Dating Profile Pictures: Best Online Dating Photos For Guys, Girls; Best Hinge, Bumble Photos; Dating App Photo Tips, Ideas, Men, Women

As an online dating photographer, I have worked with countless folks here in San Francisco as well as across the country and world to improve their profiles through curating existing dating profile photos, providing guidance on which dating photos will help their profile as well as take natural, candid photos of them in everyday settings (see press coverage in the NYT, WSJ).

The recent explosion in online dating has caught many off guard, with little to no etiquette to follow. Unflattering, cringeworthy online dating 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 dating profiles.

Below are some online dating photo tips to get you going in the right direction. If you still need help with picking photos, taking photos, take a look at my dating profile critique service here. I will help you sort out photos to use for dating profiles, how to get new ones and which to keep/discard.

Read this beginner’s guide to online datingHire me for natural dating photos, info here.

Related read: Dating Photo Feedback

Dating Profile Pictures: What Photos To Use On A Dating Profile? Best Hinge, Bumble Photos

Dating pictures are essential in dating profiles. They communicate not only how you look like but signal other items like grooming habits, wardrobe choices, lifestyle, hobbies, interests, who you associate with and what you find interesting or worth sharing with the world around you.

These subtle queues can make or break you. Ideally, photos reflect how you look today and how you would appear on a date right now. They should be consistent in looks, reflective of your weight, hairstyle, hair color, style, grooming, personality and make people want to know more about you.

Best Hinge Photos, Best Bumble Photos For Women – Tips on how to choose photos for your dating profile

Best Bumble Photos, Best Hinge Photos For Men – How to look more approachable, confident


Dating App Photo Tips, Online Dating Profile Tips, Examples, Good Dating Profile Pictures

Online Dating Photo Example


How Important Are Pictures On Dating Apps? Do Looks Matter In Online Dating? Best Dating Profile Pictures 

Looks and photos are very important. Most people decide whether to continue browsing a profile or not based on the first, main photo. Photos are needed to get people to read your bio, about me sections and background.

Without decent photos, dating apps are not really worth the time or effort. Some dating apps are more superficial than others but using self-sabotaging photos suggests a lack of effort or not being serious about dating.

While you don’t need professional portraits for your dating profile, you do need good photos to separate yourself from the competition.


How Many Pictures Do You Need For Dating Profile (Hinge, Bumble?) How Many Photos Are Needed For Bumble, Hinge?

4-6 photos are recommended for a dating profile. Yes, some apps require just one photo or allow up to 9-23 photos but that doesn’t mean you should use the bar minimum or maximum. Hinge requires 6 photos.

You will be judged by your worst photos so don’t use bad ones. If you don’t use enough, people might think you are a scammer, catfisher.

The golden rule of dating photos is that every photo works to show a whole story about you: physique, appearance, lifestyle, grooming patterns, and close up shots.

If you use photos that don’t look like you today, you should expect dates to not want to go out on a second date with you.

How To Choose Photos For Online Dating, What Photos To Put On Dating App Profile (Hinge, Bumble)

Many folks have no idea what their photos signal nor do they understand how their facial expressions, body posture, lighting, outfits and people in their photos can affect how people view them.

Photos make up 90%+ of the decision-making process on whether someone left or right swipes on you. Most folks are judged on their first photo alone and never have their other photos viewed until it’s too late. 

These are my quick and easy tips for what makes a good photo and what makes a bad photo. Remember that photos are not viewed in isolation but also in the context of your bio, prompts and other photos – there are always exceptions to the rules.

Also, keep in mind that different apps and sites (like Hinge and Tinder) will have different photo recommendations.

To read up on more detailed information about all things dating photos including what to wear in dating photos, photo order, how to pose for a dating profile, should you hire a professional photographer, should you use photos of your kids in them, dating app photo dimensions, how to look more attractive in your dating photos, read these other posts in my blog.

Below is my list of dating app photos not to put in an online dating profile.

Related read: Best Dating Apps  |  Best Gay Dating Apps


Bumble Profile Tips!

Learn how to make a good Bumble profile, what prompts to use, what to put in a profile (photos, interests, bios & more). Addit'l help w/ boosts, compliments, messages, best photo/photo order, Bumble premium & more.

10 Dating Pictures To Avoid Guys & Girls, Bumble, Hinge; Dating App Photos For Guys, Girls

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 or unlabeled photos of people who can be taken for an ex or current significant other.

2 – Stay away from selfies on dating app profiles. 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. Keep the floating heads to a minimum (1 max, if that). Selfies can distort your face and make you look wider. Read more about using selfies on dating profiles here.

3  Hold off on photos of your kids in your dating profile. It is great you love your children (in fact, it should be understood and doesn’t need to be said) but simply listing you have children (and if they are adults or living at home) in your profile is enough for now. However, if you have a pet, make sure you have a photo of 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. Use too many or one as your main profile photo and people might assume you have something to hide i.e. hatfishing. Limit to 1 per profile max and make sure it’s in an appropriate setting i.e. beach, outdoors.

5 – Should you have photos with friends on dating apps? Are group photos ok for online dating? Group photos on dating apps? Stop using group photos in dating profiles unless you specifically mark who you are in the lineup (or it’s otherwise obvious). People don’t want surprises nor switch-a-roo. Definitely don’t use a group photo as your main profile photo, limit group photos to 1-2 max per profile and make sure your friends are not super attractive and for guys, significantly taller than you. Group photos on dating apps should not be ambiguous nor distracting. Similarly, respect your friends privacy and make sure you don’t post photos with people who are significantly more attractive than you (cheerleader effect doesn’t work on dating apps). 

6 – No duck-faces nor Snapchat filters (no explanation needednor shirtless dating profile photos. It’s one thing to capture a photo in the pool at the beach but photos should be candid and natural not staged, obvious nor modeling-esque. Keep it classy, not tacky otherwise you will come off as self-absorbed, desperate, thirsty, narcissistic and gross.

7 – Stay away from photos without you in the photo! This is a dating website, not your portfolio gallery. Photos of a pet unless you are in the photo too but not giving it mouth hugs), painting, sunset, feet or view offer nothing to suitors. The focus should be on you not someone, something else.

8 – Avoid staged portrait photos and corporate headshots. These are often stiff, lifeless and are easily identifiable as being staged. People will look you up on LinkedIn to get a better look at you so save that photo for something more candid, natural as professional portraits suggest some photoshop or enhancements were made.

9 – Avoid tiny, distant, blurry and dark photos. People want to see you and how you look like, not a silhouette. These photos suggest you are trying to hide something. It’s ok to have one photo like this (especially if it’s an epic location, destination) but keep it to a minimum.

10 – Avoid looking too intense in photos – Not smiling, focusing too hard, ‘intense face’, looking constipated, bloated looks, creepy angles can all signal an uncomfortable feeling to users. Use bright, warm inviting photos. Read this guide for more info on looking too intense.

There are always exceptions to the guidelines above however first picture in online dating profiles are crucial. A decision to swipe left can be made just on the first photo alone.

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. In general, you want to avoid using misleading photos (old photos, weird angles, different appearance).

You want photos that put you in the best light and that represent who you are. Below are my recommendations for the types of photos to put on a dating profile. 


Selfie Guide, Posing, Tips, For Men

10 Best Photo Tips To Post For Online Dating Apps Hinge, Bumble For Men & Women; Best Photos For Bumble, Hinge; Best Hinge

1- Photos of you smiling or laughing. Should you smile in dating app photos? Should I smile in online dating photos? Candid and embarrassing photos are great. It shows you know how to let go, poke fun of yourself and have fun! Authenticity conveys confidence. Not every photo has to show your teeth or have a big smile, but approachability is key!

2 – Photos of you doing what you love — do you love dancing? Hiking? Dressing up? Show it! Action shots are great even if they are not super clear photos of you. Environmental photos of places you like to explore or frequent are great!

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. Additionally, selfies and close proximity photos can distort photos making them wider.

4 – Look for photos online. If there is an event you attended recently (sporting, professional, gala, friend’s party, social event etc.), see if you can find a copy online on social media (Facebook, IG) or event page or photographer page.

5 – Use a variety of shots. 4–6 total photos are ideal (6 are required on dating apps like Hinge) – 1 up close-up, 1 action, 1+ travel, 1 environmental 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? Self-deprecating humor is a sign of confidence when done well.

7 – Label photos with a caption as needed i.e. friends, occasion, location etc. 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. Lack of bios and captions suggests laziness, not that serious or lack of creativity.

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. Remove doubt by showing your entire body and not just chest up photos. Mix up facial expressions, angles, crops, lighting so it doesn’t look like you took all the photos at once via a professional photographer or timer. Avoid photos from weird, high angles aimed to make you look slimmer.

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. If you changed your appearance (lost weight, cut your hair, colored your hair, grown facial hair etc. you might need to update your photos even more quickly than this stated range). You should appear as you would on a first date – keep the surprises to a minimum.

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 Photos: Make sure all photos offer something different, unique, flattering, and interesting to your profile vs the previous photos. “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. Read this post to how to get more matches on dating apps through your photos, prompts, answers, photo captions and more.

Hinge Tips For Men, Women

Learn how to make a good Hinge profile, what prompts to use, what info to put in a profile, should you add photo prompts & photo captions, add IG to profile, send comments with likes, send roses?

Dating App Photos: What Is An Online Dating Headshot? What Is A Dating Portrait? Online Dating Tips For Men, Women;

Online dating headshots are typically the main or first photo in a user’s dating profile. It’s more casual than a business headshot and is typically cropped from other photos similar to that of other headshots cropped slightly above the head and just below the shoulders.

With the growth of online dating, individuals are hiring professional photographers to help with their dating profiles. It’s important to know that portrait photographers make for bad dating profile photos.


Should You Look Directly At The Camera or Should You Look Away From The Camera In Photos?


What Are The Best Pictures For Online Dating? Best Photos For Hinge, Best Photos For Bumble,


Dating App Pictures: What Should I Wear For Online Dating Photos?


Online Dating Tips – Dating Pictures: Retouching / Photo-Editing Etiquette

Photos should reflect how you would appear on a first date to your match.

Yes – lightening, cropping, reducing shadows, saturation (lightly), temporary blemishes (pimple, scratch).

No – softening skin, removing wrinkles, filters, permanent redness skin, moles, birthmarks.


Online Dating Photos: Are Selfies Good For Dating Apps? Are Selfies Bad For Online Dating – Dating App Photo Ideas

No, they suggest lack of social circles or distrust in others to take photos for you. Using one is fine especially if it’s an epic photo i.e. travel, with a celebrity or something organic and candid but using boring ones with no conversation starters are not recommended. Read more about using selfies on dating profiles here.


Should You Caption Hinge Photos? Can You Write Your Own Captions On Hinge? How Do You Add Captions On Hinge?

Yes, absolutely, but only if you have something interesting, insightful or witty to say. Stating something obvious or boring can actually hurt you. Click edit photo and tap the three lines in the top left part of the photo. There you will have the opportunity to add a location and or description.


Pictures With Friends On Dating Profile: Group Photo Dating Sites, Group Photos On Hinge, Bumble

These are fine, just don’t use one as your main profile, limit to 1-2 group photos, avoid ambiguous photos where you can’t tell who you are and avoid photos with significantly hotter women as guys will fixate on that (cheerleader effect does not work on dating apps).

Related read: Worst Dating Profile Photos


Ideal Dating Profile Photos – Hinge, Bumble Profile Photo; Main Photo For Dating Profile, First Photo In Dating Profile

The ideal dating profile should consist of one close up photo (zoomed out further than a headshot but cropped so that your frame is about 50-60% of of the frame – half body shot). Next photo should be an activity/hobby photo – ideally one that is interesting/fun and social vs solo and gender-specific/dominated.

The next photo should be dressed up – what you might look like on a date or social event. This could range from a gala/symphony to nice dinner or first date. The 4th photo should be taken in a public space that is recognizable to some locals – bar, cafe, hiking trail, restaurant, museum, concert hall etc.


Online Dating Profile Tips: No Pictures For Dating Site Profile, Dating App Photo Tips

If you don’t have photos, don’t bother using dating apps. You are not ready, people will think you are a spammer or bot.


What Should Your First Photo Be On A Dating App? What Should The First Photo Be On A Dating Profile (Bumble, Hinge)?

It should be clear and close up. No hats, sunglasses, group photos, dimly lit photos, zoomed out photos nor photos that will cause people to swipe left on you. The photo has to be good enough for people to continue scrolling through your profile. Any ambiguity or negative context can result in people swiping left on you without reviewing the rest of your photos and profile. This is why you should think twice about Bumble ‘best photo’ and Tinder ‘smart photo’.


How To Create A Good Dating Profile That Stands Out (Men, Women, Hinge, Bumble & More)

Dating Profile Critique, Review Services

App Choice, Photo Critique (Order, Captions), Bios, Prompts; Wardrobe, Hobbies, Grooming  Recommendations, Body Language, Facial Expressions, Lifestyle Choices (Men & Women).

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.