Choosing a picture to use for your dating profile can be one of the trickiest parts of online dating. Should you smile? Look directly at the camera? Is it okay to choose a group shot? Should you use that picture you love from that time you went sky-diving? We’ve done some research, so you don’t have to. It turns out there are definitely some things that make for a more successful online dating photo. Here’s what you need to know:
- Do you really need a photo? YES! Nothing is more detrimental to your chances of receiving matches and messages than excluding an online dating photo. It’s even more important than writing the perfect dating profile. So, make sure you include something, even if it’s not perfect. But we’d recommend following these rules, since they’ve proven to be most successful…
- Does it matter if you smile or make eye contact? For women, making eye contact with the camera is the best approach, whether you’re smiling, not smiling, or making a flirty face. The single worst option for women is to use a photo where she’s making a flirty face and looking away from the camera. So, ladies, flirt with the camera! For men, the most successful photos were ones where men are not smiling and looking away from the camera. It seems women are just drawn to the mystery.
- What about your pets and hobbies? For men, an online dating photo is more successful when it features an animal or the man doing something interesting. The same is true for women too. Photos featuring pets, interesting hobbies, and travel are your best options. The least successful photos for women are ones of drinking, hanging out with friends, and of just their cleavage. It’s more important to be interesting and conversation-worthy than sexy if you want to receive messages. Speaking of being sexy…
- Should you show off your body? For men, photos of their abs lead to lots of matches — but only when they’re younger. Six packs drastically decrease in effectiveness as men age, so we’d advise you keep your shirt on. Women, on the other hand, actually see an increase in the number of message they receive when they include some cleavage in their photos. The assumption is that women are less inclined to show their body sexually as they age, which might make those who show off more successful than those who don’t. So, while men should keep their shirts on, the ladies should consider wearing something low-cut. Overall, an online dating photo that’s a full body shot are usually more successful, so make sure to include one (where you’re fully clothed, just to be clear).
- Is it okay to hide your face? Surprisingly, an online dating photo doesn’t need to show your face to be successful. If you upload a photo that’s mysterious, sexy, or unusual, it can actually lead people to be more interested in you. A shot of you from far away in an exotic location or wearing a mask while scuba diving are interesting enough to start a conversation, even without a visible face. You should not meet someone in person until you’ve seen their face though, so this would only work to start a conversation. Photos with hats or sunglasses, however, tend to have the inverse effect and lead to fewer matches. So, if you’re hiding your face, make sure you’re doing it in a fun way!
- Can you include your friends? No. Group photos can be confusing because it can sometimes be hard to tell which one is you. We know that your friends are important to you and can probably give others a great sense of your personality, but that doesn’t come through in a photo.