How To Improve Your Online Dating Profile: Create A Good Profile, Dating Tip Examples For Men & Women: How To Write Prompts, Bios, Messages and Take Photos
As an online dating photographer and consultant based in San Francisco, I can confirm that good photos do help your chances at success in online dating however, what you write in your bio, prompts and answers to prompts can negate any advantages your photos provide.
For more tips on all things bios and profiles including for Hinge, Bumble and other dating apps, read my other blog posts here: https://eddie-hernandez.com/category/dating-profile/
Main Profile Photo – Your Most Important Photo
The first thing people see when a profile loads up is your main profile photo. I go into more detail about photos to use and avoid in this post, but your main profile photo is the single most important part of your profile. A bad photo may result in someone not clicking through to see the rest of your profile, photos. Assume the decision to review your entire profile is based first impressions: quality of your first photo! Depending on the dating app you are on, if you are not getting enough profile views, I would start here.
Incomplete, Low Effort Bios and Prompts in Dating Profiles
Dating apps can be a bit intrusive with questions… Match.com *cough* but most dating apps ask fairly good at keeping fields in a bio to a minimum. With that said, all required fields should obviously be filled out but just because a field is not required doesn’t mean you should skip it or ignore it.
Failure to include a job industry, hometown, smoker/drinker status etc. can be viewed by others as lacking effort or suggest you are not looking for anything serious. I am not advocating you list every specific detail including exact company, exact job title but you should provide some general details so people can get a sense of who you are. Also the more details included the easier it makes it for others to engage with you.
Sounding Negative, Judgemental and Defensive in Dating Profiles
The main mistake people make on the written portion of their online dating profile is listing their deal-breakers. Listing several no’s can communicate a certain level of jadedness, distrust and level of hurt from such people. For example, listing you don’t want players, scrubs, flakes, immature personalities and liars implicates that you have dated such people in the past and likely have dated several of these types regularly.
I will be the first to say that yes, you should avoid people like this but there is a way to communicate this without seeming too negative or at least defensive. Instead it is up to you to use good judgment, ask questions, be patient, analyze people’s profiles, photos, bios, prompts, messages, first date ideas to see if they are putting out red flags.
Instead of listing that you don’t want someone who is immature, you can instead say you are looking for someone who has a good head on their shoulders, good moral compass, is professional, respects people by being on time, is responsible or strives to be well-rounded professionally and socially etc. More so, focus on their efforts, intentions, date ideas, tone, aggressiveness and behavior when things don’t go as planned.
On the flip side, you do not want to write these in a list on your profile — you should list examples of these traits through short stories. For responsibility and thoughtfulness, you can hint at something by saying you are the one in your circle of friends who hosts dinner parties or over-packs for camping trips by bringing extra food or waits in line early for brunch while your friends take their time getting ready / waking up. Short stories are far more effective at communicating personality traits than listing a bunch of adjectives.
Not Writing Enough About Yourself
In some cases you will be limited in how many characters you have to write something about yourself but even so, you need to effectively use the space you have to fill in the blanks and provide insight into who you are. The biggest mistake in this area is photo captions.
Most sites and apps provide space for you to caption your photos. Do not overlook this. This is extremely helpful for group shots — please label the people and yourself in these shots i.e. my sister and I at a family reunion, my cousin and I wandering the streets of Eastern Europe, my best friend from college and I celebrating 10 years of friendship, my roommate and I cheering on the Giants. Using labels in this instance will alleviate any possibility that the person in your photo is not an ex AND it can provide context of how you spend your time (and with who).
The other instance that comes to mind is not being descriptive enough when listing hobbies. All too often I see people list super generic things in their profile i.e. I love to travel, I love Mexican food etc. First off, who doesn’t love to travel or doesn’t like Mexican food? Be more descriptive. You can say I love to travel to urban cities near and far and wandering the streets aimlessly. This communicates that you love to explore vs. laying out on a beach all day.
Instead of listing you like trying new restaurants or like exploring bars, say that you are a sucker for butternut squash and roasted Brussels sprout dishes or Manhattan drinks at speakeasy bars. These specific examples reveal specific quirks and secret passions (FYI — quirks can be super insightful, attractive and endearing).
Writing For Yourself, Not For Others
If you spend any time on dating apps, you will notice a trend of writing that resembles a memoir or autobiography. These types of bios are a bit inflated, biased or even inaccurate. These bios are what I can aspirational and borderline the ‘The Most Interesting (Wo)Man” approach. They shouldn’t be written for yourself but should be written for who you are trying to attract.
Bios that are too strong, forward or trying to convince you this person is perfectly content being alone are usually a red flag for me i.e. “I am a great catch!”. There is a fine line of being comfortable in your own skin and being narcissistic. Conversely, bios that lack energy, details, enthusiasm can be see as dull, depressing or thoughtless. If you have a hard time writing about yourself, people will extrapolate that and assume you are like that in other aspects of your life.
With this insight, you are now ready to overhaul your online dating profile and can effectively reveal things about yourself more so than any list of adjectives can. With that said, be sure to limit these stories and do not write an endless novel about yourself — leave something up to the imagination and keep the stories short and sweet.
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/