Pros & Cons Of Tinder Smart Photos, Does Tinder Smart Photos Work, Does Tinder Change Your Photo Order? 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. Many profiles are littered with cliche, cringy photos of shirtless selfies, photos next to cars and Snapchat filtered photos.

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. It’s an unfortunate position to be in but when dating apps are based around appearance and photos (at least in the initial screening process), it’s absolutely imperative to have a solid profile to have any shot of success on dating apps.


Which Photos To Use On Tinder, What Order To Use Tinder Photos In

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. All too often people hastily toss up any photos up when they create a dating profile and don’t think twice. 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.

Likes and matches mean absolutely nothing as a number of people swipe right on everyone while others re-evaluate matches and focus on those they are most interested in. It’s not uncommon to have less than 5% of matches reply to any of your messages. It’s a harsh reality of dating apps but you can improve your situation by improving your appearance and profile.

What is Tinder Smart Photos? Should I Use 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.

After some time, Tinder will tell you which photo is the most popular in your profile. By definition of the testing, it will also test your worst photos and place them first as your main profile photo. Pro-tip: not all photos are transferable across people, profiles. Your hot friend is able to get away with more cringy photos than you are. Don’t just copy what others are doing. Successful dating photos are profiles are subjective and depend on the people you want to attract.

Does Tinder Change The Order Of Your Photos? What Picture Does Tinder Show First?

It does not unless the Smart Photos feature is activated. Check your settings to see if it is turned on. Tinder let’s you choose what photo to show first unless you activate Tinder Smart Photos.

Turning On Tinder Smart Photos & Turning Off Tinder Smart Photos

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 off smart photos.


Tinder Smart Photos

Tinder Smart Photos / Courtesy of

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 and by constantly re-arranging the photo order in your profile. By definition, the worse photo you have in your profile may be used temporarily as your main photo which is an awful idea. You always want to lead with your best photo first.

Engineers love this tool because they think it’s a perfect way to measure success across photos and use data to help with their underperforming profile.s.

Tinder Top Photo – Tinder Photo Order: How Does Tinder Choose Your Best 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.

Should You Turn On Smart Photos On Tinder? 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. 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.

What Photos To Use On Tinder? Best Dating Pictures To Use On Tinder

Read this post one what photos you should be using instead. The ideal number of photos you should use on Tinder is between 4-6 photos, most people try to use the full 9 slots but you are only as attractive as your worst photos.

It’s important to have a range of photos that are close-ups (non-selfies), full body, environmental (bar, restaurant, view, travel in the background for conversation starters), activity based photos and photos in candid, natural everyday situations. Avoid repeating outfits, poses, backgrounds, practice your smiles and use natural, soft, diffused light to avoid raccoon eyes, harsh shadows and oily skin.

What Should Your First Profile Pic Be?

Typically, your first photo should be your best photo. It should be well lit, clear and show you in a flattering manner. You should assume that people will make judgments about your profile by only looking at your main profile photo on Tinder. If it’s too dark, distant, hidden, features harsh light or is an ambiguous group photo, people will swipe left.

How To Reorder Profile Photos On Tinder

Tap on the photo you want to move, hold down the photo and drag it to the photo slot you want it to occupy.


What Are The Best Photos To Use On A Tinder Profile?

Read this guide on the best Tinder photos for guys and girls


What Pictures Get The Most Matches On Tinder?

Those that are effortless, confident, approachable, show smiles, interest, hobbies, comfort in ones own skin, flattering poses, styles and body language are the ones that get the most matches on Tinder.

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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