When it comes to online dating, the importance of your profile photo cannot be over-emphasized. In much the same way as an album sleeve or book cover is always designed to be eye-catching, enticing prospective buyers, your main image must always stand out. Potential dates will be surfing through extensive lists of personals, and when faced with so much choice there has to be an instant attraction. If there’s the slightest reason for them to swipe away from your photo, they surely will.
Forget about selfies
You’re certainly not going to stand out from the crowd if you present a photo which looks like you composed it yourself while waiting for a bus. This is the equivalent of turning up to a job interview in jeans. Your profile picture should be a statement of intent and needs to convey the impression you are serious about looking for a relationship online. So forget about flippancy or trying to look too relaxed. Save casual shots for your Facebook page.
Know your best side
Unless you are some kind of a hermit, there will undoubtedly be many examples of photographs of you: in albums, in framed portraits on the mantelpiece, or clogging up the disk space in your computer or smartphone. These will give you a good idea of your best angle when it comes to your profile photo. Most of us have a particular site which shows us off in the best light.
Try to look natural
When you pose for that all-important photograph, it’s so important to look approachable. Try and achieve a balance between someone who looks as if they are serious about getting matched on a dating site, but also has a good sense of humor. So forget about trying to appear wacky or ‘out there.’ You just want to give the impression you are smart, reliable and interesting.
Accuracy is everything
One thing that puts people off dating sites is the possibility of coming across a catfish scenario. This is when they are trying to connect with someone who turns out to be presenting a completely false impression. So the image you reveal to potential partners must be 100% accurate.
Don’t be tempted to dig out images from 10 years ago because you look so much cleaner and healthier. What will happen when you have to actually meet in the flesh? The person you have been trying to impress will see you as a fraud and wonder what else you have been lying to them about. If you possess Photoshop software, never be tempted to use this to alter a photograph. Again, you will only achieve the impression you are obsessed with superficial issues and cannot be trusted.
Have a shortlist before you post
Although online dating is all about convenience and immediacy, especially when compare to the offline version, never be tempted to rush into anything. Take a number of profile photographs and think carefully before deciding which one to actually post. This isn’t a race and the one you eventually choose to be your flagship image needs to be right.
Use more than one
Most dating sites will allow you to submit a portfolio of photographs. The main photograph should certainly be the one which draws people in, encouraging them to want to find out about the personality behind it. But you can also use subsidiary images to show other aspects of your character. You could always post pictures in which you are performing your favorite hobby, whether that’s tenpin bowling or scuba diving. Anything which presents you as an interesting individual.