Time was when dating websites were the last resort for nerds and socially awkward singles. Not anymore – now online dating is very much part of mainstream dating culture. And perhaps the most crucial part of the dating profile is the picture since it can make or break your chances of finding the perfect date. However this is also the part which most people get it wrong, prompted by misplaced notions of what would make them appear irresistible. So here are a few tips and tricks on how to take the right picture to go with your dating profile so that you get the kind of responses you want.
Tweak, don’t alter
Every photographer worth his/her SLR knows that the right makeup and light can make a person look amazing enough to be almost unrecognizable. The same results can now be obtained right at home with Photoshop since digital retouching of photos can do practically anything from making you appear slimmer to even lightening the skin color. And yet the whole point of having an online dating profile is to find someone to date in the real world. So if your date discovers a huge difference between what they saw in the photo and the person they find sitting before them, they are likely to feel cheated and hardly willing to meet you again. So instead of coming up with a photo that looks nothing like the real you, restrict yourself to minor corrections in your photo - like the removal of an unsightly scar perhaps or cleverly masking the receding hairline. This will make your picture look more attractive without doing away with the person who you really are.
TIP: Visit Match.com to browse photo profiles of single women and men looking for dates.
Make an effort
While it is right to be sincere about your looks, going the other extreme and posing as if you had just emerged from the shower would serve no purpose either. Prepare yourself like you would for a photograph for a yearbook or a resume and if you can manage to have the picture taken by a professional, so much the better. The effect of lighting, angle and some makeup could go on to make a noticeable difference to the final result in the best possible way.
Keep the focus on you
No matter how nice you look in a group picture, ideally they should not accompany your dating profile. The whole point of your profile photo is to let a potential partner know how you look and not to tell them how popular you are and what a loving family you have. There will be ample opportunity later for you to reveal those aspects of your personality. This is something that single parents are particularly susceptible to. Since they want prospective partners to accept them along with their children, they tend to take photos posing with their kids. However it would be good to remember here that the purpose of a dating profile photo is to make you come across as an attractive dating partner and not a parent. Even in case of dating websites for single parents, it would be wiser to keep your kids in the background until you reach a stage in your dating relationship when you would like to introduce your partner to your family.
Be careful of the context
Dating profile photos reveal much more than looks – essentially they send a message to the viewer about your lifestyle and the values that are important to you. So while you may be a connoisseur of fine spirits or fond of having a good time with friends, avoid posting pictures from bachelorette parties or a birthday bash where you are balancing a beer bottle on your head. Such photos may be interpreted differently by different people – those who know you may be aware that you can hold your drink but a prop like a liquor bottle in a photo might be construed by strangers as a tendency to alcoholism.
Keep it up to date
You may have been the most attractive member of your cheerleading team in your high school, but don’t let be an excuse for posting a ten year-old photo on your dating profile. It makes far more sense to use a recent picture and a good thumb rule is not to choose anything that is more than six months old. Keep in mind that you are seeking a dating partner who would like you for the person you are right now and not a Botoxed version of your past.
Avoid using a photo to flaunt your possessions
The downside of the consumerist culture of present times is that people tend to equate success with possessions – apparently the more expensive items you own, the greater your chances of social and personal success. However when taking a photo for a dating profile, don’t be tempted to pose right next to your boss’s swanky new convertible - you will be not only be cheating others into thinking that you can afford such luxuries, but more importantly, yourself into believing that you can keep up the charade forever. And even if the state-of-the art home theater system in the photo actually belongs to you, it will only serve to attract gold-diggers who will be more interested in your million-dollar condo than in you.
Finally avoid posing for a dating profile photo in revealing clothes since you are not looking for a hook-up through your online profile but for a dating partner. Showing too much skin will only attract contacts who are merely looking for sex and put off potential partners who may have been interested in a more meaningful relationship. The first step towards meeting a date is to find someone with whom you can spend an enjoyable evening, may be share a couple of interests and have a good conversation. Getting intimate should follow only when you are sure about making the person a larger part of your life.