5 Tips for the Perfect Online Dating Profile Photo

t's 2021 and if you're not in a relationship, married or partnered with someone, it's more likely than not that you're on a dating website. I remember when people used to be ashamed of online dating or the group of individuals who claimed they would never be "that" desperate and subject themselves to online dating. They are now either single, dead, or have been abducted by aliens since I no longer hear from them.

Meeting someone is an art form, dating someone could be a challenge, and staying in a relationship is beautiful -- but it all starts with that first online dating profile photo. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then your online dating photo is priceless.

That's the photo people will base their next move on: swipe left or swipe right? Contact her? Or do I just skip over him? Is it fair? No. Is it realistic? Yes. I've been a photographer for over seven years and my bread and butter has been taking people's online dating photos. And in those seven years, clothes, styles, trends have changed--but one thing hasn't -- people still need a great online dating profile in order to make that match.

Here are my 5 tips for creating your best online dating profile photo.

Tip# 1: Face the music. Or I should say, face the camera.

You should have at least 3 types of photos in your online dating profile. A close up face photo, a 3/4 (waist up) shot, and a full body shot. Whether you work with a photographer or not, having these 3 types of photos in your profile are essential. People don't want surprises when it comes to dating, and by having these photos available--you can avoid any awkward moments. When it comes to all your photos, you want to be facing the camera and avoid sunglasses -- people want to see your eyes.

Tip# 2: Keep it real, not Kardashian.

We all know the Kardashians (whether you like them or not) always make appearances looking their best, and if you follow any of their social media platforms you'll discover that looking their best is courtesy of spending 2 hours with their "glam squad" and this is just to have them visit the backyard and drink tea. Yes, you want to look your best in your photos but not over produced. Ladies, If you go with hair and make up for your online dating photos make sure it's still YOU that comes across in the pics. There's nothing wrong with being a little extra but if you go all out Kardashian, then you better make sure that's who showing up each and every time you go out on a date, and marriage, and life.

Guys, my advice for you is to do the opposite. Men rarely glam up for their pics and that needs to change. I'm not talking about make up or adding anything fake, but make sure your skin is nicely moisturized and looks healthy. Because I use natural lighting, it does offer some forgiveness if you don't have great skin (who does?) but you want to help it along by not looking dry and blotchy in your photos. Also, I'll usually ask that you bring some chapstick along only to prime the lips and guarantee they look lively.

Tip# 3: Color me happy!

I will always suggest you wear color in your online dating profile photos, yes, even if you live in New York City. It's been scientifically proven that humans are attracted to color and the bolder the better. In a sea of dullness, you will stand out. A red top for the ladies or a bold blue button down for the fellas - that splash of color will certainly work to your advantage.

Tip# 4: Strike a pose.

Okay, here's where it gets tricky. We want the dating photos to look as candid as possible so if we are working together, I will not have you place your hand under your chin and smile. This isn't the time to relive your senior photo session when you graduated high school. I won't be asking the ladies to stand in the Wonder Woman pose while looking to the side -- it's just not natural. Online dating photos should come across as under produced -- a good online dating photo doesn't look staged or overly composed. That's why I suggest natural lighting, simple backdrops, and natural occurring pose.

Your photos should look like someone just "happened" to have captured a moment in your life—simple as that.

Tip# 5: No Photoshop.

None. Sorry! Okay, maybe a little. If you have a blemish that's not normally there, sure, go for it. But changing the shape of your nose, slimming down the waist, or removing things you think are flaws are just not authentic. And starting a dating life like that won't get you far. I'll adjust the contrast, fix a dark patch with brighter lighting here and there -- but no major photo editing. Besides, trust me, you don't need it -- you are amazingly perfect as is! And when you find the right person for you -- they will tell you so.

Whether you work with me, another photographer, or a friend -- your online dating photos are an important element that will make that first impression--so you want to get it right. I've been doing this for over seven years and I've had more than 5 clients contact me to do their wedding photos (after I did their dating profile shots) saying their dates, now future partners, claim their photo is what made them click on their profile or swipe right. Now, that paints a pretty picture!

Book your next photo shoot and make your mark with Marin!

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