Online Dating Photos – How To Get The Best Main Profile Picture

The previous page on attraction gave you a general understanding on what women find attractive in men, which will be insightful as we work to make you, or more specifically your online avatar, more attractive.

I have heard several online dating guru’s preach about their unique strategies, but all of them actually placed universal importance on the online dating profile pictures.  I recommend at least 5 profile pics, but not more than ten.  My last profile had 7.  I use the same photos for all my online dating profiles.  The most important picture, regardless of what site or app you are using, is your main profile picture, since this is what will decide whether a girl will swipe right, or click on your profile to look at your other pics and verbal description.

In my opinion you just need a few simple guidelines to maximize the attractiveness of your main profile pic.  Other guides for taking dating photos will advocate trying fancy photography techniques, or hiring a professional, but I personally don’t think it’s mandatory.  I do however, recommend taking multiple snaps in a given situation, as quality can vary between pictures.

Have a look at the following three main profile pictures from some popular tinder guys below.

profile pics for tinder, okCupid. Pic 1

profile pics for tinder, okCupid. Pic 2

profile pics for tinder, okCupid. Pic 3

Alright here are some of the tips that made the above guys winners on Tinder.  The pic should be a solo (just you) waist-up/head shot.  Unless you have a really good head shot, I’d go with the waist up, or at least something that starts below your chest.  Just like us, girls want to have an idea of what someone’s body looks like, and just a head shot could give the impression that you’re hiding something.

These guys are all smiling.  You should smile.  This looking away from the camera, trying to be mysterious crap works for models, and really good looking guys. Play it safe, look at the camera and smile.  A genuine smile comes as much from the eyes as from the mouth.  A guy who smiles with his mouth but not his eyes, is fake smiling, and this can look creepy.  The guy in the first pic is looking away while smiling, although I believe he’d make an even better first impression if he looked at the camera.

Notice how none of these are bathroom mirror/gym/bedroom selfies?  Do not take pictures in any of those scenarios.  There is something deeply narcissistic and simple minded about them.  In fact I recommend not using selfies at all, with one exception.  The best profile pics for men are caught in the moment, where you’re out having fun, doing something.  They tell, or hint at a story, even if it’s short on details. If you can successfully convey this in a selfie, then it can pass.  For example suppose you’re out on your surfboard, the sun is setting, and you feel really good and in the moment. Then you reach for your Go-Pro to snap a selfie, and smile. That can work. However it requires you to be naturally photogenic, and a good poser.  I find it’s easier to have someone take a picture of me.  A persons more likely to smile naturally when they’re out with friends than by themselves, and I find other people bring me out of my own head.  If you want to show off your body, instead of a pic in your bathroom, choose a more tasteful option like at the beach.

Have a look at the two side by side pics below, which are of the same guy.

profile pics for tinder, okCupid. Pic 4

So the photo on the left illustrates a number of negatives for a main profile pic.  As a rule, don’t wear a hat, sunglasses or regular glasses in your main profile pic.  They hide your features, and that can give the impression that you’re trying to cover something up.  Also if you’re bald, go bald, and if you have tumbleweeds covering parts of your head, then trim them off and go bald.  If you have glasses, and you don’t wear contacts, then I can excuse this, but I still think it’s better not to wear glasses in the main profile pic, and wear your glasses in the other pics.  Now look at the pic on the right.  As the green heart signifies, this one’s the winner.  Notice how he’s breaking several of the rules that I told you to follow.  He’s not smiling, and he’s looking away from the camera.  However the picture is framed well, and he’s looking quite stylish.  As well he should, since Mark happens to be a model.  Remember what I said about good looking guys, getting away with looking mysterious?  Case in point.  Unfortunately the truth is that for Tinder, and all online dating to a lesser degree, looks trump almost everything else when it comes to garnering interest.  Some dating guides might hide this fact, but I’d rather you hear the unvarnished truth.  I think it’ll help you do better with online dating in the long run.

Alright now look at the two pictures below.

profile pics for tinder, okCupid. Pic 5 profile pics for tinder, okCupid. Pic 6

It’s hard to believe, but they are actually of the same guy.  It’s so hard to believe that I’m actually going to treat them as separate people for the sake of analysis.  If I had to guess, at first glance the guy in the first pic looks to be about 5’10”.  He’s muscular and looks like he works out.  There’s a hint of six pack abs, but we’re not sure if he’s sucking in his gut, and the view is obscured by the beer in his hand.  He’s probably somewhat handsome, but it’s difficult to tell since his face in the picture is about the same size as the capital “A” in the sentence above it.  If I was generous I’d give this guy an 8 out of 10 on the looks scale.  The picture is really about showing off the interesting surroundings he’s in, in what is likely a vacation photo.  It’s alright for the fourth or fifth pic in your profile, but it should not be the main profile pic.

In contrast the guy in the second picture is a living female fantasy, with a firemen stripper body and boy band member looks.  The picture is framed perfectly to highlight him.  He even looks taller, now I’d guess he’d be about 6’2″.  If you have a body like this, please display it. Every single swipe right will likely be a match.  Just remember to do it in a tasteful way, like Zach has.  At the very least, leave out any bathroom mirror selfies.  His smile is on point as well.

Finally taking everything we’ve discussed so far into account, have a look at the following picture:

online dating profile pictures example - smiling man with dog

There are a lot of good things happening here.  Yes, this is showing well below waist level, but because he’s sitting down, the picture achieves almost the same level of magnification as a waist up shot.  More importantly while the scenery is beautiful, the dimensions of the pic are done perfectly for framing him and his prop the dog, making him the clear centre of attention.  That smile is genuine and on point.

Both man and dog are very happy in each other’s company.  A lot of sites will tell you to take pics with dogs cause girls love dogs.  If you do not like dogs, say you think they’re smelly, they make you nervous or annoyed, then don’t take a picture with them.  If you are not having fun, then it will be hard to get a good pic.  And you’ll have to start explaining your love of dogs to some girl who msg’ed you about that dog pic…and it’s just not worth it.  Find what you like and enjoy, do that stuff, and then document it.

Continuing that last thought, if you are having trouble finding good photos then the solution might be just to get out more, and remember to take a quick pic while doing it.  Take a cue from girls, who are forever posing for pics every time they leave the house.  It’s just to feed their instagram and tinder profiles.  It’s a good idea to copy this behaviour, at least until you have some good pics for your profile.

The next page discusses how to choose the best non-main profile pictures, and includes examples from my last profile.

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