Online Dating Photo Tips For Guys: Posing, Should Guys Smile, Should You Look At The Camera, Should You Look Away, What To Wear, Looking Too Intense, Best Photo Examples
After years as an online dating photographer and consultant for clients in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, New York and across the world, I have seen some pretty cringeworthy photos used by guys on dating profiles. After much press and coverage you would think guys would learn by now but no. Open any dating app today, and you will see some things you cannot unsee. Classic offenders like bathroom selfies, photos with exes and intense looks are still popular but there are many other not so obvious photos in rotation today. These photos go against the most straightforward guidelines for dating photos on the internet.
Below are some tips on how to gather and take some great photos for your profile. With high competition due to gender ratio imbalances, your best bet is to stand out from the crowd with good looks, poses and environments.
Additional Reading: How To Look More Attractive In Your Dating Photos
How Many Photos Do You Need In A Dating Profile
Minimum 4, up to 6. This is something that should be learned by now in online dating 101. Just because Tinder gives you 9 slots and Match provides endless options doesn’t mean you need to use up all the slots. You are only as attractive as your worst photo – remember this golden rule of online dating.
Avoid duplicate outfits, backgrounds, expressions. Reduce inconsistent looks (grooming patterns, hair colors, hairstyles, weights and appearances). Use a mix of close up photos, full body photos. Mix up the facial expressions and poses.
Avoid selfies, but if you must limit to one. Avoid group shot photos in your main photo (limit rest to 1-2 max in your profile). Dress to attract the type of person you want to attract not what you feel comfortable in. Avoid dark circles, harsh lights, looking away often, photos taken below the chin and photos from weird high angles.
Should You Smile, Laugh In Your Photos
Seems obvious but no. Many guys have facial expressions that seem very intense, appear dark, look creepy, lack enthusiasm or are just unflattering. Smile or laugh too hard and you might reveal a double chin, see the back of your tonsils or highlight your nose hairs.
Not smiling well enough might suggest constipation, food coma, anger, sadness or despair. Finding the right balance is key. Surrounding yourself around close friends, family members, pets or activities, passions, hobbies can perk you up naturally.
Should You Look at the Camera In Your Pictures Or Look Away In Your Dating Photos
Too often, men don’t like their smiles, or they think their smiles make them look less masculine (this could not be further from the truth). One way men have tried to look more interesting or masculine is looking away from the camera. Side (also known as profile) photos, photos from behind, photos covering the face dark shadows, hoodies and hats all hide the face. Women want to see how you look.
Looking away can suggest insecurity, trying to hide a facial feature, lack of confidence or general disinterest. All of these can be viewed as an automatic left swipe by some girls. Own your look, look in the direction of the camera but don’t look too intense (mean look, big eyes etc.). The occasional photo looking away naturally can be effective but a series of photos looking away can suggest something more going on.
You might have seen studies or posts from dating apps like OkCupid or a few photographers stating how looking away in your dating photos is recommended. This is absolutely false. Looking away from the camera does not make you more attractive. If it works for someone you know, it’s because they don’t know how to smile, or they are more attractive to begin with. People want to see your personality, candidness, vulnerability, confidence etc. Looking away doesn’t allow people to see this.
Avoid Trying Too Hard, Intense In Your Dating Photos
Many guys try too hard to illustrate strength, accomplishments or wealth. Don’t do this. Photos like this suggest insecurity, one-dimensional lifestyles and inability to be bold, unique and comfortable in your own skin. Spend 5 minutes on any dating app and you will find photos posing next to vehicles, photos with guns, photos at the gym, photos flexing, photos with luxury accessories, photos from expensive restaurants, lounges, bars, hotels.
One photo may not hurt you significantly but a theme of similar photos will make it obvious you are trying to cover up some emotional intelligence, personality or social skills. Also, one should note that the saying “you are only attractive as your worst photo” should resonate with the user if there seems to be a lack of likes and matches.
Dating Photo Background Locations and Environments
You don’t need to have epic photos all over the world to seem interesting but ignoring the backgrounds can be a self-sabotaging effort. If all your photos are taken at your apartment (hallway, bathroom, bedroom, living room etc.) that might suggest a lack of social life, lack of friends or lack of desire to leave your home. Everyone loves the occasional lazy morning, occasional Netflix binge but a theme of home photos can paint an unflattering picture. Adding conversation starters and talking points your bio and photos will facilitate responses from women.
Avoid Selfies In Your Dating App Photos
Spend 5 minutes and you will find no shortage of bed selfies, gym selfies, apartment hallway selfies, bathroom selfies, car selfies etc. I understand that it’s hard to get good photos of yourself but littering your profile with selfies is not only cliche but suggests lack of social circles or close relationships or fear of asking photos to take photos.
There is nothing wrong with this but dating apps that train users to make quick decisions based on limited data points will make it tough for you to succeed. Seek out events with photographers, ask a stranger to take a photo, use a tripod with timer, get friends, family members or a professional photographer to help out.
According to Hinge, selfies receive 40% fewer likes than non-selfies and bathroom selfies receive 90% fewer likes.
Misrepresentation (Catfishing, Hatfishing, Dogfishing)
Many guys on dating apps are looking to get that edge when it comes to their profiles. Sole inserts, misleading photo angles, old photos (more than 3 years old or those that don’t reflect how you look today), hat-fishing (using hats in all your profiles to hide baldness), photoshopping images, dog-fishing (posing with dogs that are not yours) are all techniques guys use to gain an edge.
If you manage to succeed in your photos, you will likely not succeed going from date #1 to date #2.
Be honest with yourself – work on self-improvement (exercise, eat well, be more social, research hair regrowth supplements). Many guys never solicit third party advice on their photos, app choice, bios – don’t be this guy. Get help. There is an inherent bias when it comes to perception and guys can get all the help they can use. Reducing uncertainty to any catfishing going on will help out with likes and matches.
Wardrobe: What To Wear in Your Dating Photos
It’s not helpful to have good photos but also look good as well. What you wear is just as important as your expressions. Many women like to see a range of looks to show physique, give an idea of how you dress up for an event as well as how you look when you roll out of bed. Having good attire is crucial for not only showing versatility but providing insight into style, personality and appearance.
Make sure your clothes fit. Baggy items can make you look bulky, heavy. Wearing all dark colors can make you seem dark, distant, unwelcoming. Wearing graphic comic book t-shirts can make you seem childish, immature. Wearing sports items can suggest you will be glued to the TV all autumn during football season. One photo here and there will not hurt but multiple examples can suggest a lifestyle.
For examples on outfit inspiration, check out my Pinterest Board for men’s fashion.
For technical aspects on how to take great photos (distance, aperture etc, read this post on composing photos for your dating profile).
Read this post for tips on how to get more matches from your profile and photos.
Read this post for tips on how to be more photogenic.
TL;DR | Avoid Worst Dating Photos:
-Photos w/ cropped out people who can be mistaken for an ex.
-Group photos w/ guys who are significantly taller and/or more attractive than you
-Photos w/ low energy
-Photos taken all inside your home
-Photos with you looking away
-Photos where your appearance is too inconsistent (span a long period of time).
About Eddie Hernandez
Eddie Hernandez is a professional photographer specializing in natural, candid online dating photos. Featured in the SFGate, ABC7News, East Bay Express, Salon; contributor to Good Men Project, Plenty Of Fish and Meddle. In addition to photos, he provides guidance around app choice, bio optimization, messaging techniques, wardrobe advice and date ideas. https://eddie-hernandez.com/contact/
Dating Profile Critique
For those of you who are remote or virtual dating help and are looking for an online dating profile critique you can read more about my services here.
For other helpful online dating tips check out my blog for more helpful advice: https://eddie-hernandez.com/blog/
Online Dating Frequently Asked Questions (Photos, App Choice, Wardrobe, Messaging, Bios and More): https://eddie-hernandez.com/online-dating-frequently-asked-questions/
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