Professional Dating Photos: Do I Need Online Dating Portraits? Do You Need Dating Profile Headshots? Professional Headshots For Dating Profiles

Open up any major app, and you will likely encounter profiles that contain professionally taken photos. Given that dating apps boost profiles that are in-demand, it can feel like everyone has professional photos in their dating profiles.

Given that every piece of online dating advice suggests that you need a clear photo of your face in your dating profile, the immediate reaction might be to seek out a professional photographer. As someone who does this for a living, I will be the first to say is that these are only not needed, but they can hurt your dating efforts.

Dating photos should feel organic and look like you would appear now on a first date. Even though people hire me to take photos for their dating profile, they do not look like professional headshots, modeling portraits nor lifestyle photos.  I take the photos like a friend would, and these photos are imperfect.

Most photographers extend their services and repurpose portraits for dating profiles in an effort to capture a larger market. What they don’t know is that these photos should be effortless rather than stiff, staged photos like you see in modeling agencies, stock images and influencer accounts on social media.

Related read: How To Take Your Own Dating Profile Photos


Natural, Organic Dating Photos

Avoid stiff, portrait-like images that feel forced, and obviously professional. My photos rely more on location scouting, natural environments/poses - like a friend took them.

I take photos on my camera or phone in a discreet manner. We will go to bars, cafes, hiking trails, rooftops, parks, restaurants, galas or your own home.

Do You Need Professional Dating Photos? Dating Profile Headshots For Hinge, Bumble & Tinder?

Professional headshots and photos are not needed. Yes, it is accurate that you need clear photos of your face, but the photos don’t need to be taken professionally. People want to see your face and see how you look like, and it’s possible and easier than you think to capture clear photos.

Soft/diffused lighting, indirect light and photos taken at sunrise/sunset provide such lighting. Understanding lighting is easier for some than others, but a professional photographer is not needed if you have time, patience, friends or willingness to understand lighting and ask a stranger to take a photo.

One of the biggest mistakes people make (as well as photographers) is taking dating profile photos using portrait mode or blurring backgrounds. While this might be good for headshots and commercial uses, it reduces background elements for dating photos which eliminates crucial talking points (location, vibe, photo-bombing etc).

Related read: Should You Hire An Online Dating Photographer?


Why You Should Not Use Professional Dating Portraits, Online Dating Headshots

Using professional photos can feel like you are trying too hard. Yes, I am the first to say that most people don’t treat dating seriously enough but stiff photos and overly staged portraits give pause as they might indicate that they are photoshopped or don’t look like you in everyday light.

Most photographers use lighting tricks or overly edit their photos beyond recognition. Go ahead, look at your friends or executive Linkedin/company website photos and see if they look like that now. Most photographers also will avoid shooting in everyday environments and opt for studios, generic backgrounds or overly manicured environments – these lack talking points that invite conversations from others.

Related read: What Do Your Dating Profiles Signal?


TL;DR – Using Professional Photos For Hinge, Bumble, Tinder, Photographer For Dating Profile

Sure, you might get additional likes, matches but often times, these won’t yield second dates. The worst feeling in the world is having someone get up and leave or leaving upon seeing you because you don’t look like your profile.

About Eddie Hernandez

Eddie is a dating coach for men & women in San Francisco (clients in NYC, LA, Chicago, & beyond ), as seen in the NYT & Bumble). 

He helps w/ profiles, photos, wardrobe, messaging, date ideas, red flags, lifestyle choices, hobbies, grooming/hygiene, communication, social skills & offline efforts.