Single and Sadly Picture-less
Laurie offers profile picture tips to a recently-single guy hitting the dating app scene for the first time.
Q. I’m a 32-year-old male and just got out of a longterm relationship a several months ago. The dust has settled and I’m ready to get back out there, but dating apps weren’t around to this extent when I was last single and I’m having some trouble with my profile. It really doesn’t get much action.
I’m a good looking guy and have a stable career but literally every picture I have of myself from the past four years is with a bunch of friends or with my ex-girlfriend. Not sure what to do here, short of hiring a professional photographer to come take all new pictures of me. I want to be as efficient about this about possible and am wondering how I should go about this revamp?
Charlie, 32, San Antonio
A. First things first — you’re right to be concerned about your photos, since they’re what anyone viewing your profile sees first. Don’t be intimidated by the fact that you need new ones — that’s completely normal. Nearly every client I’ve worked with has needed at least a few new pictures when they started online dating. That’s thousands of people who were once in your position and have since gone on to have amazing dates and relationships.
Before you start snapping away, take stock of the photos you do have. Go through your camera roll, Facebook, Instagram, and any other platform where you may have photos. From those, pull your favorites.
You mentioned most of your recent photos are with friends or your ex. Ideally, you want to post pics where you are by yourself — you’re 11 percent more likely to get a like. (For women, that number jumps to 75 percent.)
Re: your ex: that same study found standing with a member of the opposite sex is one of the worst things you can do. Even if the person is just a friend or family member, if it looks like it could be a significant other, your likes decrease by 98 percent.
Don’t worry though — just because there are other people in most of your photos doesn’t mean they’re entirely unusable. If you can cleanly crop others out, it could still be a great shot to upload.
Profile photos featuring members of the opposite sex are 98 percent less likely to receive a like.
Onto the search — when browse dating apps, women are generally looking to understand two things: what you look like and what your life is like. Most often, you’ll need different photos to show off your looks and your life.
To show someone what you look like, you’ll want to upload a few face-focused photos where your face takes up most of the frame, and at least one full-body image where someone can see your shape. It’s awesome if these photos can show the environment of your life too, but it’s okay if they don’t. You can upload other photos that represent your life — even if they don’t show your face less clearly. For example, one of my clients posted a photo of himself at the top of the mountain from a ski trip and another of him running a race. Sports photos will always score likes — you’re 45 percent more likely to get a like on sports-related photos than the average pic.
Ideally, you want to upload 5-7 photos total. If you’re missing photos after you go through your camera roll and social networks, getting the right shots can be as simple as having a friend take a few the next time you go out together.
As a last resort, you may consider working with a photographer. There’s no shame in that — many people go this route. The key is choosing a photographer who specializes in lifestyle shots. Have him or her take casual shots at your home, a park, or somewhere with a relaxed vibe — the key is to look candid. No professional headshots!
Sports photos are 45 percent more likely to score a like than the average dating app photo.
Lastly, I’m wondering: have you written any text for your profile? Your photos are important, but so is what you write. Men often make the mistake of prioritizing their own photos because they prioritize a woman’s photos over her written profile. Don’t fall into that trap! My female clients are more likely to message a man who writes a description in his profile because they want to feel a connection beyond physical attraction.
In the text of your profile, focus on specific interests of yours rather than personality traits. Many people describe themselves as “fun” or “outgoing,” so words like these will make you sound like everyone else. Instead, tell her that you love running and what it was like to train for the half marathon you just finished. Being specific about your interests and sharing anecdotes will make for stronger connection points between you and your matches that will lead to more messages and dates.
Laurie Davis Edwards is a relationship coach and the founder of eFlirt, a company that has helped thousands of people find love. She’s responsible for more than 100 marriages and her advice has been featured in more than 500 international media outlets, including the New York Times, Good Morning America, Elle, and the Wall Street Journal. Send questions to Laurie at firstname.lastname@example.org with her name in the subject line.