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Internet Dating

Photos for Internet Dating

When you use Internet dating sites like OkCupid, Tinder, Jdate, Match.com or eHarmony, photographs become a critical component of your online dating profile.

However, traditional headshot or lifestyle photographs are not usually ideal for online dating profiles. This is especially true in the greater Los Angeles area where there's a perceived stigma associated with the acting profession and the headshots often found in dating profiles. Therefore, if you post an obvious "headshot" as your profile photo, you're often narrowing the field of individuals who might consider you for their potential match. 

As a portrait photographer, I have over a decade of experience with online dating sites and the kinds of photographs that are likely to create the greatest amount of interaction with other members. I've even been interviewed about how to have amazing online dating photos in national publications like Thrillest.

The photos you present in your profile should be of professional quality. However, the photographs shouldn't look like they were taken by a professional. Can you appreciate this irony? People who visit dating sites prefer to see the natural you rather than a photograph similar to those you often receive when you visit your local mall or department store photographer.

I've developed a unique program whereby I'll photograph you in such a way that will make you stand out among the hundreds of other online profiles. I do this by creating a series of photos that showcase your personality and physique in a variety of different wardrobes and poses—emphasizing your genuine warmth and approachability.

As an additional consideration, these portraits may also be used for a wide variety of purposes outside of the online dating scene (including gifting to parents, friends, and relatives).

If you're interested in portrait session for online dating, simply book me like you would for any typical environmental portrait session; just make sure you mention that you need the photos for online dating. I'll take care of the rest!

Common Online Dating Questions

What is the number-one mistake people make when taking and/or choosing profile pictures for dating sites?

The number one mistake people make when selecting profile photographs for online dating is that they don’t pick photographs that make them appear friendly and approachable. The number one thing to remember for your primary profile photo is to show yourself smiling and happy.

What is the first thing everyone should consider when taking a profile picture?

The first thing someone should consider when selecting photographs for your online dating photographs is does the photograph reflect the real you. It’s really easy to hide things about people in photographs. In just a few minutes I can make someone look 20 pounds lighter and give them perfect skin. But is that really what your opposite is going to see when you meet for the first time? I know that many people who approach online dating might think to themselves, “but when they meet me in person, I’m sure they’re going to overlook all of my flaws.” And although that’s theoretically possible, it’s extremely unlikely that would happen. It’s far more likely that you’ll disappoint the person that you’re meeting and have a less-than-perfect first date.

Are the rules different for men and women?

When picking photographs for your online dating photos, I don’t think that the rules are different for men than they are for women. Every dating profile, for men or women, should include a minimum of three photographs. The first photograph should be a head and shoulders portrait that shows the top of your head down to at least your collar bone. The second photo you should include should be a 3/4 length portrait that shows you from your head to just above your knees. The third photograph you include should be a fun, storytelling photo that reveals something about your passions or your personality. The first two photos provide viewers with all of the information they need to determine if they might be physically attracted to you while the third photograph helps them better determine if they could be attracted to your nature or hobbies.

How much of a difference does it make if a photo is a selfie or taken by another person?

If you’re choosing selfies for your online profile, there are some subtle messages your sending that you might not have considered. A fun selfie where you’re laughing or having a great time tells a great story. However, a serious-faced selfie may make you appear to be self-absorbed by some viewers. I think that there are great examples of selfies used in online dating profiles out there, but some careful consideration is recommended before you add them to your profile.

How do you toe the line as a photographer in trying to make someone look attractive, while also ensuring they look like themselves?

When I photograph someone, I create images that represent the best attributes of that person in the most natural way possible. And when I retouch those photographs, I only remove things that could be considered temporary. For example, I feel that removing acne is fine, but removing sun spots is not. The last thing you want is a disappointed look on someone’s face when you show up to meet them for the first time when you look nothing like your photograph.

Are there settings/scenes in profile pics that are more or less favorable for people to consider?

When you share photos on your dating profile, the background in your photo can impact people both positively and negatively, depending on your surroundings. For example, If the background of your photos is a private residence, then some viewers may judge your sense of style, taste, and level of success based on that information. Likewise, if you include profile photos that show you in exotic destinations, that will appeal to others who might like to travel. 

As an additional example, if your photos feature you hiking in the wilderness, that will appeal to outdoorsy people. Seeing your passions represented photographically helps reinforce the things that you mention in the text portion of your profile. Just remember that photographs tell a story and that you need to make sure that they don’t misrepresent. In other words, if you’re featured sitting on a couch in luxurious surroundings, the viewer might make several assumptions. They could think nothing of it, or they could think that it’s your house and that you’re very successful, or they could think that you prefer to date wealthy individuals. Therefore, in some cases, neutrality in your location choices often offers the least risk.

How about group shots of people? Is that OK for profile pics?

I think that it’s fine to include one or two photos in your profile that show you interacting with groups of people. Those kinds of photographs can show that you have friends and a social life. However, you need to be careful of any mixed messages. For example, if the photograph shows you in close contact with someone who might match the kind of person you’re looking to date, the viewer might jump to the conclusion that you’re showing photos of people you’ve dated previously. 

You can overcome that issue by adding a written description to your photo explaining that the person in question is just a friend. However, just remember that some online daters won’t read that far into your profile. The only thing worse than close contact with someone in a photo is when you chop someone out of the photograph. Nothing screams “here’s my ex” than a disembodied arm in your photo. And that’s a definite no-no in online dating.

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