Picture Perfect: The Do's And Don'ts of Choosing Photos For Your Dating App Profile
Updated: Oct 9
Your Guide to Creating 'The Perfect Dating App Profile Pictures'
A picture is worth a thousand words...
And in the world of Dating App Profiles, maybe even more.
Yet where to begin...a glamorous headshot? An activewear hiking scene? Photos with your bestie, dog, or family?
It can feel like a lot of pressure to pick the perfect shots to create the dating app profile that will bring you the partner of your dreams. I mean you're only trying to meet the love of your life here! Sheesh. Well, have no fear, because I have compiled a few key Dating App Pic Do's and Don'ts that are guaranteed to not only help you find fabulous potential partners but actually enjoy the process!
Dating App Profile Pic Do's...
Who says dating apps can't be fun? Dating app profiles are more engaging than ever and you are being given an opportunity to really let your personality shine. You can use your creativity to cultivate a picture-perfect collection of dating app profile pics that will draw in and magnetize aligned matches, without you even trying! Yes, it's totally possible and totally attainable. Here's how!
1. Create a Theme
You are a shiny, multifaceted, magnetic being! You probably have a lot of sides, various interests, and lots of things you want to get across to potential matches via your dating profile. However, while you do want to provide a good amount of information, you want it all to be valuable info to the dating process and to potential partners. This means you may have to narrow down all of the awesome things about you to the most awesome. Leave a little mystery, let them find out the rest as they go along!
So if you had to pick the top 3 things you love to do, the top 3 words you would use to describe yourself, and the top 3 things you would want someone else to know about you, within those concentric circles will be a theme. So let's say you are a nature-loving, dog-obsessed, adventurer. There's your theme.
Those are the three aspects and areas of your life you should highlight through your pictures. Yes, even if you look a little scruffy in some of them. If they are accurate depictions of your day-to-day life, loves, and the pursuit of your happiness, then they belong on your profile.
This is a simple way to begin magnetizing people with similar interests. If you have a picture or two of you and your dog on a hike, it sends a clear message that your pooch is an integral part of your life and a big part of dating you. So non-dog-lovers can just keep scrolling. Someone who hates hiking can swipe on.
You want things that accurately represent your life and passions, because if you yourself hate hiking, but post a picture of you hiking that one time you went, then guess what, you're going to attract hikers and will have to spend the next 3 months on the app explaining to potential daters that you do not in fact like hiking enough to do it on a date. See the problem there? Creating a theme, helps prevent that.
2. Pick Your Faves
Here's a thought, instead of fretting over what someone else might like... what pictures do you like? What are some of your fave photos? Chances are if you really like them, your special someone will too! Are there some that really show you in your best light or doing your favorite thing?
Yes, even if you are a little muddy following your first triathlon, yes, even if your face is a little obscured by a scuba diving mask, and even if you look a little sweaty and scruffy after your first day on the Pacific Coast Trail. Even if the photo itself isn't picture perfect, it's depiction of you, who you are and your favorite things about yourself might be just the thing to draw in your special someone!
So spend some time going through your photos and see which ones really catch your eye because they are probably the same ones that will pique someone else's interest too.
3. Be Authentic
It's actually fairly simple, if you don't hike, don't post hiking pictures. If you don't dress up, don't put the picture of the one time you actually did. If you don't brunch, leave off the food photos. I know it can be tempting to post photos you think people will like or look like what everyone else is posting, but all that will do is get you knee-deep in incompatible matches.
The key to dating apps is to make them work for you, instead of feeling like you are working overtime on them. I know it can start to feel a bit like a popularity contest of getting the most messages and wanting everyone to like you, but the true point of the apps is to attract potential matches so you can go on dates.
Most people use the apps to find a potential partner and start a relationship, which means you want compatible matches. You want people with similar interests, goals, and values reaching out to you, not a flood of people with which you have nothing in common. That is where most people get very burnt out on the apps, but creating a profile and especially pictures that are authentic to who you genuinely are, creates a magnetic effect for the right people, which allows the app to begin working for you, instead of against you.
Dating App Pic Don'ts...
So now you know what To Do, how about we quickly peruse what NOT to do? These tips will help guide you away from some of the biggest dating app pic faux pas that just tend to get in the way of you finding your perfect partner.
1. Be Obvious
No offense, but I'm especially looking at the men here. So often I see men posting photos of what they think women want to see, or highlighting attributes they think will make them more attractive to women. So keep in mind, if you are posting a picture with a baby relative of yours, or a puppy that doesn't belong to you, yes, we can see right through that. If you're posting photos of you shirtless in the gym mirror. Yes, we can see right through that.
Same for women. If you are posting bikini shots of yourself, or saying you want someone to "take care of you" or "be a good provider" it's not a good look. Men can see right through that. So you will either attract a lot of casual fling-ers, some interested swing-ers, or a whole lot of sugar daddies. Which if that's what you're after, then go for it, but otherwise you want to steer clear of those types of advertisements.
The art of dating requires some subtlety friends. So if you are a male wanting to get across the memo that you are really active and into fitness, then a muddy, shirtless photo of you smiling and holding up your Triathlon trophy, is a winning shot. Ladies, a photo of you in your bathing suit setting up a perfect vollyball spike...now we are talking.
There are ways to highlight your beach-ready bod and favorite self-attributes without making it look like you are advertising something else or trying waaaay too hard.
P.S. Also the fish photos. Like just why? I mean I get a lot of men are into fishing, but we as ladies, do not want to see a picture of some giant gaping-mouthed fish being held up by a shirtless you. Now if it's some cool action shot of a giant marlin being propelled through the air while you wrangle it onto the boat, that's at least fairly interesting. But do yourself, and us, a favor and leave the fish photos in the album.
2. Choose Photos That Don't Align
Think of it this way, if you say you are looking for a relationship but post a picture with an ex, then does that send the message that you are ready for a new relationship? Not exactly. Yes, even if you put a blob over your ex's face, most people can still tell it's your ex. In fact, I usually, discourage posting photos that include other people in general, unless it's a pet, as in your pet, simply because it isn't necessary.
A dating app is a snapshot of you, a 3-5 second take of who you are, so unless you want someone to get a very clear image that your ex is somehow still involved in your life in some form, then I would just leave those types of photos out. Yes, even if you look really good in it.
Also, consider what your photos are saying and how they match up with your goals. If you say you want a long-term or even life-long relationship, then post a photo of you doing a keg stand, or downing champagne at a bachelorette party in lingerie, I'm sure you can see why those types of photos might not support that claim. Not that you have to be super serious in all your photos, definitely show your fun side, but try to keep in mind what the image is actually portraying. Keg stands portray immature college party days, not long-term relationship stages of life.
3. Be Disenguine/Deceptive
The biggest Dating App Profile Pic no-no is being deceptive or disingenuous. That could include using heavy filters, using photos more than 5 years old, using someone else's photos(!), and so on. If it's not a good representation of you, as you are today, then just don't use it. Once again, remember the goal of the dating app is to find a partnership in some form, which means you want someone who likes the real you, exactly as you are today.
The last thing you want to do is show up on a date and see the disappointed look on your dating partner's face when they realize you look nothing like your photos, don't do any of the activities you claimed to, or are actually 10 years older than what you told them.
Remember, the goal of the apps is to meet up in person, so that means all of those little white lies, tiny fudges or straight-out mistruths will come to light and usually sooner rather than later. It really is best to just be yourself from the get-go.
Keep in mind, the apps are not a popularity contest, they are to provide you with aligned matches that have relationship potential for you. It's better to have one truly aligned match, than 20 misaligned ones. You win at dating apps by finding your person and getting off the app, as Hinge says "The apps are made to be deleted."
To Sum It Up...
I know that's a lot of information to take in. Yet really it comes down to just a few simple things. Be yourself, be authentic, and try to enjoy the process.
If you pick some of your favorite photos, chances are they will be just as magnetic as you are.
Give the people a little taste, a small sample, don't worry if you don't include every single detail of your life, just show the highlight reel. That is why the apps have messaging features, you can get more info later on! Just be yourself, and post what you like, that is the surest way to attract someone who also likes you!
To take the next step and see how to get even more in-depth with creating a dating funnel, check out my Create Your Own Dating Funnel Guide here.