Pros & Cons Of Tinder Smart Photos, Does Tinder Smart Photos Work, How To Evaluate Your Own Dating Profile Photos

,Figuring out how to get good photos on your dating profile is a struggle. Most people hate taking photos, don’t seek out photos nor have recent photos that look like them. For many folks, taking photos can feel like going to the dentist – there are even people who are photo phobic and can’t stand to look at themselves in the mirror.

Once photos are attained, it can be a pain to figure out which photos to use in a profile and even harder to figure out what photo to use first as a main profile photo. Most people are a little shy and nervous about admitting they are on dating apps and many folks never seek feedback on their app choice, captions, answers to prompts or photos. 

Unlike Hinge and Bumble, Tinder has no prompts and most people use the bio section to list something cute, cliche or something that isn’t terribly insightful so photos are extra important on this app. With that much pressure on dating photos, it’s important to think carefully about which photos to use and what order to use them in. One should assume they will be judged by their first photo only. 

What is Tinder Smart Photos?

Tinder Smart Photos is a tool within Tinder that allows users to A/B test their photos to see which one is the most popular and thus likely to get right swipes. In order to enable this feature, one has to let Tinder randomly select the order of photos to serve to folks for enough time to collect enough data. 

Turning On Tinder Smart Photos & Turning It Off

Go to ‘edit profile’, scroll down below ‘add media’ and then there will be a slider for ‘smart photos’. Swiping the slider to the right will turn it on. Similarly sliding it to the left will turn it off.

How Does Tinder Smart Photos Work?

Tinder obtains access to your account and re-orders photos on your behalf for a period of time. The less desirable you are from an age and location perspective the longer it will take to gather enough photos. It does so by measuring when users swipe right or left on photos in your profile.

Tinder Top Photo

After enough time and testing, Tinder used to label the best performing photo as Top photo. This in theory is the photo people viewed most right before swiping right. Tinder changed their tool and just re-adjusts photos randomly. This creates confusion as one cannot tell if the app is still testing photos or if the top photo is indeed used first. My guess is that Tinder did not want to alert people that their top photo was not being used first or wanted to maximize other photos being rotated in and out of the main slot.

Reasons To Not Trust Tinder Smart Photos

Tinder’s business model is to keep people engaged with the app. To do so, it has to create the illusion of a larger pool of users than it actually does. To do so, it has to change people’s photos up so that viewers think there are more people in the area and on the app than appear to be. Without Tinder Smart Photos, there would be more stagnant, repetitive profile views leading to more displeasure with folks who keep seeing the same profile over and over again. Rotating photos reduces this pain point with users.

Additionally, the tool measures only right swipes. Given the amount of bots and spammers on the app, profiles are likely to get right swiped on the first photo only without the other photos being viewed. To minimize this Tinder might do additional testing to collect more data points but that means using sub-par photos for periods at a time as your main profile (remember what I said about being judged only by your main photo)? As a rule of thumb, one is only as attractive as their worst photo. Don’t put your worst photo first.

Lastly, it’s impossible to decipher what photo led to a right-swipe. Maybe the user saw enough photos and decided to right-swipe. Maybe they wanted to make sure your photos were consistent before right-swiping. Men are notorious for swiping right indiscriminately and then re-evaluating profiles after they get a queue of matches (not helpful to this tool). Similarly, some people swipe at the end of the profile (last photo) either way – this is not that useful.

If you are a guy with sub-par photos, most of your profile views will result in a left-swipe. The few right-swipes will be such small data points to draw any meaningful conclusions. Rotating photos may cause panic in your matches that you are talking to (are they really interested in me? Are they talking to others because their profile photos keep changing?)

The main reason not to rely on Smart Photos is that it only compares your existing photos to themselves, it doesn’t tell you if your photos are not good enough to be on the app. Before working with clients I am brutally honest about whether they should be on apps at all based on their photos. The harsh reality is that your photos could be self-sabotaging your efforts and making you look bad. 

It’s important to get unbiased, personal feedback from people you trust. 

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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.

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