Bad Dating Profile Photos To Avoid For Men & Women, Worst Photos To Use In Your Online Dating Profile. Photos Not To Post For Online Dating

Crazy Girl With Big Eyes Meme

Crazy Girl With Big Eyes Meme

Dos and Don’ts: Tips from a Professional Online Dating Photographer In San Francisco  

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. 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).

As a professional 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.

Here are the worst dating photos guys and girls use on their dating profiles.

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.

2 – Stay away from selfies. 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. Hinge’s study revealed selfies yield 40% fewer likes while bathroom selfies yield 90% fewer likes.

 Hold off on photos of your kids. It is great you love your children but simply listing you have children in your profile is enough for now. 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. Hinge says 41% reduction in likes happen because of sunglasses photos. 

5 – Avoid group shots unless you specifically mark who you are in the lineup. 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.

bad linkedin profile picture

bad linkedin profile picture


6 – No duck-faces nor Snapchat filters (no explanation needed) but if you need figures, Hinge says Snapchat filters reduce likes by 90%.

bad linkedin profile picture

bad linkedin profile picture


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. 

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. 

bad linkedin profile picture

bad linkedin profile picture

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.

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.

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.

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.

13 – Avoid photos that don’t look like you today. Photos more than 5 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.

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. Read this guide for more info on looking too intense.

15Do not use photoshopped, plastic looking ‘Instagram-face’ photos. These photos are horrendous. They look like cats at best, robots at worst. Same can be said for caked up makeup photos. These raise serious doubts as to actual appearance. Less is more.

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.

What Photos Should You Use On Your Dating Profile?

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.

Additional Reading

What Do Your Dating Profile Photos Signal

How To Look More Attractive In Dating Photos

How To Be More Photogenic In Photos

How To Write An Online Dating Profile

Is Online Dating Worth It

About Eddie Hernandez

Eddie Hernandez is a professional photographer (based in San Francisco, travel to Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and beyond) 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. https://eddie-hernandez.com/contact/

Dating Profile Critique

For those of you who are remote or virtual dating help and are looking for an online dating profile critique you can read more about my services here.

For other helpful online dating tips check out my blog for more helpful advice: https://eddie-hernandez.com/blog/

Online Dating Frequently Asked Questions (Photos, App Choice, Wardrobe, Messaging, Bios and More): https://eddie-hernandez.com/online-dating-frequently-asked-questions/

Serving the San Francisco Bay Area: Sausalito, Mill Valley, Oakland, Berkeley, San Francisco, San Mateo, Marin County, Petaluma, Sonoma, Napa, Palo Alto, San Jose, Stanford, Silicon Valley, Larkspur, Mountain View, Sunnyvale and Menlo Park. Will travel to LA, NYC, CDMX, Chicago, internationally and client sites.

Contact me today for your headshot session: https://eddie-hernandez.com/contact/

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