It has been over a week since you’ve created your new dating profile and there hasn’t been much of a response. Despite your efforts to chat with other members on the site and capture someone’s interest, you still haven’t gone on a first date. Whether all the wrong people are sending you “flirts” or your profile is like a ghost town with no one in sight, the problem may be your profile picture.
Sure, everyone says not to judge a book by its cover but let’s be honest, we all do it. Unfortunately, a significant part of being attracted to someone is their physical appearance. With this being said, your profile picture is the very first impression you make on potential partners. We all know how important first impressions are, so why did you rush to choose a picture? There are a few common mistakes people make when taking a picture that can end up sending the wrong message. Here are five reasons your picture could be doing just that.
You’re a Little Too Mysterious
Okay some mystery and spontaneity in a relationship is a good thing but not when it comes to your face. People want to be able to put a face to a name and they can’t do that if you don’t even bother uploading a picture. Feeling a little insecure? I have good news for you – you are not alone! Everyone has their insecurities but you certainly are not going to feel any better by setting yourself up to fail. Believe it or not, that is exactly what you are doing when you shy away from choosing a profile picture.
No one likes to day dream about that generic grey silhouette or the question mark that often substitutes a picture of your face. Don’t get me wrong, uploading a stock photo of a sunset won’t do the trick either. Just think about who you choose to talk to online. Is it the person who chose a picture of a palm tree or is it the person who uploaded a picture of themselves?
We Don’t Want to Play “Where’s Waldo”
So you’ve decided to take the leap and choose a picture of yourself for you online dating profile. That’s awesome, but is it just you in the picture? If not, you should rethink your selection. It can be really confusing to those viewing your profile when they have no idea which person is actually you.
It can also lead to viewers jumping to conclusions you’d rather they didn’t. For example, if you are a man seeking a relationship with a woman and your profile picture is you surrounded by ten different women, this could send out some warning signs regardless of your intentions. And ladies, it goes both ways. The moral of the story is, try and find or a take a picture of yourself, by yourself.
Not Quite Mysterious Enough…
Another thing most of us online daters do not want to see in your profile picture is your nearly naked body. There is a time and a place for nudity and it isn’t before the first date on your profile page. While everyone can admire your confidence, it’s a little early to admire your six pack or your décolletage. Whether you are taking a shirtless picture to show off your abs or adjusting the camera angle to highlight your cleavage, the initial results will be positive. You will probably notice an increase in messages but soon realize these messages do not turn into real conversations.
Another factor to consider before snapping that half naked photo is your age. Typically, the older you get, the less likely showing off skin will benefit you and positively impact the number of messages you see in your inbox. Try to keep your profile picture simple and friendly. If you are seeking a long term, successful relationship uploading a suggestive picture is not recommended.
The Phone and the Flash
Now you should be on the right track. You understand that you need a picture up and it needs to be of just you. It’s time to talk about the picture quality. I’m not suggesting you splurge on a DSLR just to take your profile picture but it should be a relatively high quality photo. If it is blurry, I probably won’t be able to find you any better than if you uploaded that picture of you with a group of friends. If I can’t see you in your picture, neither will any potential dates. Your phone, assuming it was made within the last five years or so, will work just fine for taking your profile picture. Be sure to take the photo in natural light, preferably in the morning. Ideally you will have someone else take it for you but a selfie can also work. The picture you really want to avoid is the grainy, mirror selfie. No one should be able to see your phone or the camera’s flash in the picture.
Depending on what online dating service you use, this is another one of those factors that can deliver misleading results. Remember the issue of showing off your body in your picture? The same sort of problem applies to mirror selfies taken in the bathroom. These can draw attention to your profile (especially if you are on popular free online dating platforms) but the messages that result from this very relatable kind of selfie, do not necessarily mean you are having conversations that will lead to serious first dates.
Actions Speak Louder than Words
Instead of simply listing all of the things you enjoy doing in your free time, why not include your hobby in your profile picture? This can add interest to your profile and it makes for an easy way to break the ice. The best part is, this kind of conversation starter will actually lead to a meaningful discussion between you and other members. If your profile says you play the drums, then have a picture taken of you rocking out. Is your dog your best buddy? Try taking a picture with your beloved pet. Much like the infamous mirror selfie, pictures that show you participating in a hobby, make you much more relatable. The difference of course, is in the quality of conversations you will have.
Another added bonus of the hobby picture is you don’t necessarily have to be smiling right at the camera like you probably would in an ordinary selfie. Why? You’re already suggesting to potential partners that you are generally a happy person by showing them you do something you love. So, if you are not in love with your smile or just like to be a bit subtler than the traditional selfie, consider taking a picture while doing something you enjoy.
I know it seems like there isn’t a single, good picture you could choose for your profile after reading through all of the ways a picture can send the wrong message. Don’t get discouraged. Your picture should be taken in natural light and not in the bathroom mirror. Remember that this is your dating profile so save the picture you took with all of your friends for Facebook. Keep the profile picture clean and don’t forget to keep your shirt on if you want to have meaningful conversations. In fact, put on you a favorite outfit so you can feel confident and happy because a smile will get you much further than appearing angry ever will. Don’t like to smile right at the camera? Try taking a picture while you play guitar or while you’re out hiking. They say a picture is worth a million words. What do you want your picture to say about you?