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How to Choose Online Dating Pictures for the Best Results

When it comes to online dating, your profile picture is the equivalent of noticing someone attractive across the room at your favorite restaurant or a party. Looks aren’t all that matters, but they are what usually get people’s attention at first. The pictures you choose for your online dating profile can make or break your chances of success, so it’s important to put some thought into choosing them and make sure they reflect who you are and what you want out of a potential date or relationship.

Start by choosing a few pictures that are an accurate reflection of you physically — this isn’t the place for Photoshop, filters or pics from 10 years ago — and show you genuinely smiling. More pictures isn’t always better, but too few can signal to potential dates that you’re uninteresting or aren’t being honest. Shooting for 4-7 is a good way to ensure you can show a few different sides of your personality and interests without making people scroll for hours.

Include at least one picture that shows your face at a fairly close angle. This gives the impression that you’re not trying to hide anything and can help the other person feel like they’re establishing a connection with a real person and not just a web page. It’s also a good idea to include at least one full body picture, and this is true even if you aren’t super-confident. Whether you’re looking to meet with people casually or want a long-term relationship, the other person is eventually going to see you in person, and you might as well not have to worry about what they’ll think when you finally meet since they’ll have already have seen you.

Getting Practical

If you’re starting to realize that you may need to update the photo section of your profile, you may be wondering how to get good pictures. Here are some tips for taking better quality pictures that are online dating-worthy.

Turn the Camera Around

While one or two selfies are fine, pictures that show you in your element against a background are the best. Today’s smartphones take great pictures, which means you don’t need to invest in a professional camera. Set your camera up on a stable surface and make sure the background is in focus. Set the timer, get into place and smile.

Consider the Lighting

Lighting make a huge difference when it comes to professional-quality photos. Make sure the sun isn’t in your face so you’re not squinting. It’s also a great idea to take your camera and head out for some shots during the famed golden hour (just after sunrise or before sunset).

Think of Something Funny

You want a genuine smile in your pictures, which means saying “Cheese” isn’t going to do it. While you’re waiting for the shot, think of a time you were genuinely happy or something you found really funny so that emotion will shine through in the photo.

Be Aware

While your pictures don’t have to be perfect, it’s best to just steer clear of certain things. These include pictures of your kids (this is for their safety too), bathroom selfies, photos where you are clearly under the influence of a substance and any pics that are too risque. This last one can be a bit of a judgment call, but unless you are specifically looking for casual physical relationships, anything you wouldn’t show your mother can give potential dates the wrong impression.


Your pictures are arguably the most important part of your online dating presence, and even pictures that aren’t bad but just mediocre can be hurting your chances of connecting with people. Remember that the pictures you choose to put on your profile are basically the same as that first impression you get when you meet someone in person, and it’s important to ensure you’re putting your best — but honest — face forward.

Take Action

If you already have an online dating profile, go through and remove any pictures that are older than 2 years or aren’t reflective of who you are now and what you’re seeking. For those looking to create a profile — or beef up the photo gallery on a current one — try to find pictures that show you doing what you love. Examples may be hiking, painting or just enjoying the day on your back porch swing. Getting photographed when you’re already happy and enjoying yourself will let more of your natural personality through and show potential dates what you’re interested in. Try to avoid selfie overload by specifically asking people when you’re out to take pictures of you so you get a variety of angles and backgrounds.


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