10 Top Tips for Great Online Dating Photos
It’s surprisingly easy to look your best in a photo that’ll stand out from the rest online.
When you’re online dating, your photo has to compete against millions of others. So how can you stand out? By taking tips from people who know how to get noticed–-advertisers. Oops, were you expecting advice from supermodels? Let’s face it, it doesn’t take an expert to make Jessica White look hot, but curly fries? That takes talent. Don’t worry, advertisers use plenty of men and women in ads too and they make them look magically delicious even without the help of high fashion, exotic locations and pythons.
10. Let friends call the shots
Though I recommend at least one professional headshot, enlisting friends has several advantages. Friends are fun, free, and game for helping you pick different clothes for different settings. A good camera and a good friend go a long way in making fabulous online dating photos. Don’t have a good camera? Rent one and ask for a tripod to prevent shaking.
9. Boost your confidence
Trying to look hot, wholesome and smart is hard enough, but while a camera is pointed at you? Talk about pressure. So how do you inhibit your inhibitions? Take a good look at yourself before the camera does. Practice in front of a mirror. Smile big, smile small, turn, tilt, put a foot forward: try it all. Soon, you’ll be ready to strike a pose faster than toddlers in tiaras.
8. Have a seat
Still too coy for a Kodak moment? Then sit on a stool and relax. While you’re at it, cross your legs. Put your elbow on your knee. Lean forward into your hand. Have your friend take a shot looking down as you look up. Sit on a log, on the ground, or on a boulder. For that matter, be unique – sit atop a car! Every advertising expert knows that the best way to stand out is by doing the unexpected (but keep it natural).
7. Pose like a pro
If you follow every tip on how to pose, you can end up looking as relaxed as Madonna’s face (could it get any tighter?). So remember these few: Always turn slightly to the side. This minimizes the focus on shoulders and can be slimming. Look slightly above the camera so that your eyes are wide open. Lastly, keep from looking stiff by bending an elbow or knee. Chill is hot!
6. Do it on the side
Have the light fall on your good side. Side lighting makes everyone’s features pop out well than front lighting (which is made even worse with a flash). Light is easy enough to control when shooting indoors. However, for outdoor photoshoots, try to schedule time in the morning or afternoon so you can avoid the glare of a noonday sun.
5. Smile, yes smile!
Recent research suggests that women should smile and make eye contact, while men should look away and not smile. Be warned, just because something has been researched, doesn’t mean it’s been researched scientifically and results are often hypotheses. Fact is, advertisers spend millions trying to make their products likeable and trustworthy (also key in online dating). That’s why, with the exception of phonily-foreign cologne ads, most models smile.
4. Show a bit of skin
I’ve seen dating profile pictures that showed more cleavage than a Girl’s Gone Wild video. I’ve also seen guys lifting their shirts to show off their abs. A little cleavage is sexy. It’s also fabulously flirty and less typical to wear something slightly off-shoulder. For men who want to show abs, do so naturally with a shot of you playing beach volleyball or surfing.
3. Pay attention to detail
In online dating, it’s important to look your best, yet still look natural. So try these touches for cyber stardom: use eye drops to clear redness; use face powder (dudes too!) to minimize shine; keep gel on hand to tone down flyaway hair; and bring clear gloss (again, men too). Women might want to touch up with some makeup, just don’t overdo it.
2. Consider your environment
Make sure all visual elements in your shot work well together. Though clothes need to enhance your body and complexion, they also have to complement the backdrop. For instance, if you’re by a colorful garden, then wear a strong, solid color so that you’re not overshadowed. Any time I’ve had a photoshoot or TV appearance, I deliberately chose clothes that stood out within the setting. Never let a background (or a shared shot with people and pets) dominate. Go Kardashian and make the world revolve around you.
1. Use subtle messaging
Though you want to keep the focus on you, secondary elements can reveal subtle aspects of your personality that, in turn, can attract the eye of someone liked-minded. If you like to hike, take a photo of yourself hiking through a mountain. If you love sports, have a friend capture you cheering for your favorite team. Advertisers do this all the time to maximize the message. The caveat? Go light on party pix. Snooki is mesmerizing for all the wrong reasons.
On a final note, I’m always asked how many photos to post. My personal ideal is four to six head and body shots. That way you don’t seem to by shying from the camera and hiding something. Nor do you appear conceited or desperate.
On another final note (I mean it this time, I promise), it’s been said that every picture tells a story. However, to make that story come alive, you need to complete your self-summary. Take it from an advertising expert – if you treat every element of your online dating profile like a marketing opportunity, your competition won’t stand a chance.
Kate Houston has been an ad writer and marketing expert for 20 plus years. She also founded trysweettalk.com, the only service in North America to use ad techniques so that dating profiles, LinkedIn profiles and professional bios stand out and get noticed. Check out her blog and follow her on Twitter or check out her Facebook page.