As if dating isn’t hard enough, in the world of online dating, you’re first seen in pictures. How do we make internet dating fun then? By presenting yourself in the best possible way, while being honest and authentic. The great thing about being yourself online is that you're more likely to attract someone who you actually like in person! Meeting people is fun, but you don’t want to waste your time with people who aren’t fun for you!
As a portrait photographer, I have over a decade of experience photographing people for their eHarmony, Match.com and OkCupid profiles. You want photographs that will create the best interactions with other members.
Most online dating profiles let you set a main, profile photo and then have a gallery of more pictures. In all your photos, you want to have good lighting that isn’t too harsh. Bathroom selfies are popular because the light in bathrooms tends to be soft and bright, but is that really the message you want to send? Window light is also generally great for portraits. Standing in front of, or next to a window can work really well. Don’t have the window behind you, or it will be bright and your face will be dark.
If you’re taking photos outside, the sun is great. Get into position, and then close your eyes. Open your eyes and take the photo quickly, so you don’t look squinty. Also, I would steer clear of sunglasses in your dating profile photos, because someone hiding their eyes looks subconsciously suspicious.
And if you're into filters and face-tuning... take it easy. Natural and clean looking photos beat trendy filters every day. Nothing makes your photos look dated (sorry for the pun) like yesterday's filter. You can use a little bit of skin softening if you have it, but keep it natural. Don't face-tune yourself into looking like plastic. People are supposed to have texture in their skin.
So, now... first, you need a scroll-stopping profile photo. You're best bet is a headshot rather than a group photo or a full-body shot where you’re tiny in the photo. The profile photo is often first seen small, like a thumbnail. If you're trying to show too much, it doesn't look like anything when viewed small and quick. You on the top of a mountain isn’t going to look like much when someone is scrolling through tiny profile pictures. (Save that one for your gallery) We need to show off your beautiful eyes, and quick! Friendly smiles work great too. Just like how you’d smile at someone you spot in a room, you can smile at them in your profile picture too. A closely cropped headshot is the best way to show off a quick sparkle and catch someone's curiosity about you.
Next, you get to create a gallery of photos where you can really show off your personality. Don’t limit yourself to those photos of you in formal wear, and add photos that show your interests and spirit. The great thing about a gallery is that you can show a good variety. Here’s a picture of you dressed up, and here you are on a normal Saturday. Photos of you dancing or playing with your pet— or doing whatever you like to do— are fun, engaging and show people a genuine glimpse of who you are. If you’re outdoorsy, you should have some great photos of you in your hiking boots on a trail. If you’re into wine, then pictures of you at a wine bar are great. That picture on top of the mountain is great here.
You can tell online people so much about yourself using photography! When I photograph people for their online dating, we do a variety of locations and outfits to show how multi-faceted you are. Don’t be afraid of being “weird” because we’re all weird! Whatever you think is weird, is probably beautiful and interesting. If you’re funny, we can make someone laugh with your picture. If you’re witty, be witty in a photo. If you’re a giant softy, we'll show off your big heart. Nothing is more attractive than confidence and authenticity. So the real key to online dating pictures is to just be yourself.
If you're interested in booking a portrait session with me for your online dating profile, fill out this form and we'll get the ball rolling!