10 Rules for the Perfect Profile Picture

What the appearance attracts, the character holds. This is especially true in online dating because here, the profile picture holds the crucial first impression.

Hot or Not? How does your Profile Picture fare?

Do you assume that uploading your old Facebook profile picture is enough? Unfortunately, it takes more effort than that.

Do you know how to charm someone of the opposite sex? Are you able to stand out and showcase your best side?

No matter your gender, your profile picture should amaze everyone. In online dating, you're up against hundreds of profiles daily, and those with unimpressive photos are often skipped. This article will guide you through the do's and don'ts for a profile photo that nobody can ignore.

There are different expectations for photos based on gender. Women's selfies usually receive positive feedback, while men’s selfies might be viewed negatively if they make up the entire profile. However, some standards apply universally. Our perfect dating profile photo tips will help you find what you're looking for: love and happiness.

1. Dress Appropriately

Clothes make the man. Your clothes say a lot about you: do you dress sporty, elegant, fashionable, alternative? Are you a casual or a business type of person?

  • For women, almost everything is allowed here, whether sweaters, dresses, jeans, T-shirts … also, the colours do not matter. Dresses and high heels are very feminine and sexy, and would be good for a full body shot. However, a deep neckline (as beautiful as it may be) is advised to not be shown to the camera (except: casual dating sites - in here, you are welcome to flaunt what you have).
  • For men, suit up! If women can find something attractive, then these are the men who can dress well. Hence, suit photos. Suits associate men with success in career. If you do not wear a suit in your job, maybe you can find a photo of you from a wedding or some similar event. If you still don't have that, you should just wear your favourite outfit. Jeans and a white shirt are neutral and always look good, but make sure that they are clean and ironed.

2. Set yourself in the right background

  • Women should make sure that their room is tidy when they take selfies. Hardly anyone wants a partner who is disorganised, even it isn't a top priority for most men.
  • Men should take their photos outside. Women like active men who like to be out in nature, or at least outdoors. No living room photos with a self-timer camera in front of the couch! (In general, unnatural posed photos are not well received)
  • The background should not be overloaded and chaotic - after all, it’s about you, not Grandma’s beautiful vase on the side table. The best background is a natural or neutral one. If necessary, stand in front of a white wall. 

3. Pay attention to your expression

  • "The nicest thing that a woman can wear is her smile!” This is also true for men. Women who are smiling are perceived to be open, while men who smile in pictures can be found charming. Smiles radiate joy and contentment, so smile! Who wants to date a crabber anyway?
  • Smile properly - show your teeth, squint your eyes lightly, and do not over-grin!
  • Women also pay attention to how hygienic a man is, and teeth are a good indicator of good hygiene.
  • If you do not want to show your teeth, you should still give out a positive emotion. Please do not look grim or make a duckface!

4. Surround yourself with the right people

  • In general, this can be applied to all photo uploads, but most especially for the profile picture. Women should prefer to pose on most photos alone, especially if you want to spare yourself from questions about your good-looking girlfriends.
  • For men, if you want to upload group photos, individual photos are still needed so it’s clear who you are. Group photos are generally well received. It shows that you have friends, how cool your buddies are, and if you're well-socialized. But please do not post photos from alcohol-rich evenings, except maybe for wedding group photos were everyone is well dressed. However, if your friends look far better than you, then be ready for the possibility of women asking about them. Don't feel pressured if you don't have any decent group photos with your friends – it's not required, it's just good to have. What's important is you have a decent solo photo – your proof of social life can come at a later time.
  • Men, please don't post OLD photos of yourselves with attractive women, especially your ex-girlfriends. That's like saying that you haven't moved on!
  • Photos with children are always cute but can also be misinterpreted. It can show that you like children, but it can also be interpreted that the child is yours. This can be off-putting to younger people who want something more casual.
  • Pictures with your family show that you are a family person! These pictures are always a good idea.

5. Stick you chest out and hold your stomach in!

  • Sounds irrelevant, and yes, you should not cheat on photos, but the attitude is important. A woman who stands wide-legged is just as unattractive as a man in a creepy, crouched position.
  • Women: Cross your legs,  shoulders forward, hands close to the body (except the selfie arm).
  • Men: Keep your posture straight as it shows self-confidence, show your hands (a sign of self-assurance), do not let your shoulders hang, and stand with your legs apart.

6. Animal friends

  • Yes, women become weak when it comes to animals! Not only because the puppy or kitten is cute, but also because it shows that the man is an animal lover and can take responsibility for others!
  • Even exotic animals are acceptable—but please, no pictures with reptiles or insects, as these are more associated with eccentricity.

7. Look into their eyes

  • A direct look into the camera gives the viewer the feeling that you are looking directly at him, which creates a sense of proximity.
  • It also radiates a certain presence, which is usually better than dreaminess.
  • If you combine the look with a smile, the viewer will surely feel positively addressed.

8. Be natural, Be yourself

  • Women: Please do not manipulate your face by artificial lighting and/or post-processing. A smile from a naturally bare face is better than dark eyes and red lips!
  • Men: Women notice when you pretend to be something you're simply not. Whether it’s a forced smile or a poser photo in front of a rental car, it really wouldn’t work well.
  • If you have hobbies, show them. People with hobbies show that they are active, thus, could be found more appealing.
Apply what you learned right away!Let's go to the next dating site!

9. Be sharp!

  • Not necessarily sexy, but make sure your photos have a good resolution and aren't blurry! It doesn’t have to be professionally-taken photos, but the quality should be quite good so that you are clearly recognisable.
  • For selfies, it is advisable to use the main camera instead of the front camera, especially when the lighting conditions are poor
  • No flashlight lighting. Even if it makes the pictures sharper, flashlight rarely makes you look good on photos
  • Pixelated photos are quickly associated with fake profiles, and this is a major no-go!

10. Be well groomed

This is probably the most important point. Take the time to get ready before shooting. The more well-groomed you are, the better you will feel, and this will translate in your photos.

  • Complete the bath ritual: shower, wash, blow-dry, and style. Not too much, but not too little as well. Messy buns in women may look cute, but also very childlike. Men with un-styled hair may look sleepy-sexy, but also a bit unsorted.
  • Wear freshly washed, ironed clothing that fits you well. Those who keep their clothes neat seem to appreciate and cherish the things that they have.

Pssst: Our insider tip

Want to be more than just a pretty face? Then make it happen through your profile information! When your profile photo captures the other’s attention, he looks further on your profile information. The details you have on your profile encourages the viewer to let the gaze wander.

Profile Information

Your information should be informative (how old you are, how tall you are, where you are from) and interesting. Do not stop behind the mountain of what inspires you, tell the viewers about what you are looking for, and encourage them to do the first move!

Datingscout.com.au Author Chris Pleines
Chris Pleines
Founder of Datingscout and Author of the book "Online Dating for Dummies"
Chris founded Datingscout 15 years ago, and today he is one of the leading Online Dating Experts. He is the author of the book "Online Dating for Dummies" and the author of the Internet's largest online dating study analyzing 20 Million Profile Pictures with artificial intelligence. Chris Pleines holds a master degree in media science and appeared in numerous television interviews and publications to give expert advice as well as tips about online dating.

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