Online Dating App Photo Tips For Guys, Girls. Appropriate, Flattering & Recommended Photos For Your Profile. How To Take Good Dating Profile Photos + Worst Photos For Using Tinder

When it comes to dating apps, especially volume-based swiping apps like Tinder, photos are everything. Some people treat Tinder jokingly and make lazy attempts at profiles only to end up wondering why they can’t get likes and matches and eventually shell out money for bells and whistles upgrades which are not really effective for most folks.

In order to get right-swipe worth photos, you need to make sure the photos you do use are flattering, well lit, not only show your face and physique but also your style, smiles, hobbies, passions, guilty pleasures and occasional self-deprecating humor.

The below guidance provides more concrete and advanced tips for sorting through, prioritizing and selecting photos for your dating profile. These are general rules of thumb and with everything in life there are exceptions to the rules. If you visit forums like Reddit you will get a range of opinions but each of those opinions lacks context about users experience, looks, demographics etc.

Typically, women have more wiggle room when it comes to photos because of the gender ratios on most dating apps. Also, the more attractive people are the more they seemingly get away with on dating apps. With that said, improving the quality of the photos as outlined below will help to generate better quality likes and matches.

For additional photo tips, read this post on how to look more attractive in your photos.

Travel Photos on Dating Sites

This seems super obvious but these types of photos show the type of traveler you are (beach bum, explorer, Instagram post chaser) as well as places and things you find interesting and amazing. People tend to be more relaxed and more likely to be enjoying themselves on vacation.

As an added bonus travel photos make it easier to initiate an opening message when items in the background can easily spark conversation starters. Avoid cliché places like Iceland, Machu Picchu, Tulum for your travel photo.

Pro-tip: Ask tourists and strangers to take photos of you or ask if they would like help to take a photo. You will never see them again and chances are they can take a better photo of you than you can yourself. Avoid selfies though when possible.

Group Photo / Social Environment

Photos taken with friends or activities you enjoy doing often yield smiles. Added validation of having friends and enjoying fun, social activities is also a bonus. Typically, group shots are taken for special occasions, events etc. These details can add context and make it easier to initiate conversation.

Pro-tip: Make sure you don’t make a group photo your main photo and don’t include super attractive people to take attention away from you. Ask a stranger or a cute girl or guy to take these group shots rather than taking a selfie.

Special Occasions, Formal Events

A photo in a suit or dress at a wedding, black tie event or business event can provide an opportunity to get dressed up in the appropriate (and relevant) environment and give a glimpse of your style and how you clean up. Events like this are rare and people are likely to snap photos of each other so why not ask a stranger for help in taking a photo. 

Pro-tip: See if there is a professional photographer at the event and get your photo taken.

Halloween Costumes

This holiday is a great time of the year to show your creativity and spirit which is hard to convey in text. With opportunities to take photos at office parties and contests as well as social parties, this day is the easiest day to capture photos as well as initiate conversation on and offline. 

Pro-tip: Make sure to capture photos of yourself and group shots early in the day/night as costumes fall apart, people get sloppy and makeup starts to get ruined.

Outdoor / Physical Activity, Full Body 

A carefully (tastefully) taken photo at the beach, athletic attire out hiking can provide an excuse to show a little extra skin, muscle definition, lean body and energy level in a natural environment with others. Photos taken in the water or pool are a natural way to take photos in a bathing suit without seeming too narcissistic or douchey. 

Pro-tip: Avoid selfies, neck-down photos, photos of your stomach, flexing. Take off your sunglasses.

Close-Up Photos

People want to see how you look like up close. Avoid photoshopped, embellished and skin softened LinkedIn photos and go with a close-up 1/2, 1/4 or chest up shot of you smiling or laughing.

If your headshot looks significantly different from your other photos, people will assume you don’t appear as you are and will assume your photos are fake and swipe left.

Pro-tip: Assume people will look you up on LinkedIn at some point before meeting you. Don’t have a bad headshot in your LinkedIn profile.

Restaurants, Bars & Cafés (Environmental Photos)

Your favorite food dish or beverage should put a smile on your face. A photo like this can show your favorite spots around town and possibly spark a conversation about a place the other person loves or has been wanting to explore.

Pro-tip: Recognizable locations are great but avoid cliché places.

Embarrassing / Self-Deprecating Humor

The ability to share an embarrassing moment is the ultimate sign of confidence and comfort in your own skin. An epic snowboarding fail, failing into a wet cement pit or spilling something on your shirt in the proper frame and context can show you are not insecure, can laugh at yourself and are confident enough to use such a photo.

Smile, Smile, Smile

The #1 pet peeve I hear from women about dating photos from men are lack of smiles. Most men look constipated, tired, angry, lazy or EMO. 

The Worst Photos To Use In a Dating Profile

Using too many cliché photos as outlined here in my dating photo bingo card can hurt your chances at success as it can signal boredom, lack of creativity, or insecurity. Photos that only show the top of your body, have photos in dark lighting, photos taken from a distance, photos that don’t appear as you are today or photos with the same background, outfits, poses or head turns will definitely be noticed and swiped left on.

How Many Photos Do You Need For A Dating Profile

The minimum number of recommended photos for a dating profile 4, up to 6. 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. 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 just what you feel comfortable in. Avoid dark circles, harsh lights, looking away often, photos taken below the chin and photos from weird high angles.

Reddit Dating Subreddits

There are plenty of subreddits that talk about specific apps and online dating. Take them with a grain of salt as most people don’t have much success and resemble the blind leading the blind.

Golden Rule of Online Dating Photos

1) You are only as attractive as your worst photo.

2) Assume most people on dating apps will judge you on your first photo, main photo. 

For additional Tinder related advice, tips regarding swipe strategy, photos, profile bios and more, check out my other posts:

Next Read: How To Get More Likes & Matches On Dating Apps

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.

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:

Online Dating Frequently Asked Questions (Photos, App Choice, Wardrobe, Messaging, Bios and More):

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