Bad Dating Profile Pictures To Avoid For Men & Women, Worst Dating Photos To Use In Your Profile. Photos Not To Post For Online Dating, Tips, Examples, Bad Profile Pics
Worst Dating Profile Pictures: Online Dating Mistakes Guys & Girls Make
There are plenty of bad dating photos out there floating around on the internet, reposted to Instagram and Twitter and perhaps in your match queue or own profile right now! Some are pretty obvious, while others not so much. Bad photos are just one way guys make crucial mistakes in their online dating efforts. If you are experiencing a lack of likes or matches, keep reading to see if you are self-sabotaging your efforts with dating apps!
Many people fail to grasp the simple guidelines for what makes a halfway decent dating photo. A number of people post self-sabotaging photos that make the look awful (appearance, lifestyle, narcissism, attitude, approachability or douchbaggery). Photos are not just about posing and lighting but more so about approachability, trustworthiness and lifestyle insinuations.
As a photographer specializing in natural, candid dating photos, I created this list to help those in need with analyzing their own profiles and identifying possible red flags in other profiles. There are exceptions to the rules and I listed some below, but generally these photos are hard to pull off effectively unless you are a model or a celebrity.
What Should You Not Put In Your Online Dating Profile?
Here are the worst dating photos guys and girls use on their dating profiles and how to correct them.
1 – Do not post photos with exes.
You would be surprised how many people post photos with possible exes or unlabeled (no caption) photos of people who can be taken for a significant other. Even cropped photos of their arm around you is a no-no. Hinge says 98% reduction in likes if you do so. People don’t want to think about your ex right off the bat. Additionally, a trashy ex can reflect badly on you.
2 – Stay away from selfies.
Especially gym, car, bedroom 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. Hinge’s study revealed selfies yield 40% fewer likes while bathroom selfies yield 90% fewer likes. Ask a stranger while traveling, hiking to take a photo of you. If you don’t have anyone to ask around you, use a timer, get a tripod or better yet hire a photographer.
3 – Hold off on photos of your kids.
It is great you love your children (in fact that is to be expected and listing otherwise suggests doubt if you have to state it to strangers) but simply listing you have children in your profile is enough for now. You need to focus on selling yourself first before introducing your kids/family to others.
Dating is about taking time to get to know each other not about dumping everything on a person all at once. Balance detail and brevity. Instead, list how many you have and age instead in your bio. However, if you have a pet, make sure you have a photo of your furry friend. No dogfishing though!
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 on your face or are hatfishing. Hinge says 41% reduction in likes happen because of sunglasses photos. Hats can darken your face and make you look less attractive.
5 – Avoid too many group shots.
Unless you specifically mark who you are in the lineup or it’s obvious who you are in the photos, don’t use them. People don’t want surprises nor switch-a-roo. Definitely don’t use a group photo as your main profile photo. 11 to 69% increase in likes if you are by yourself in photos according to Hinge.
As a guy, avoid having photos with guys significantly taller than you. For women, avoid photos with super hot friends. Pay attention to your friends in the photos – immaturity or cringy behavior can offset how good you look in the photo. People will evaluate not just you but the package deal if you have too many group shots or unflattering photos of your friends in the background.
6 – No duck-faces nor Snapchat filters.
No explanation needed but if you need figures, Hinge says Snapchat filters reduce likes by 90%. Don’t try to act cute or be playful. Trying too hard is rather unflattering.
7 – Stay away from photos without you in the photo!
This is a dating website, not your portfolio gallery. Photos of a pet, painting, sunset or view offer nothing to suitors. Only use photos with you in your profile and make sure you have all of you in it (no photos of your back or photos of half your face).
8 – Avoid staged portrait photos and corporate headshots.
These are often stiff, lifeless and are likely staged. People will look you up via Google reverse image search or LinkedIn to get a better look at you. Make sure to avoid bad Linkedin photos on this list to avoid bad first impressions. Stiff photo can make you seem boring, lifeless and a workaholic.
People want balance, ambition, and well-rounded people in their lives. Also, people assume professional headshots are photoshopped and will add doubt about how you look in person right now as deviations from other photos suggest they are outdated, feature too much makeup or were materially altered.
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 but keep it to a minimum and make sure the background or environment is a great conversation stater i.e. travel, local point of interest, event or activity.
10 – Avoid using multiple photos in the same outfit and same environment.
Use only 1 photo per outfit, location. Dead giveaway that you hired a professional photographer which is not a bad thing but will suggest your photos are photoshopped since most photographers (unlike me) do this. Also avoid using the same expressions and poses. Showing the same side of your face suggests you are hiding the other side of your face.
11 – Avoid ab photos and bikini photos.
Nothing screams narcissism than the shirt lift ab photos or neck-down bikini photos. Avoid these automatic left-swipe photos at all costs! Be tasteful, organic and classy. Similarly, photos of your body neck down or photos of just your stomach will just yield unwanted attention. Instead, use form photo clothing like work-out bras and tank tops in more natural environments like hiking, rock-climbing, or other athletic activities rather than beached whale photos.
12 – Avoid cliche photos in your profile.
Photos include Iceland, Tulum, Museum of Ice Cream, fish photos (unless you are a girl), headshot only photos (no full-body shown in any photos), high-angled photos (intended to deceive weight), gym photos, gun photos and car selfies. Review this cliche dating profile bingo card for more examples of cliche photos guys and girls use.
13 – Avoid photos that don’t look like you today.
Photos more than 2-3 years old and/or feature a different weight, haircut, hairstyle, piercings, tattoos or facial. Photos should feature a consistent look but not look like clones in #10. People want stability and predictability. Using different appearances will lead to one being better than another and people judging you by your worst photo and look.
14 – Avoid looking too intense in photos.
Not smiling, focusing too hard, looking constipated, bloated looks, creepy angles can all signal an uncomfortable feeling to users. Use bright, warm inviting photos as well as flattering outfits and interesting backgrounds and environments. Read this guide for more info on looking too intense.
15 – Do not use photoshopped, plastic looking ‘Instagram-face’ photos.
These photos are horrendous. They look like cats at best, robots at worst. The same can be said for caked up makeup photos. These raise serious doubts as to actual appearance. Less is more. Too many people use skin-softening effects to cover up unsightly facial appearances. The only thing more unattractive than looks is lack of self-confidence.
16 – Avoid photos that look away from the camera.
Looking away is not a bad thing when it comes to photos but too often people force the turn. People or publications that say looking away helps with dating photos don’t mention the reason for it – it’s because the people are attractive to begin with. Looking away for the most part looks staged at best or makes you look like you are shy, hiding something, unable to focus or disinterested. Backs to the camera are also not recommended.
17 – Avoid photos from high angles.
These misleading dating profile photos are aimed to make you look slimmer. Don’t do this. It is a clear sign of insecurity. If you don’t have enough or any photos, don’t resort to these. Best to delete your profile rather than deceive others online. If enough people report you, you can get banned.
What Photos Should You Use On Your Dating Profile? (Tinder, Hinge, Bumble)
Photos smiling, laughing, recent photos, photos with captions where possible, photos that show your sense of style, photos that are relaxed but have good body posture, photos that show a mix of close-up + full body + body definition and physique, and photos you would not be embarrassed to show your boss, co-workers, family members and friends because people will see them.
Good but varied environments, backgrounds, poses, outfits, expressions are key. Similar outfits, poses, lighting and activities can give pause. Read this intro guide to dating photos here.
Related reading: Should You Hire A Professional Photographer For Dating Photos
Personalized Online Dating Profile Critique
Strategy (App Choice + Timing + First Messages), Photo Critique, Bios + Prompts + Photo Captions, Wardrobe Feedback, Body Language, Smiles & More
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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.
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