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dating profile portrait fun


Your dating profile pictures should show you at your best (especially in the tech savvy Bay Area), and feel natural and inviting.  Ideally, they should be outdoors in natural light so they don’t look too staged; if your pictures are too dark, they will be passed over.  (And note to daters Of A Certain Age, be careful of flash, as it can add years to your face.). Remember, this is your personal advertisement for yourself- false advertising does not go over well. 

As someone who has made a career of taking and looking at photos, I tend to take note of the shots that impress me and draw my attention on Tinder, Hinge, OKCupid, Bumble, The League, Coffee Meets Bagel,, eHarmony, Clover, Plenty of Fish, Silver Singles, Elite Singles, etc.  (If you would like to learn more, each of these sites has their own tips to users based on their own data analyses, as well).

There are some basic dos and don’ts for dating profile photos:


DO YOU! Genuinely.  Don’t market yourself as someone you are not. And do consider that what you wear.  If you only wear t-shirts, be true to yourself.  However, if you clean up nicely, show it.  Make sure your pictures show a variety of outfits, as well. (The general consensus on colors seems to be that men are attracted to red, blue and green. Women prefer more muted colors: grey, black, blue and white.  If you are interested in more color science, 


DON’T use your business headshot- save this for LinkedIn- it can come across as pretentious or contrived.  (On the same note, avoid filters- though a black and white or two are ok).


DO smile, a genuine, friendly, not-too-posed smile.  Hinge claims that women who show teeth and a broad smile to get more likes, while men have more success with softer smiles.


DON’T use photos that are blurry or too distant- context is fine, but people want to see your face and your expression.


DO use candids and activity shots- they will make you look more appealing, if only because you will genuinely be enjoying what you are doing. According to Hinge, activity and sports photos get more likes than others.  If you are not a sporty-type, think of an activity you enjoy and ask a friend to shoot some shots- perhaps at a farmers’ market, walking your dog.  (But men, cut it out with the fish pics, already. And skiing/motorcycle shots are fine IF they show your face).

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dating portrait photographer
headshot photographer, dating portrait
candid dating portrait photographer

DON’T wear sunglasses or a hat that blocks your face, if at all possible.  And while beards for men seem to be the new Covid style, if you are not wed to it, try including a few pictures without it. 


DO include a full-body shot if you can (another reason to hire a photographer, as these are hard to do as selfies).


DON’T use old photos- you can share those once you know each other a bit better.  Potential dates want to see you now, and they want to see that your dating profile matches the you they meet in person.

DO post more than one or two pictures- you will be passed over for someone who shows what they like to do, with an inviting, active life. (SEE BELOW)

DON’T include more than one group shot- stick to pictures of you alone, if possible.  This includes kids.   If you must include a picture with kids under 18, please block out their faces (for their protection, and it shows that you care).  Also, try not to use photos that crop out other people, as it can look as if you have cut out an ex- partner/ “baggage”.

Many of us struggle to find pictures we like of ourselves, but if you must do a selfie, consider this:

  • Your location is important- don’t take pix in your bathroom. Ever.

  • Watch the angle

  • Careful with the lighting… shade is best, but if it is sunny, look at least partially into the sun- if it is behind you, your face will be dark (consider this your photography 101 lesson).

Better yet, hire a pro… this is why I offer dating profile photography services. 

  • For those who are not local, or cannot afford a new set of portraits, I will be happy to adjust/edit a few pictures you already have, and provide a brief consultation on which to use in your profile.

  • My editorial-style, natural light portrait photography also works beautifully for dating profiles.  Please visit my gallery for samples.  Shoots can be 1-2 hours, and include outfit and location changes (women, make sure your profile does not include all/most of your pictures in one outfit) to capture you at your best, doing things you love to do. 


Below is an example of the varied shots we can produce in a 1-2 hour shoot.

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