Selecting a good profile photo
One of the most daunting decisions for many people is one that lies at the heart of dating success. The right photo will do wonders for your chances, but there are plenty of people who convince themselves that putting one up is a mistake. This might be from modesty, insecurity or shyness - believing that no photo will ever show them in a good light. Other people are worried about people recognising them and telling people that they are using a dating site. Given the stigma that used to surround dating sites this might sound all very reasonable, but the truth is that not putting up a photo of yourself is incredibly counter-productive.
Even a photo that you don't like is better than no photo at all. Research and experience tells us that profiles with photos get looked at a good ten to fifteen times more often - so no matter how well-crafted your profile is, it won't be doing you any good without that visual element included. In fact, in some circumstances, the lack of a photo can be seen as a sign that you are not serious about engaging with anyone on the service. Showing your face is part of the back and forth of gaining trust between potential partners and should be treated as an important part of the process of starting up.
So what rules of thumb should you follow when you start to choose a good photo? Remember that you are trying to provide a good representation of who you are, rather than trying to appeal to everyone. After all, everyone has their own measure of what they consider beautiful so, by definition, you're not going to be everyone's cup of tea. If you follow these general rules though, you probably won't go far wrong:
- Make sure your photo is an accurate representation - nothing is going to make that first date sour more quickly than their not being able to recognise you from your profile picture.
- Choose a photo that is flattering - people do go on first impressions, so while you shouldn't get a professional photo-shoot done, there's no harm in picking a picture that shows off your best side.
- Pick a recent picture - a good rule of thumb is to make sure that your photo is one that has been taken in the last six months or so.
- Use a photo that is representative of who you are - show off that smile from when you were about to ski down your favourite slope if you've listed skiing as a favourite activity, or pick one that's outdoors if you prefer an active lifestyle or with something that makes you proud.
Your photo can be a great opportunity to demonstrate a flavour of who you are and what makes you tick. They may sound like simple guidelines, but a little effort and attention to the content and composition of your profile picture will repay itself many times over in a short period of time.