I am writing this because I just keep seeing the same thing over and over and it is making me crazy. I know most dating websites have general tips and tricks on picking the best profile photos. I am not sure who is reading the advice given because I just checked my Match.com profile and in one day saw so many great examples of what NOT to do…I felt compelled…the blog must come out.
The absolute first thing you should do before publishing your profile or emailing anyone is: Have a trusted female friend look over your photos, your essay and everything else. I cannot stress this enough. Your mother doesn’t count. You need a woman close to your age who knows you, and has your best interest at heart. An ex-girlfriend is perfect, as long as you are on good terms.
Here are a few bad photo trends that I see repeatedly:
#1 – Bathroom Mirror Self-portrait – If you are really going to the full cliché then take every photo of yourself without a shirt. Just make sure we can see the cell phone in the photo, and make it clear that you are in your bathroom. Some men have nothing but shot after shot of themselves flexing in the mirror. If you want to look like a Jersey Shore type of douche bag – this is the perfect way to make that happen.
#2 – A photos of yourself with an ex-girlfriend with the woman’s face blacked out – When there is a big black box over the face of a former lover it speaks volumes. It says a lot about what you think of that person, and what it is saying is not very nice. The same goes for the artful crop, that is we can tell that you have carefully cropped out a former girlfriend. It’s fine on one photo but not so cool if all of your photos are like this.
3. Every photo is a group photo. – You would think this one would be obvious. It says something about you if every single photo is a group photo…and what it is saying is that yes, you have friends..BUT you are hiding something…not good.
4. All of your photos are taken from a far distance. – I don’t get the landscape photos, or photos from vacation that include no humans whatsoever. A photo of a nice sunset is lovely, but it says very little about what you look like. When I see this, I just assume the man is married, or hideous. It seems shady. Don’t do it.
5. Really old photos – Some guys take this to the extreme, I have seen photos from the 1970’s complete with the yellowed sepia film and obvious hair and wardrobe choices that are clearly not from this decade. It’s great if you had a wonderful bushy stash in the year in which I was born….but I would like to see what you look like now.
6. Nudity – The only exception to this rule is if you are looking for hook-ups or casual sex and you are making that very clear on the rest of your profile. Then by all means…show the goods. But there are sites for that sort of thing. Generally speaking on most dating sites, nudity will get you kicked off and your photos will be taken down. It is also probably not going to work as well as you think it is. Women like a nice looking male body, but you run the risk of repulsing a lot of women. It’s kind of like going up to a stranger and flashing them. If you are at a swingers club, this behavior could be extremely welcome. But if you are just standing on the street – women are libel to just run away from you. Most women just aren’t wired in quite the same way as the average male. Also your body might not be as smoking hot as you think it is. When in doubt – show a female friend and she what she thinks.
7. Scuba Gear – I have seen so many profiles in which the majority of photos are a man in scuba gear. Not one photo, but every photo. To me that says the man is either married, not confident in what he looks like, or embarrassed by being on an online dating site. Well get over it and show your face! Scuba gear gets its own category because it is nearly an epidemic online. I have no explanation for it, but it drives me crazy!
8. Sports – Sure some women love sports maybe even more than you do, but if every single photo of yourself on your profile is one of you playing a sport, it might be a turn-off for some. It’s not the worst thing you can do and it does say to any potential date…”I love sports!” But you might want to throw in a straight shot of yourself just hanging out, instead of having every single shot in tiny running shorts covered in sweat.
9. Ironic boa, dress, women’s clothing – WHY? WHY? WHY do I keep finding these? It’s just confusing unless cross dressing is your thing. In one man’s profile, half of his photos were in full drag, while the other half were in mens clothing. He was open about being a cross dresser and I had to give him kudos for that. Sure, he will turn off most women, but for the women who are actually seeking a cross-dresser the profile will be a magnet for them. I all for honesty! If you are cross dressing as an ironic joke, women who don’t know you may not get your sense of humor.
10. All Body shots, none of the face – This one just makes me think – married man. I’ve actually found numerous profiles like this where the man explains he is married and cheating on his wife. One even said he was specifically not in an open marriage, nor was he polyamorous – he was just looking to cheat. If you aren’t married, then why not show your face? Nearly everyone tries online dating at some point. There is no shame in looking for love online, and I have actually encountered a few men online with fairly high profile jobs. Don’t hide. If you want to look suspicious having no face shots is an easy way to do it.
11. Pay attention to your backdrop and details – I’ve seen many photos with men still wearing their wedding rings. They could be old photos, but they are definitely sending a mixed message. The married man who boasted about cheating on his wife had a baby fence behind him in one of his shots. Sure it could have been for a dog, but it looked absolutely dreadful.
12. Only one shot – You can’t be bothered. And it increases the likelihood that you won’t look like this one photo. I have found a good rule of thumb is 5-6 but it never bothers me when a man has 20, as long as 10 of them aren’t landscape shots.
I know men read this blog, because I can tell when they search for it. Hopefully some of them might re-think their online profile photos after they read this, but maybe not. I want everyone to find the love of their life out there, so put your best face forward…and please show your freaking face!
- Vivian Diller, Ph.D.: 7 Tips to Create a Profile Photo: There’s More Than Meets the Eye (huffingtonpost.com)
- The Awful Truth About Dating Profile Pictures (toptenz.net)
- Dating Online: The Coward (julietjeskeblog.com)
- Dating Online: The Liars (julietjeskeblog.com)
- Dating Online: Mr. Online ONLY (julietjeskeblog.com)
- Dating After Divorce: Why is it so Difficult in your Late Thirties? (julietjeskeblog.com)
- Dating Online: Mr. Houdini (julietjeskeblog.com)
- Dating in NYC: Pepe Le Pew (julietjeskeblog.com)
- Dating Online: No Stranger I’m Not Meeting You for Breakfast (julietjeskeblog.com)
- Dating in NYC: The Snob (julietjeskeblog.com)