Advice and Insights for Modern Daters

Picture Not Perfect

When does editing a photo go from “best foot forward” to “fake AF”? Brande offers solutions to a letter writer whose dates continuously misrepresent their appearance.  

Q. I’m a 34-year-old guy and recently got on a dating app for the first time since ending a five year relationship. I’ve gone out with three girls and all of them looked considerably different than their profile photos. Everything from body type to smoothness of skin. I don’t even know how to describe it. I mentioned this to a female friend of mine who is younger and she explained to me that all girls Photoshop their photos. She seemed shocked I wouldn’t know this. I’m not on Instagram and rarely use Facebook, so I guess I missed this phenomenon where women “enhance” themselves to the point of looking like different people.

All of my pictures are recent and accurately depict how I look. Is this really a thing all women these days do? It seems incredibly dishonest and misleading.

Keith, 34, Washington D.C. 

A. No, photoshopping pictures to the point that they no longer resemble the real you isn’t something all women do – just a lot of them, and a lot of men too. In fact, 29 percent of men and 32 percent of women admit to editing the photos on their dating profiles — either with Photoshop, Facetune, or by using filters.*

With social media affording so many opportunities for us to filter our lives in more ways than one, it was really only a matter of time before the practice seeped over into online dating too, and you absolutely have a right to be turned off by this phenomenon.

29 percent of men and 32 percent of women admit to editing the photos on their dating profiles.

When it comes to dating, most of us try to put our best foot forward from the get-go. And when it comes to dating apps, that foot, so to speak, is our profile picture. Yes, a great bio is important too, but if a person can’t get past the pic, they’re definitely not getting to the bio. It’s for that reason many individuals attempt to enhance their physical features and ensure they have a larger dating pool to choose from. From that perspective, photoshopping makes a bit of sense. The problem is some people don’t realize the fine line between enhancing your natural beauty (like taking a pic in great lighting) and completely distorting your looks (heavy airbrushing and filtering) and they forget that if you successfully bait a person with a photo that looks nothing like you, the truth will come out eventually. Even if the person’s date is fine with their looks in real life, they’re likely still going to be rubbed the wrong way, as you were, by the fact that they misrepresented themselves, and then where do they end up in the end? Still single.

That being said, there’s nothing you can do to stop people from photoshopping their pics – but you can get clever about verifying a person’s true looks. One of the easiest methods is a little Facebook trick. If you know your match’s last name (Hinge, for example, provides first and last names) you can type “Photos of Susie Sunshine” in the search box. Voila — a treasure trove of photos that may or may not appear on the person’s profile. 

Another route — make a joke about getting catfished. Most people ask each other about their experience on a dating app when they first connect. When that conversation comes up, take the opportunity to tell your match a funny story about meeting up with a girl who looked nothing like her picture. Then say something like, “You’re not catfishing me right now, are you?” and send a pic of yourself with playful expression on your face. Hopefully, if the girl catches on, she’ll send a cute pic back that will confirm or deny her appearance. 

If these suggestions are bit too MacGyver for you, there’s always Google – just don’t take it too far. I understand wanting to eliminate the mystery regarding the person’s looks, but learning too much about someone online eliminates some of what makes dating in real life so much fun. So get the information you need, then slowly back away from the computer.

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Brande Victorian is the creator of where she chronicles tales of love in the time of weight loss along with other musings of her health and wellness journey. She also serves as Managing Editor of Follow her on Twitter and Instagram. Send questions to Brande at


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