You can probably guess how important it is to have a photo (or better yet, more than one) in your online dating profile. According to eHarmony, profiles with photos are nine times more likely to get a communication. No picture, no dates. Prospective mates need to see you to get a feel for who you are, and a picture is worth a thousand words.
That said, there are certain things that should NOT be part of your dating profile photo if you want that photo to work for you.
1. Don’t do the “crop-the-other-guy-out” maneuver. You know what we mean: the pic where you’re clearly standing with someone, only the other person has been removed and the photo is cropped really tightly. Photos like this are tacky, according to eHarmony, and they also suggest that the other person now missing from the photo might be an ex of yours.
2. Don’t post a pic of yourself standing WAAAAY far away. Maybe your favorite photo of yourself is the one where you’re standing in front of the Parthenon during your trip to Greece. The sky is blue, the ruins are beautiful, and there you are, a tiny blip of a person almost lost amid the grandeur. Photos like this may be good for showing your interests, but they’re not so great at showing what you actually LOOK like. Also, some people may worry that you deliberately chose a distant shot because you’re not attractive.
3. Don’t post grainy, blurry or tiny images. What is this, 1998? Modern technology has gotten us to a point where there’s no reason your photo should be bad quality. Ask a friend to take a new, fresh picture of you for your profile if you really, truly can’t find any good ones of yourself handy.
4. Watch that background (and foreground). Plenty of decent profile pics have been ruined by messy rooms, hideous curtains or couches, or otherwise distracting and/or unattractive backgrounds. If you’re taking a selfie in front of the bathroom mirror, how clean is that sink area? For that matter, how clean is the mirror? Try to create a pleasant, non-distracting environment for your pic so that YOU are the part that the prospective mate notices.
5. Keep out the potentially-controversial. Whoever you are, you definitely have your own set of beliefs, opinions and habits. Maybe you are a proud hunter of big game. Perhaps you smoke two packs a day. Maybe you got arrested recently. Do your best to keep ALL of these things out of your profile photo. It’s not that you’re trying to hide who you are; in fact, your interests, drinking/smoking habits, religious/political beliefs and other aspects of your personality should be all laid out in the written part of your dating profile. Rather, it’s about preventing people from making snap judgments about you based entirely on a photo. If your picture shows you with a cigarette dangling from your lip, you may scare away any non-smokers who might otherwise have liked you once they got to know you better. If you use your mug shot as your profile pic, suffice it to say that there are some who may shy away from that. Be who you are, but try to keep your profile pic fairly neutral to give yourself the best chance of closer looks by potential dates.