Online Dating Photo Tips To Get More Likes & Matches. How To Choose The Best Dating App Profile Photos. Best Online Dating Photo Examples For Guys & Girls, Hinge, Bumble

In a previous post, I outlined the basics for dos and don’ts for dating app photos (if you haven’t read that, please read it first before moving on:). It’s an introductory guide to photos that works for most people on dating apps however, sometimes you want to attract a certain type of person or more quality matches and dates – this guide is for you.

Regardless of the photos you use on your profile and who you want to attract, your photos should be recent, accurate and not aim to mislead others through old photos being used or weird high angled photos with the intent to make one seem slimmer than they are.


Best Dating Profile Pictures: What Pictures Should I Put On My Dating Profile?

Having photos that lack energy, enthusiasm, emotion can be considered low-effort or uninteresting. Photos that look like they were taken in your home hallway, bathroom or bedroom suggest you don’t go out much or don’t have friends. The question then is what pictures should I put on a dating profile and how do I find pictures for online dating? The tips below are helpful to get you started towards improving your profile but those that need additional help, I offer dating profile critiques.


Online Dating Photo Example


How Do I Make My Dating Profile Stand Out? How To Take A Good Dating Profile Picture

Chances are you have some good photos on your phone, backed up on a cloud service like Google/Apple, posted on social media or tagged in photos from friends, family. If not, you will have to dig around online for events photos from professional photographers and photos from friends of friends you are not aware of especially from weddings. Making a dating profile stand out goes beyond just looking attractive in photos. Here are some tips to up your game and stand out from the competition.


What Are The Best Photos On Dating Profiles, What Are The Best Pictures For Online Dating?

The best photos for dating apps are not about getting perfectly lit, posed portraits (those are actually the worst photos), they have quite a bit to do with activities, expressions, candidness, self-deprecating humor, lifestyle, being comfortable in your own skin and being approachable.

Additionally,looking good and attractive does not just entail being physically fit. Everything from your wardrobe, facial expressions, photo angles, lighting, clothing fit, environments and backgrounds can make or break you. Even the people in your photo (friends) can make people swipe left on you if they seem to juvenile, immature etc.

The guidance below provides more concrete and advanced tips for sorting through, prioritizing and selecting photos for your profile to help you get more likes and more matches.


Best Dating Profile Photos To Use On Hinge, Tinder, Bumble: How To Get Photos For Dating Profile

Travel Photos – Seems obvious, but these photos show the type of traveler you are (beach bum, explorer) as well as places you find interesting and amazing. Also people are more relaxed and more likely to be enjoying themselves on vacation plus as an added bonus travel photos make it easier to initiate an opening message.

Photos that evoke curiosity, exploring culture, and embracing the local offerings are far more effective than taking cliche photos from tourist traps and walk up photo locations. An ability to seek out the things that are harder to find, more obscure or only locals would know about are th best types of travel photos to include in your dating profile.

Pro-tip: Avoid Iceland, Museum of Ice Cream, Machu Picchu or Tulum cliche photos.


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. However, if your friends seem annoying, immature or cringy, they can offset how good or attractive you are. After all, these are the people you spend your time with and that is an added factor to consider when swiping.

Pro-tip: Make sure you don’t make a group photo as your main photo and don’t include super attractive friends next to you or tall friends if you are a short guy.


Special Occasion, Formal Event – 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 environment and give a glimpse of your style and how you clean up. Generally these are fun events and much easier to smile and enjoy yourself in photos than a work headshot or networking event for your job.

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


Halloween – 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 parties, this day is the easiest day to capture photos as well as initiate conversation on and offline. Hand-made costumes are the best – committing to the costume is key. Go big or go home.

Pro-tip: This is one of the few types of photos where it’s ok to be covered up or have imperfect lighting.


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. Avoid gym and lifting photos. Be sure these photos are tasteful and organic – trying too hard can quickly make these photos super cringy. Rather than capture the action shot, a slight pause or pre/post action shot is best.

Pro-tip: super distant photos, race photos and photos where you are flexing are awful. Looking effortless is key.


Close-Up – People want to see how you look like up close. Avoid photoshopped LinkedIn photos and cropped floating head photos that take up 80-90% of the frame. Ideally want to capture photos that also feature your chest and shoulders and a little extra space. Go with a close-up 1/2, 1/4 or chest up shot of you smiling or laughing.


Restaurant / Bar (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. The best photos focus more on excitement, backgrounds and uniqueness rather than perfect lighting and poses.

Pro-tip: Follow publications like Eater so you know which places are trending and which ones people are craving.


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. Too many people are afraid to be a little vulnerable but being a bit clumsy at the right time can let down people’s guard and make them feel more comfortable around you.

Pro-tip: Friends are great to capture these photos as they are more about the moment than they are about taking a perfect, well-lite, framed photo.


Well-Lit, Properly Framed/Cropped – Photos should not be too dark nor too grainy nor too distant. It’s fine to have one environmental photo of you in the distance, but this shouldn’t be the main profile photo nor should you use several photos like this. People want to see your physique, your face, your smile, your style.

Avoid taking photos with harsh shadows around the eyes or using a camera phone flash as those create raccoon eyes, highlight oily skin and give off the deer in the headlight looks which is never flattering

Pro-tip: Avoid sunglasses, hoodies, harsh light that causes oily skin.


Smile, Smile, Smile – First impressions are everything. Angry, narcissistic, self-absorbed photos are generally a turn-off. A healthy balance between confident and approachable photos are ideal. A good smile can instantly make you more attractive. The biggest complaint I get from women are that guys seem too uptight and intense. Locking jaws, trying to pose like a model or looking away is an obvious sign of insecurity.

Pro-tip: Practice posing in the mirror to see what smile works best for your face.


How To Pick Photos For Dating Profile, Choosing The Best Dating Pictures

There are plenty of other photos to use that can be even more effective. While selfies are generally not recommended, they can be great if you take one with a celebrity or happen to have one in an epic setting i.e. hot springs bath with snow monkeys in Japan, photo-bombing in the background or a good prop or article of clothing that conveys additional detail of travel, hometowns or inexplicable connections.

The best photos are ones that suggest a candid moment in time rather than giving off the appearance you asked someone to take the photo of you. Trying too hard can offset a perfectly good photo. Photos are about personality and lifestyle more so than trying to structure the technical aspects of lighting, angles, sharpness and framing. If you are having trouble figuring out how to order the photos, choose your main profile photo or take new photos, I offer dating profile critiques to clients.


Best Dating Profile Pictures, Best Online Dating Photos To Use For Dating Profiles

Photos that are clear, bright, show your body, face, hobbies, interests but do so naturally and candidly are best. Photos that appear effortless and in the moment rather than posed, staged are ones you should seek.


The Best Dating Profile Photos For Hinge, Bumble, Tinder

Each app has a different audience and within those different user bases lie different lifestyle, intentions. What might work on one dating app may not work on the other. Your photos should be curated to attract who you want not just who you are.


How Do I Find Pictures For Online Dating? 

Finding photos can be tough but it doesn’t have to be impossible. You need to seek out photos, ask for photos and be in position to have your photo taken in favorable environments, situations and activities in order to increase likelihood that others around you will take photos of you. Browsing the internet for past event, searching by location on social media and browsing profiles of friends of friends can often yield unexpected photos.


How Do You Choose A Dating Profile Picture?

Assume the photo will be the only photo you will be judged on. Unflattering poses, sunglasses, group photos, hats, dimly lit photos, immature photos and photos that mislead others about your appearance and looks (weird high angles) will be quickly dismissed.


Personalized Online Dating Profile Critique

Strategy (App Choice + Timing + First Messages), Photo Critique, Bios + Prompts + Photo Captions, Wardrobe Feedback, Body Language, Smiles & More

About Eddie Hernandez

Eddie Hernandez is a dating consultant & professional photographer based in San Francisco, servicing clients in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and beyond as featured in the NYTimes, 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, date planning, screening profiles, ID'ing red flags, offline techniques for meeting people organically, naturally. 

Dating App FAQ's  |  Online Dating Resource Guide  |  How To Be Successful With Dating Apps

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