Online Dating: 9 Tips for More Effective Profile Photos
The single most important factor in getting responses on an online dating site is the profile photo. As in the real world, attractive people are contacted more often than average-looking people. But there are a few things you can do to improve the odds.
Ladies: Make Eye Contact
According to research, women get better results by looking directly at the camera with a slightly flirty expression. Even the flirty expression didn't help if the subject was looking away. As a rule, men's decisions to make contact are based almost exclusively on the profile photos, while women consider both the photo and written profile.
Men: Forget the Smile
The most effective shot for men is no-smiling and looking away from the camera. For guys, looking flirty resulted in a dramatic reduction in contacts.
Do Something Interesting
Candid photos showing the subject doing something interesting resulted in more contacts.
Include Your Pet--Maybe
Photos that included cuddly animals also resulted in more contacts. However, more exotic pets such as reptiles or snakes seemed to discourage contacts.
Travel pictures in exotic locations were also shown to get higher contact results.
Four Photo Subjects to Avoid Cheers?
The photo subject most likely to discourage responses was a photo of the subject drinking. Most online daters are there because they aren't comfortable meeting people in bars.
Goodnight and Good-bye
Another background no-no is the picture of you in bed. No matter how tasteful you make the picture, there are negative connotations.
The Not-so-Great Outdoors
Most respondents preferred photos set indoors.
Three's (or More) is a Crowd
Finally, pictures of you having fun with a group of friends also served to discourage responses.
One of the most effective ways to choose good profile pictures is to enlist the help of a friend or relative of the opposite sex. If you are a member of several online dating sites, rotate pictures to see which garner the most response.
Make sure that your photos, profile, and preferences are in harmony. One of the biggest challenges in any relationship is the mixed message. Don't be afraid to show your personality--it's better to weed out the ones who wouldn't like the "real" you quickly so you can continue the search for the one who will. One overweight single widow was once asked how she coped with the fact that most single men preferred slender women. She smiled and replied "my weight has proven to be a great jerk filter."
Even imperfect people can find perfect matches online. Give it a try!