The recent explosion in online dating has caught many off guard with little to no etiquette to follow. Unflattering photos can hurt your chances of meeting that special someone online. If you have spent any time browsing profiles you will notice a plethora of cringeworthy, weird, creepy photos scattered on many profiles.

Over the years, I have helped countless people with their dating photos, bios, app choices, and appearance. Check out the press coverage here. Here are my 10 photos examples to avoid in your online dating profile.

1 – Do not post photos with exes. Obvious, but you would be surprised how many people post photos with exes or possible cropped out exes.
2 – Stay away from selfies. Especially gym, car and bathroom selfies. Unless you have an epic selfie on top of a mountain peak, ski lift, or with a celebrity, don’t use them.
3  Hold off on photos with your kids. It is great you love your children but simply listing you have children in your profile is enough for now. However if you have a pet, make sure you have a photo with your furry friend.
4 – Avoid profile photos with sunglasses and hats. People want to see your eyes and face. If you must, use one only.
5 – Avoid group shots unless you specifically mark who you are in the lineup. People don’t want surprises nor switch-a-roo.
6 – No duck-faces nor Snapchat filters (no explanation needed)
7 – Stay away from photos without you in the photo! This is a dating website, not your portfolio gallery.
8 – Avoid staged portrait photos and corporate headshots. These are often stiff, lifeless and are easily identifiable as being staged.
9 – Avoid extremely small, distant, blurry and dark photos. People want to see you and how you look like, not a silhouette.
10 – Avoid looking too intense in photos – Read this guide for more info

There are always exceptions to the guidelines above. Using one or two of the above photos will not ruin your chances for success but if most of your photos fall into one of the categories above well you will have a harder time getting people to look past your photos. You want photos that put you in the best light and that represent who you are (Check out this dating photo bingo card on the most cliche dating photos to see if you managed to avoid copying every other profile out there).

Photos that are understated, silly, self-deprecating, candid and invite conversation are recommended. If you still need help with your profile, I offer dating profile critiques for remote clients. You can read more about that here.

Here are my 10 types of photo examples to use in your dating profile:

1- Photos of you smiling or laughing . Candid and embarrassing photos are great. It shows you know how to let go, poke fun of yourself and have fun! Authenticity conveys confidence.
2 – Photos of you doing what you love — do you love dancing? hiking? dressing up? Show it!
3 – Ask someone to take a photo of you. It is easier to ask a stranger to take a photo of you while on vacation / touristy place of interest.
4 – Look for photos online. If there is an event you attended recently (sporting, professional, social etc.), see if you can find a copy online.
5 – Use a variety of shots. 4–6 total photos are ideal. 1 up close-up, 1 action, 1+ travel and 1 candid photo can round out your profile.
6 – Use photos that will engage suitors, invite them to inquire about the backstory behind the photo. Where is that view of? What event was this photo taken at?
7 – Label photos with a caption as needed i.e. friends, others or the situation. Is that your child? Who is your hot friend? Is that your ex? Your ability to write a captivating caption vs. stating mundane can help make you more interesting.
8 – Include at least 1 full body photo and show your face. If all your photos are headshots, 1/4 body or from the side, people might assume you have something to hide.
9 – Make sure all photos are recent i.e. 2-3 years old. You should be proud of who you are today and how you look today.
10 – Would you be ok showing these photos to friends, family members or colleagues? Not a perfect test but if you are too shy or embarrassed by your photos to show people around you, what makes you think you should show it to strangers?

Golden Rules of Dating App Photos: Make sure each photo in your profile offers something different, unique, flattering, and interesting to your profile vs the previous photos and you are only as attractive as your worst photo.

MEN: For additional details and insight on how to take better photos for your profile check out this post.

​For additional advice with writing a bio for your profile and selecting apps, check out this FAQ.

For the latest info on industry news, special offers and product releases be sure to take a look at my blog.

To learn more about why you shouldn’t trust your friends with advice on your dating profile, Read Why You Shouldn’t Ask Friends For Help With Your Online Dating Photos.