Updated: October 25, 2021
Duckface selfies. Cartoon filters. Shirtless gym pics. These photos won’t actually win you matches on dating sites. People are looking for an authentic date with a well-rounded life, so how do you make sure you show people who you really are? By choosing the best profile picture.
1. Show your natural smile.
Khalid S. Khan and Sameer Chaudhry, researchers from the University of North Texas and Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, examined multiple studies and found that a photo with a real, genuine smile attracts people more. You likely passed over this type of smile in your photo album because it squinches your eyes, making them smaller and highlighting crow’s-feet.
2. Look away and show your abs.
The website Big Think interviewed Sam Yagan, CEO of the dating site OkCupid, and learned that profile pictures trend better for men when they’re unsmiling and looking away from the camera. Potential matches also love pictures of guys who post ab shots, but only “really nice abs.”
3. Wait for the optimal time.
OkCupid found that people who take their best photos during the late-night and late-afternoon hours get more attention on the site. This could be because late-night photos tend to be sexier, and late-afternoon photos are ideally lit when the light is soft, heading into the sunset golden hour.
4. Turn the flash off.
A camera’s flash adds seven years, OkCupid also reports, making you appear much older in photos. So make sure the flash is off before you start snapping. Natural, soft light from the sun hides blemishes and aging effects like wrinkles, and you avoid flash glare like red eyes.
5. Add a full-body shot.
A shot taken of your full body where a romantic partner can get a good view of your body type can get you up to 203% more incoming messages according dating profile data from the online dating site and app Zoosk. Additionally, members with a full-body photo also get more replies to their messages—33% more than the average.
6. Avoid group shots.
Data from Zoosk also reveals that people who use group shots on their dating profile—especially as their lead image—receive 42% fewer messages than those who post pictures of just themselves.
7. Leave the pets out.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a cat or dog person, potential daters don’t like pet photos. Zoosk also found that poses with a dog or cat generate 53% fewer messages.
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