Thoughts, stories and tips from Team Perfocal.

Cute dog, check. Mirror selfie, check. Topless selfie, check. Group photo from lads holiday, check. Photo with your nephew captioned “not my kid!”, check.

If you're reading this and are guilty of one (or more) of these photos on your profile, then you have come to the right place. These dating app classics have become something of a cliché that makes girls cringe. Not only is it deadly dull to swipe through a sea of the same images again and again, it doesn’t set you apart from the rest. Quite frankly women are only comparing the puppies by this point.

Whether you are on Hinge or Happn, Badoo or Bumble, your images need to stand out. With another potential date just a swipe away, you need to ensure that your profile is worth stopping and scrolling through. Luckily, getting these individual and attractive photos for your profile can be simple. Follow our five-step guide to avoid the clichés, boost your profile and get you swiping closer to that special someone.

“What matters more than anything when it comes to your online dating profile? One word: Photos. Photos can drastically increase your chances of getting more communication and dates. Or not.”

1. First Impressions

The photos you have or don’t have are the key to success when it comes to online dating. Eharmony reported profiles with photos received nine times more communication than those without.1 They are the first thing your potential match is going to see and use to determine in a split second if they ‘like’ your profile. In the virtual dating game, attention spans are short and you have only seconds to catch someone's eye. So yes, first impressions count, especially online. Since you can’t rely on your charm, wit, or presence  over messages, your photos need to do the talking. Before you choose what images you are going to upload, make sure you know what impression you want to give. One client at Perfocal, told us that he decided to get a professional shoot to attract someone of a similar mindset and lifestyle to him. “I wore smart clothes and made the effort to get professional photos because I wanted to show that I was serious about looking for a relationship.”

2. Quality is Key

It can be easy to upload what you have handy but that can be poorly received by potential matches according to the experts. Eharmony says What matters more than anything when it comes to your online dating profile? One word: Photos. Photos can drastically increase your chances of getting more communication and dates. Or not.”2 Eharmony reported that it wasn’t just having photos that was important but having good quality images made a difference too. Even the actual orientation and crop of an image contributed to the success of the profile. Landscape and 3×4 portrait shots got better responses than close up or narrowly cropped shots, which lead to the assumption of an ex having been cut out.3 The optimum choice being a balanced composition where you are central to the frame with something interesting behind you to spark conversation. Street art, a landmark or landscape location. Low quality, low effort images have proven to actually deter matches. The Independent reported that selfies are 40% less likely to receive a like and bathroom selfies performed even worse, with a 90% reduction in likes from others.4 So put the phone down, step away from the mirror and give yourself a chance, by booking a shoot with the experts.

3. Don’t Hide or Distract

Just as the quality of your images is important, actually showing who you are and what you look like is necessary. It can be tempting to upload photos of you looking ‘cool’ in your shades, or a group shot which makes identifying you very difficult. But studies have shown that photos of those in sunglasses reduced their chances of being liked by 15% whilst those in a hat saw a 12% decrease in likes.5 Hinge reported that solo photos received 69% more likes than a group shot, “proving dating app users don’t have time for guess work.”6 Have a good headshot photo as your first image, people have short attention-spans online and they want to see your face, followed by a body shot. Despite the urge to ignore this advice and avoid including a full body shot on your profile, the Independent reported that having a full length image actually “works in your favour” due to the likeness of people making assumptions otherwise.7 A strong variety of images that represent you clearly, is the most honest and attractive approach to your online dating profile. The more variety you have leads to a talking point for your matches. If your photos are interesting, it is easier for someone to start a conversation with you.

4. Conversation Starters

Interesting photos, activities, cool clothes, dreamy depth of fields. They all lead to the perfect conversation starter. If your passion is style, then choose outfits that you love to communicate that side of you. If you're interested in street art, head to Brick Lane for a backdrop. Simple indicators of your personality are important to include in your profile, and they can pay off. Hinge reported that photos of people participating in sports did 75% better than the average photo.8 A Perfocal client told us that his shoot felt like ‘hanging out with my friend who happened to be great at photography, we went for coffee and drinks and he took candid shots.’ These shots could lead to a conversation starter with a fellow coffee addict or cocktail connoisseur. He also told us that he received a lot of compliments on the professional images on his profile, “people were impressed and attracted to the clear sharp images that conveyed my personality and passions.” Another Perfocal client mentioned that an image of his taken by his favourite spot by the Thames received a lot of attention and compliments.

5. Stand Out

Online dating can become repetitive and frankly boring at times. There are many ways you can be missed by your potential match by accidentally blending in. But you can ensure your photos are eye catching and stand out. OkCupid reported that photos of you looking directly into the camera perform better.9 Hinge discovered that smiling in a photo increases your chances of a like by 23%.10 However you can also boost your profile by adding in candid shots. The Independent reported that 80% of photos on dating profiles are posed, but candid shots are 15% more likely to get a ‘like.’11 Be sure to combine a mix of photos, one with eye contact, a smile and a candid shot. One Perfocal client told us he got ‘some really great candid shots’ during his photoshoot that he felt captured him perfectly and completely naturally. “I am not someone who can smile on cue, I need to be caught off guard and then the real me is represented, we actually achieved this on the shoot which was amazing.”

Other than the way you interact with the camera you can use your clothing to stand out too. Tinder found that 72% of the users were wearing neutral colour clothing in their photos, therefore just by choosing bright or colourful outfits you are more likely to be noticed.12 Another client of Perfocal mentioned he chose to wear different clothes to represent the different sides of his lifestyle, “I wear a suit to work but at the weekend I am super casual, so I wanted to attract someone of the same work life balance.” Black and white images are less common on dating profiles, only 3% of images on the platform are monochrome. Being rare they have a better success rate, 106 times more likely to receive likes than coloured images.13 It seems they are able to capture people’s attention more easily.

There is more to it than you might have first thought, the images are more than just pictures. Potential matches are looking at your photos to determine if you are for them. The images you use on your profile matter. They are a method of attracting attention, a way to strike up a conversation and an indicator of your personality. The idea of having a professional photoshoot might make you cringe, but having spoken to Perfocal clients there are many reasons to try it. All of them said how enjoyable and comfortable the photographer made them feel, one even described his photographer as “a mentor, who had some great life advice.” Another said he doesn’t classify himself as photogenic, but was so pleased with the images from the shoot that it filled him with confidence. An introverted client described how much fun the shoot was, “I am naturally shy so the idea of doing a shoot in public was daunting. Once I got into it I forgot about everyone around me. It was fun changing into different outfits and scouting cool locations.” He also said, “I loved the images so much I used them on my Linkedin and Facebook page.” Another told us, “I am so glad I put myself out there because what is the worst that could happen, you find love?”


Footnotes:

  1. Eharmony - The Most Popular Online Dating Profile Photos Revealed 01/08/13

  2. Eharmony - The Most Popular Online Dating Profile Photos Revealed 01/08/13

  3. Eharmony - The Most Popular Online Dating Profile Photos Revealed 01/08/13

  4. The Independent - The Dating App Pictures that will get you the Most Right Swipes 21/04/17

  5. Bustle - 11 Profile Picture Hacks That Actually Work On Dating Apps 09/05/18

  6. Hinge - Hinge Reports: Profile Pictures That Get the Most Likes

  7. The Independent - The 13 Biggest Mistakes People Make on Dating Apps 22/04/18

  8. Bustle - How To Take The Perfect Picture For Your Dating Profile 20/04/18

  9. Cosmopolitan - 8 Tricks to Get Way More Matches on Your Dating Apps 16/08/18

  10. Hinge - Hinge Reports: Profile Pictures That Get the Most Likes

  11. The Independent - The Dating App Pictures that will get you the Most Right Swipes 21/04/17

  12. Bustle - 11 Profile Picture Hacks That Actually Work On Dating Apps 09/05/18

  13. Hinge - Hinge Reports: Profile Pictures That Get the Most Likes


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