How to Take Amazing Photos for Online Dating [The Top Experts Weigh In]

We’ve discussed the importance of having killer photos on your profile at length here on Zirby, but as the saying goes, you can’t have too much of a good thing.

So we’ve rounded up 7 industry experts to get their tips on how to take the perfect photos for online dating.

Let’s jump in with our panel of experts.

 How to Take Amazing Photos for Online Dating

Award Winning Author Julie Spira

Julie Spira is an online dating expert and a multi award winning author of books including “The Perils of Cyber Dating: Confessions of a Hopeful Romantic Looking for Love Online.”

 
 Award Winning Author Julie Spira
 

Julie’s Tips

Since both men and women are visual, having the best photos for your online dating profile is crucial.

Women often make a split second decision on whether to swipe left or right, or reply to a message they’ve received online, or on a mobile dating app.

To start, you’ll need a great primary close up, where you’re smiling, seem happy and approachable, with a photo that isn’t a selfie or a blurry shot taken from your camera roll.

If you can’t afford to get professional photos taken, grab a friend with a great digital camera or mobile phone and snap 100 photos in 4-5 outfits.

You’re bound to find 5-6 photos worth adding to your dating profile.

The best recipe includes:

  • A full length body shot.

  • An activity shot, such as taking a hike, playing golf, vacation photos, or doing something that you enjoy, and a mix of indoor and outdoor photos.

Since you’re marketing yourself for love instead of a job, try to avoid the serious headshot that appear on your Linkedin profiles.

Remember that you’re only as attractive as your worst photo, so if one doesn’t stand out with the rest of the shots, don’t include it in your dating profile.
— Julie Spira

Remember that you’re only as attractive as your worst photo, so if one doesn’t stand out with the rest of the shots, don’t include it in your dating profile.

There’s a reason that a picture tells 1000 words, so remember to caption your photos with the location and year they were taken, so the person viewing your profile knows how recently they were taken.

For a dating site, I recommend posting 5-7 photos.

If you post too many photos, an “overload” reaction can occur, where someone feels they’ve seen your whole life story.

A dating profile is intended to pique the curiosity of someone viewing it, so a glimpse into your life becomes intriguing, instead of seeing your entire life story, which can be overwhelming.

Tinder Headshots' Max Shwartz

Max Shwartz is an art director, photographer, and one of the early innovators of the field of dating photography. He founded Tinder Headshots in NYC over 6 years ago.

 
 Tinder Headshots Founder Max Shwartz
 

Max’s Tips

I try my best to highlight what people look as their truest self, but under the best light possible.

It’s important to look exactly like they would in person but in the warmest and most approachable way possible.

If you work with a photographer or friend, it will be important for them to get to know you so you feel comfortable and not look to stiff in your portraits.

This is a necessary ingredient for your online dating photos.

I recommend smiling as it comes off as more genuine and more likable as well, but you should still have a variety - some smiling and some not.

That way you have some choices in how you represent yourself in your profile. More serious, or more casual.

Online Dating Expert Emyli Lovz

Emyli Lovz is the owner of EmLovz.com, an online dating coaching service for men. Her advice has been featured on national blogs including business insider and datingadvice.com.

 
 Online Dating Expert Emyli Lovz
 

Emyli’s Tips

Puppies pay off.

If you have a puppy or know one that you could take a picture with, that will get you more right swipes than anything else, assuming the dog is cute.

Any animal photos with you in them is a plus because it demonstrates that you are trustworthy.

Eye Contact

Always smile and look directly at the camera.

This tells a woman the most important thing she needs to know about you, that you’re not dangerous.

Believe it or not, that’s subconsciously the first thing a woman needs to know to move forward with you.

If there’s even a doubt in her mind that she can’t trust you she’ll swipe left faster than a second thought.

Moral of the story, smile, smile, smile and maintain that direct eye contact in all of your photos!

Why Headshots are Important

You also want to use a cropped headshot for the main profile photo so when she swipes right and you advance into the message section, she can still see what you look like in a thumbnail photo.
— Emyli Lovz

You also want to use a cropped headshot for the main profile photo so when she swipes right and you advance into the message section, she can still see what you look like in a thumbnail photo.

Avoid wearing sunglasses, crossing your arms, making serious faces, looking away from the camera, and taking shirtless selfies in the bathroom.

Former "Pua" Ghostwriter Harley Quinn

Haley Quinn owns haleyquinn.com, a online dating advice website for men and women. She’s worked in the dating industry for 7 years, beginning as a ghostwriter in the ‘pick up artist’ industry.

 
 Former PUA Ghostwriter Harley Quinn
 

It’s all about high quality photos for online dating.

People are not going to be impressed if the image is pixelated, you have red eye, or you are the in the middle of a group of twenty on a night out.

Think Instagram standards!

If you look like you don’t put any effort into your dating profile then people will jump to the conclusion that the same level of commitment will go into your real dating life.

Set it up so the best of you is on show, so somewhere with nice lighting, against an arty backdrop, whilst you are wearing your feel good outfit.

And remember, even if the background is amazing (The pyramids of Egypt standards) but you are not looking as good as you normally do, then do not use it!

This photo should shout, 'life is good, but it would be even better if you (the person looking at the photo) was in it with me.

Nat-Geo Published Kino Alyse

Kino Alyse is a National Geographic-published photographer whose clients have included Victoria’s Secret, and Air B&B.

 
 Kino Alyse Photography
 

Kino’s Tips

An honest face shot mixed with a variance of 'fun' photos is a great idea.

Make sure your personality is honest by setting expectations through your photos; it also depends on the lifestyle you’re trying to portray.

Hiring a photographer is not completely necessary, but using one can make your photos consistent and deliver the message you want to convey.

If you decide to take your own photos, you can use any old camera, really: as long as you pay attention to photographic rules.

Any image, any location, any theme, can be perfect. I fully believe that. Ugly locations can be incredible backdrops if used creatively. Be creative, be honest, and you'll have the perfect profile no matter who you are or what you want to communicate.

Matchmaker Laurie Berzack

Laurie Berzack is the owner of the award winning matchmaking service, Carolina’s Matchmaker. She’s been interviewed for her expertise by regional and national press outlets including NPR.

 
 Carolinas Matchmaker Laurie Berzack
 

Laurie’s Tips

Taking fun photos is ideal, after all, this is a dating app and not LinkedIn.

It’s okay to look polished, and wearing some of your better clothes - but make certain it's what you look like in real life.

It's also okay to hire a professional or ask a friend who has a knack for photography to take your pictures.

Remember: You only have to do it once!

Include one (preferably two or three) full length body shots. The more honest you are upfront, the less time wasted for everyone involved.

It also says a lot about your confidence to not “hide” behind obscured images of yourself.

Recent photos are imperative to starting off on the right foot when you meet someone new.

If you want to mention when the photos were taken that can ease doubts for a potential Tinder match, too.

Be judicious when uploading photos with your pets.

Many animal lovers are looking for animal lovers but posting too many pictures with your pets-or worse pictures of just your pets- can also feel excessive to someone who doesn't know you.

Whatever you do: avoid selfies. Zirby has extensively reported on no selfies, so I'll leave no selfies as an obvious no.

Photos for your dating profile should only be of you so it's not confusing to someone.

…Including other people opens up the possibility they'll find your friend more attractive.

While being flirty and fun in your pictures is encouraged, being suggestive in your photos can send the wrong idea as to what you are looking for. It's a fine line, but an expert can help advise you honestly and kindly.

Dan Lavelle's Data-Based Approach to dating photography.

Dan Lavelle is Chief Communications Director of peoplelooker.com - the leading online background check platform. Dan brings a scientific and thoroughly researched approach to dating photography.

Dan’s Tips

Don’t cover your face.

Tinder’s in-house sociologist, Jess Carbino, said one of the biggest mistakes you could make in your profile photo is covering your face.

If you want to get noticed, you should ditch the hat, glasses, mask, or move anything else that would be blocking your face.

Be aware of what you wear.

The clothing you wear in your profile photos creates a portrait of your personality.

A Tinder study which analyzed 12,000 profile photos found that most users are wearing clothing choices that do not make them stand out.

Black is the most popular color to wear for men and women – followed by white, blue, and grey.

Do something interesting.

You want to get people to respond to you based on your profile, but you also don’t want it to lead to nowhere.

If a guy responds to a girl because she’s showing her cleavage, well, that’s not exactly the best beginning for a lasting relationship.

Think about wanting to start a conversation with someone. A great way to do this is to show yourself doing something interesting in your photos, like playing guitar or volunteering.

Take up a lot of space.

In a 2016 study, researchers created two separate profiles for three different men and women.

The purpose? To find out how taking up more space changes your perception with online dating.

The first set posed with their arms crossed - taking up minimal space.

The second set took up the maximum amount of space - like with their arms up in the air.

The photos in which the men and women were in expansive positions were selected more often than the contractive position photos.

Also, men especially were found to be more attractive when they displayed open body language.


Note from Zirby: The content from our generous experts has been slightly edited or reformatted to better fit together as a cohesive post.