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  • Writer's picturebonniejheath

5 Tips for online dating photos

Updated: Oct 7, 2021

Princeton psychologists Janine Willis and Alexander Todorov conducted a series of experiments revealing it takes only a tenth of a second to form an impression of a stranger based on a photo of their face. Their research is outlined in a paper called “First Impressions,” published in 2006.

With this knowledge, it can be a little daunting to pick photos to accompany your online dating profile. Most dating sites recommend between four and ten images, but which images should you pick to represent you? Here are some rules and guidelines to help.

1. Be Current: The photos should be taken within the last couple of years. Unless you have special anti-aging abilities like Brad Pitt, photos from 5 years ago don't really represent you any longer. Take some new photos!

2. Have Variety: You should have a variety of images, including a few close up shots, and a few full body photos. There should also be some variation in your outfits and locations. I usually aim for two outfit changes during a session, so that you are wearing at least three different outfits or accessories in your photos. It's great to include some photos of you engaged in an activity or hobby you enjoy. A variety of expressions for online dating photos is a great idea, too.

3. Include your Pets: If you have a fur baby, don't hesitate to include your pet in a couple of photos. This will give you a way to connect with people. For including dogs in photo sessions, bring a friend who can dog sit while you are taking photos without your pup. And, bring your dog’s favorite treats. :)

4. Be Genuine- Don't go crazy with the filters or Photoshop. Be yourself in your photos. I like to shoot online dating photos at a park or public place rather than in the studio. I think online dating photos should tell a story. That story should include details about you, including a favorite place or activity.

5. Get Help- Don't feel bad about enlisting professional help from a photographer for your photos. A good photographer can advise you about locations and wardrobe. They can help coordinate with a hair and makeup artist, if needed. The right photographer can help you through a process that can feel a little daunting. And, it can be a lot of fun to take online dating photos!


Bonnie Heath, photographer, Atlanta


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