Updated: Nov 19
Do you know that the best photos for dating apps are not about getting perfectly lit, posed portraits, they have quite a bit to do with activities, expressions, candidness, self-deprecating humor, lifestyle, being comfortable in your own skin and being approachable...
Travel Photos – Seems obvious, but these photos show the type of traveler you are (beach bum, explorer) as well as places you find interesting and amazing. Also people are more relaxed and more likely to be enjoying themselves on vacation plus as an added bonus travel photos make it easier to initiate an opening message.
Photos that evoke curiosity, exploring culture, and embracing the local offerings are far more effective than taking cliche photos from tourist traps and walk up photo locations. An ability to seek out the things that are harder to find, more obscure or only locals would know about are th best types of travel photos to include in your dating profile.
Group Photo / Social Environment – Photos taken with friends or activities you enjoy doing often yield smiles. Added validation of having friends or families and enjoying fun, social activities is also a bonus. However, if your friends seem annoying, immature or cringy, they can offset how good or attractive you are. After all, these are the people you spend your time with and that is an added factor to consider when swiping.
Pro-tip: Make sure you don’t make a group photo as your main photo and don’t include super attractive friends next to you or tall friends if you are a short guy.
Special Occasion, Formal Event – A photo in a suit or dress at a wedding, black tie event or business event can provide an opportunity to get dressed up in the appropriate environment and give a glimpse of your style and how you clean up. Generally these are fun events and much easier to smile and enjoy yourself in photos than a work headshot or networking event for your job.
Pro-tip: See if there is a professional photographer at the event and get your photo taken.
Halloween – This holiday is a great time of the year to show your creativity and spirit which is hard to convey in text. With opportunities to take photos at office parties and contests as well as parties, this day is the easiest day to capture photos as well as initiate conversation on and offline. Hand-made costumes are the best – committing to the costume is key. Go big or go home.
Pro-tip: This is one of the few types of photos where it’s ok to be covered up or have imperfect lighting.
Outdoor / Physical Activity, Full Body – A carefully (tastefully) taken photo at the beach, athletic attire out hiking can provide an excuse to show a little extra skin, muscle definition, lean body and energy level in a natural environment with others. Avoid gym and lifting photos.
Be sure these photos are tasteful and organic – trying too hard can quickly make these photos super cringy. Rather than capture the action shot, a slight pause or pre/post action shot is best.
Pro-tip: super distant photos, race photos and photos where you are flexing are awful. Looking effortless is key.
Close-Up – People want to see how you look like up close. Avoid photoshopped LinkedIn photos and cropped floating head photos that take up 80-90% of the frame. Ideally want to capture photos that also feature your chest and shoulders and a little extra space. Go with a close-up 1/2, 1/4 or chest up shot of you smiling or laughing.
Restaurant / Bar (Environmental Photos) – Your favorite food dish or beverage should put a smile on your face. A photo like this can show your favorite spots around town and possibly spark a conversation about a place the other person loves or has been wanting to explore. The best photos focus more on excitement, backgrounds and uniqueness rather than perfect lighting and poses.
Pro-tip: Follow publications like Eater so you know which places are trending and which ones people are craving.
Embarrassing / Self-Deprecating Humor – The ability to share an embarrassing moment is the ultimate sign of confidence and comfort in your own skin.
An epic snowboarding fail, failing into a wet cement pit or spilling something on your shirt in the proper frame and context can show you are not insecure. Too many people are afraid to be a little vulnerable but being a bit clumsy at the right time can let down people’s guard and make them feel more comfortable around you.
Pro-tip: Friends are great to capture these photos as they are more about the moment than they are about taking a perfect, well-lite, framed photo.
Well-Lit, Properly Framed/Cropped – Photos should not be too dark nor too grainy nor too distant. It’s fine to have one environmental photo of you in the distance, but this shouldn’t be the main profile photo nor should you use several photos like this. People want to see your physique, your face, your smile, your style.
Avoid taking photos with harsh shadows around the eyes or using a camera phone flash as those create raccoon eyes, highlight oily skin and give off the deer in the headlight looks which is never flattering
Pro-tip: Avoid sunglasses, hoodies, harsh light that causes oily skin.
This is a great way to show that you have interests beyond what is said in words in a profile or prompts. Giving back is an easy way to get some good photos (usually others are taking photos during volunteer events).
Smile, Smile, Smile – First impressions are everything. Angry, narcissistic, self-absorbed photos are generally a turn-off. A healthy balance between confident and approachable photos are ideal. A good smile can instantly make you more attractive.
The biggest complaint I get from women are that guys seem too uptight and intense. Locking jaws, trying to pose like a model or looking away is an obvious sign of insecurity.
Pro-tip: Practice posing in the mirror to see what smile works best for your face.