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Do’s and Don’ts of Selecting Your Dating Profile Picture(s)

By Ali of @FindingMrHeight

They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. But on a dating app, the cover is all you have! Your first photo is what will make someone decide whether or not to read further. And often, it’s all they’ll see since so many people swipe first and only read profiles once they’ve matched with someone. Use these dos and don’ts to get more people scrolling down before they swipe left!

Do

keep other people out of your first photo. Your potential matches want to know who they’re swiping on! I don’t care how good you look – it won’t matter if no one knows who you are.

Don’t

wear a hat or sunglasses in your first photo. These can be okay in later photos, but your first photo should be full face. And on that note…

Do

crop your first photo to basically a headshot: head & shoulders only. People want to see your face! Let’s not make them zoom for it. Because honestly, they won’t.

Don’t

use emojis or a marker to cover other people’s faces. If you don’t want them in the picture (and trust me, you don’t want them in the picture), crop them out! Otherwise, all you’ve done is draw people’s attention to that other person and away from you!

Do

give me a full, toothy grin in that first photo. I hate to tell anyone to smile, but you want someone to see your photo and imagine the smiles you’ll have together. Besides, research shows that a smiling face is more attractive! However, it’s important that it’s a genuine smile. Do you have trouble smiling in photos? Try this: start pretending to laugh. You’ll feel silly, but eventually you’ll start actually laughing and get a great photo. 

Don’t

have any photos of you and a member of your target demographic. It doesn’t matter if you caption it “me and my brother” – many people won’t read that caption and just assume it’s you and an ex. And if it is you and an ex? What are you doing??

Do

make sure all your pictures are in focus. If it isn’t high quality enough to be crisp when blown up to an entire phone screen, it doesn’t belong on your profile!

Don’t

forget to check what your photos look like after you upload them. Different apps have different ways of cropping photos, with many cropping to a square in the middle of your photo unless someone clicks into it. Use the app’s profile view tool to make sure you’re happy with how it looks!

Do

include photos of you doing an activity you like, especially if it’s unique! This is also a great opportunity to use a full body picture while still communicating something about who you are. Photos with activities are much more likely to get engagement!

Don’t

show other people’s children (especially if you don’t have express permission). Your kids are your call, but there are other ways to show that you’re family-oriented than exposing your nieces’/nephews’ faces to the internet.

Do

remove all obvious filters from your pictures. Everyone knows what the Snapchat dog filter looks like – we don’t need to see it over your face!

Don’t

include a group photo unless it says something about you. You and your friends hiking the Grand Canyon? Great, you’re outdoorsy. You and your friends posing in front of a wall? Not great…it’s you and a wall.

Do

include a video if the app you’re using allows them. Data from dating apps themselves indicates that videos get up to 10x more likes than photos! Pick something fun (like an activity) for extra engagement. No videos you like? No problem. You can turn a live photo into a gif!

Don’t

include photos that you’re not in. This sounds obvious, but based on the profiles I’ve reviewed…it’s not. Want to show off your dog? Take a photo with him! Want to showcase a great meme? That’s what your Instagram story is for.

Do

have fun with it! Consider switching around your pictures every so often to give your profile a fresh feel and also get a sense for which ones are working best. Take note of which photos get the most comments or likes and consider moving those closer to the top. 

Most of all, remember that your profile is only a snippet of who you are. Your photos should be just enough to make someone think, “wow, I really want to get to know that person” – so they’ll match with you and get to it! And if you’re looking for more 1:1 feedback, check out my Profile Reboot & Profile Review programs at findingmrheight.com.