The main profile picture is very important as it sets the first impression. First impressions are the fundamental drivers of our relationship and decide what the relationship will be. Attraction is important and the pictures and text highly influence your likeliness to match with others. There are millions of Tinder profiles, so how will you compete? What will make your dating profile likeable, worthy of notice and lead to dates? Here you see some do’s & don’ts devised from my own experiences and consults from women and men.
This article is part of the series Guide to Online Dating: Tinder App
Six to DO tips
DO… show off your smile.
DO… show your face.
DO… pick the most charming picture where you are well dressed and feeling amazing
DO… put pictures with you smiling rather than looking upset, angry, annoyed or obstructed.
DO… show yourself. (like as in you rather than texts or objects, I am not promoting indecent exposure ;] )
DO… make sure you get good lighting.
Twenty-one tips of what NOT to do
1. No Objects – In case you didn’t notice, you are a human. When someone wants to see whether they have an interest in dating you, they want to see you. Not only a car, motorcycle, dog (not technically an object but you catch my drift) or boat. It is great that you love these things, but the point is to show yourself as well. Initial attraction can influence the likelihood of getting dates. Would you swipe right for a boat? I can tell you now, boats don’t Tinder. The same applies to manga characters, babies & Hollywood celebrities (at least probably not anywhere other than the LA area).
2. Using The-Not-So-Super Selfie – I think everyone is familiar with these. It tends to give an impression that you either think (A) you are amazing, (B) you took the picture whilst talking to someone you liked who asked for a picture (C) that this is a great way to hear that you look great from others. Additionally, these tend to be taken in the worst places. Think of a mirror. Now think of a bathroom mirror. Now add a phone where the person is staring at the phone screen. Sometimes barely dressed (check number 7). Or think about posing on your bed. It may work for cheap thrills to remind people you own a bed but probably won’t yield as much success in the realm of dating.
3. Beware of the baby – Yes, babies are often cute. But even if they are your own, is that something you want to be the first thing you share with someone you are interested in? Hello there, here is my face. Oh, and here is a baby. If you are a single parent, it is understandable you might include one of your pictures with your child(ren) – I would recommend limiting it to the secondary profile pictures.
4. Do not forget the power of relativity – If you put a picture with a friend and your friend is a babe magnet, it may cause the observers to relate your attractiveness to your friend. Even if you are good-looking, it could have an influence on the person’s decision. Something that is also commonly advised when going to a public place to meet potential date partners. Avoid going with someone who is considered more attractive.
5. A picture with an ex/other gender friend – For some reason I came across this more than I care to mention. A cropped picture with another person clearly very intimately close with the profile owner. Yes, those pictures with your ex probably show you happy because you were in love. Or maybe you really like the picture with your friend who just happens to be an attractive woman/man. It is very easy to see that you cropped the picture although you might think the few blonde hairs or shoulder is barely noticeable. I don’t think that it will help your popularity.
6. Group picture – Which one are you? This one is even worse when ALL pictures are group pictures. Not only do you have the same problems as point 4 and point 5, you also are basically hiding in the crowd and sort of saying that you have never taken a decent picture on your own. I get that life is more fun when you experience it with the people around you, but this goes to a new level.
7. Nakedness – Of course your physique will affect your success with potential dates, whether positive or negative. Being attractive includes your face and your body. Now, I understand that if you put a lot of effort into keeping yourself fit or you have that amazing beach picture in a bikini/swimsuit that you want to share it with the world. Just keep in mind, when you show enough skin/sexuality/sensuality, you prime someone to view you sexually. Not necessarily a bad thing but if you want to date someone, you generally also want to appeal on an intellectual and an emotional level rather than focusing on the physical realm.
8. Historic pictures – If your picture is so old that there weren’t colour photos yet, consider not posting this as a first impression. If you still had a haircut that was popular in the 80s because it was the 80s (or more recent, even more risky) – consider not posting this as a first impression. Although we may not all mature as gracefully or deliciously as wine, George Clooney or Cindy Crawford, the person you see in the mirror is the one that will be going on the dates – not the you of a few decades back. If they don’t like your age and wisdom, consider it their loss.
9. Celebrity pictures – Lame to do. Really lame.
10. Pictures that are not you – Also lame to do. It is even better to post a picture of yourself with sunglasses, closed mouth and a hat than some complete stranger. Most people will figure it out pretty quickly. If not, prepare to possibly be on the Catfish show.
11. Intoxicated pictures – Risky, because although many people love a good party, they are usually looking for someone who can do more than only party. Of course there are different types of pictures. If you are wearing your best outfit, still seem slightly sober and aren’t tomato red, it might be worth adding it. Personally, I am not the biggest fan of red faced drunkies, whether in a festival or at a pub – it isn’t the most attractive state a person could be in.
12. Motivational quotes – Inspiring people is good and it might be possible that you needed to hear that quote to change your life or that the quote is what you live by every day, but people prefer to see your physical being rather than an inspirational quote. Perhaps it is shallow to want to see you; however, physical attraction has a large influence on the chemistry and long term viability of a connection. These words may speak the words of your soul and if they do, feel free to mention the quote in the text area.
13. Unflattering angles – Have you ever seen any links about “Pretty girls making ugly faces”? If you have, you understand the angle of a picture can have influence on the way you look. If you haven’t, please check it now. You will understand why angle can make or break a picture. Try to avoid low angles and taking pictures from a close distance.
14. Only one picture – Very risky, In the current day and age, with social media and everyone sharing pictures of everyone with everyone else, it is very, very, very doubtful that you only have one picture of yourself. The ones with only one picture tend to also have either point 1, 8 or 9/10 paired with no description. I don’t know when this works or who it works with, but good luck. Tinder is already fairly easy with a low threshold.
15. Strong tan lines/burnt skin – Yes, holidays tend to end up being photoshoots and of course they are a great time to take pictures. You are relaxing, enjoying, being yourself and maybe getting a tan. Is a tomato look sexy? Tanned can look great but tomato red tends to be a bit off-putting.
16. Hiding behind sunglasses– If you are at the beach, it makes sense that you are wearing sunglasses. If you are in a bathroom or, in fact, anywhere indoors, it makes less sense. What a mystery! You hide your face behind these large darkened circles/squares. This does hide a large portion of your face though. If it is the only picture, I am not sure how others would feel about it but I like to see the whole face. Think about it – when the news is trying to hide the identity of a person, they put a bar in front of their eyes. There is a reason for that you know 😉
17. Funny/Zombie pictures– I can’t believe I have to put this on here, but if you put a zombie picture or some other Halloween worthy outfit, it might lower your chances of matching. It does show your funny side, which isn’t necessarily bad but maybe save it for the other pictures.
18. A picture in the sauna– Just saw this once, but no. Please don’t?
19. An image of sperm saying this is an old picture– Just saw this once and again, no.
20. Duck face– No. Just… No.
21. No face in any pictures– I am sorry to have to break it to you, but your face is a quite important part of you. If you are looking for someone to date and perhaps even begin a relationship with, you will be looking at their face quite often (well, if you are polite) so it is important in a physically oriented app like Tinder to show your face (pun intended).
I know there is quite a contrast between the two lists in size and detail but there is a reason for that. People are attractive when they are authentic, genuine and show their true selves. The true self in basic forms (keep some mystery alive… if you are charming, well-built, fashionable, rich or whatever you may want to share – these things can be unveiled over time) should be successful. If you want to use Tinder for dating, put your best foot forward whilst showing who you are. You will end up getting matches that actually like you as a person. Good luck!