallow like that.




                                             Body Shot


I’ll be frank – you’re going to have to show off your figure. It’s become suspicious to never reveal a photo showing anything beyond the shoulders. We might think, what are they hiding down here? One full-length picture is a must.



Don’t worry that you are not thin enough. A cuddly, curvy body draws crowds too so show it off. The point is to show yourself exactly as you’ll look when you arrive on the first date. The main reason first dates don’t turn into second dates is “unmet expectations”. You weren’t who they thought you’d be.



So show yourself as you are – you’ll have lost nothing! And your message box will be full of people who genuinely find you attractive. Win!



  • Notice models often stand slightly side-on to the camera for a good full length photo? It’s more flattering. Experiment with a few yourself and ask a friend for a second opinion.



  • No blurry, dimly-lit photos with messy, cluttered backgrounds. You want people to notice you!



  • Consider professional photos and use a photographer who’s used to taking photos for online dating. Stiff, posed, formal photographs that you’d see on someone’s mantelpiece aren’t the right look. You want natural pictures – strolling through a Sunday market, laughing in the park, looking bookish and beautiful looking out of window. Search online for local photographers who are familiar with online-dating profile pictures.



  • Alternatively, hire a photography student or if you’re too shy for that, ask your most talented friend to take your pictures.



  • 5 or 6 is the optimal number of photos. Enough to include a headshot, an interesting activity, a couple of full-length shots, a selfie or two, and maybe a holiday picture.





Remember: you are only as good-looking as your worst photo! So, screen out any that don’t show you in a good light. Again, have you friends help you with this. You might be hooked on a picture of you that you feel makes you look like you belong on the A list, but actually will just put you on everyone’s blocked list.




This post is an extract from our Online Dating course written by Kate Taylor, an online-dating industry expert, who has provided advice to online-daters for over nine years. To try out the course sign up below or take a look at the course page here