A woman is sitting in a red chair with her hands on her head.

How to Get the Best Dating Profile Photo (Tips, Ideas & Examples)

Creating an alluring selection of dating profile photos is a skill that all singles need to learn. Here's how to maximise your chances on the dating apps.

Trying to decide on the best picture for a dating app profile? You’ve come to the right place.

Even though my dating days are long over (I’ve been married for five years), I can still help you out!

Character, humor, and social status are important in dating…

…but the harsh truth is, your pictures are the first impression and can make or break your chances of getting matches.

As a professional portrait photographer, I know the ins and outs of a great dating profile photo, which I’ll share with you shortly.

I’ll also include some tips below on how to get the best results from a dating photographer.

And if you want to try some dating photography yourself, you’ll discover how to get it right the first time.

4 Must-Have Photos for Your Dating Profile

Before you go ahead and upload your most liked Instagram photos to your dating profile, you need to ensure you include the following pictures:

1. Classic Headshot

A smiling man in a red polo shirt.

Credit: Andrea Piacquadio

Since most dating applications give you a one-inch square for your profile picture, your best bet for the first photo is a classic headshot.

A classic portrait of you showcasing your face and upper torso is more than enough to give people an idea of how you look in real life.

Now comes the controversial issue, should I smile in a classic headshot? Well, science says you should.

Research has shown that smiling in photos can make you look more attractive and likable. However, make sure your smile is genuine and not cheesy.

For women, it’s better to pose with a broad smile while showing teeth to receive more likes. Meanwhile, men often find better chances with a soft smile without showing teeth.

2. Full-Body Shot

A young woman wearing a black t - shirt and jeans sitting on a pink wall.

Credit: Angela Roma

Many women and men lie about their age, height, and weight on online dating services.

That’s why a full-body shot is a must-have for your profile. It gives people an idea of how you look from head to toe, and you can use your body language to convey your confidence too.

I recommend having a friend or a professional photographer help you with this; full-body selfies are usually tricky, so it’s better to get some professional photos if possible.

3. Lifestyle Photo

A woman sitting on a rock in the woods meditating

Credit: RF_Studio

A lifestyle photo is a chance to showcase what you like to do; you can post pictures on online dating sites of you engaging in your favorite hobby or activity.

These types of profile pictures turn the right heads and keep the wrong people away. They also act as a conversation starter and help you match with dating profiles with mutual interests.

Bonus points if you can get some candid shots – experiment with a tripod and a timer, or see if you can find some dating photographers who can help out.

4. Bonus Shot

A woman hugging her dog in a field.

Credit: Gustavo Fring

The last photo in your dating app should be a special one of your choice. It can be a full-body shot or a classic headshot, but ensure you’re not hiding your looks or face.

If you have a pet, it’s a good idea to include it in at least one dating profile picture for some bonus points from other pet lovers!

Think about a cute candid shot outdoors with natural light, highlighting your facial features or whatever makes you feel good.

You could even try a 3/4 body shot, which is a really popular angle for headshot photography.

What makes a good dating profile photo?

Since men and women perceive dating photos differently, there’s no guideline for the perfect profile photo.

However, there are some things that might help you stand out.

Here’s how to take the best dating profile photos.

1. Smile

A black and white photo of a young man smiling.

Credit: Stefan Stefancik

Smiling in your profile pictures reflects that you’re a welcoming and friendly human being. So whether you have insecurities about your smile or not, displaying a genuine Duchenne smile in your profile picture is always nice.

Your favorite photo might not be the one in which you’re smiling, but it’s still a must-have in your profile.

You can learn how to smile naturally for pictures, so practice in front of the mirror.

2. Background

A young woman jumping in the air on a beach.

Try to avoid selfies because they hinder your ability to pose for pictures properly. You should also avoid bathroom selfies; they’re the worst in online dating.

Show people you have a life away from your phone. So, go out there and take some interesting shots in vibrant and natural backgrounds.

Messy backgrounds are also a huge distraction; we don’t want that. Keep it simple and upload photos in locations that say something about your personality and interests.

Here are some photography backdrop ideas.

3. Recent Photo

A man in a green jacket is posing for a photo.

Credit: Nathan Cowley

You might be tempted to use a two-year-old photo where your hairline was perfect and you were a few pounds lighter.

This might be your best picture, but trust me, nobody cares about how you looked two or three years ago; they only care about now.

So avoid using old photos, no matter how stunning you used to look.

You should also learn how to take good selfies.

4. Showing an Activity

A man jumping over rocks in the desert.

People are likely to engage with you if you share photos of you doing any activity. Everyone likes to be close to fun and active people.

So avoid those lazy selfies and take photos while doing your favorite activity, be it hiking, fishing, swimming, or anything else.

Should You Use a Dating Photographer?

You might be tempted to hire a dating photographer to take your online dating experience to the next level. But is it worth it?

If you take online dating seriously, the answer is a big yes!

A professional dating photographer can help you upgrade your profile with high-quality photos.

Here’s how to make it work:

  1. Aim for a wide range of looks with different outfits to showcase your personality and style.
  2. Pose in different locations with colorful backgrounds.
  3. Relax and don’t be intimidated when a photographer asks you to pose differently.
  4. Ask your photographer to see the whole gallery so you can pick your favorite shots.

Use sites like Snappr to find dating photographers, or simply a professional photographer with experience in taking profile pictures.

5 Tips for Successful Dating Photography

A woman in a red suit sitting on a set of stairs.

Credit: Peter Plashkin

1. Avoid Group Photos

Avoid sharing photos which include friends or family members on dating websites. These photos are usually low-quality and make it hard for strangers to identify you.

Strangers might even get attracted to one of your friends instead of you, which isn’t a good scenario in online dating.

2. Wear Something Red

Many studies have shown that wearing red makes men and women more attractive.

Additionally, dark colors often reflect a gloomy vibe, especially if they’re the only colors you wear. So make sure you share photos of you wearing multiple outfits with different colors.

3. No Sunglasses

No matter how much you spend on your new sunglasses, dating apps aren’t where you should show them off. That’s because eyes often reflect your character and trustworthiness, and people want to see that.

Moreover, eyes massively contribute to your facial beauty, likability, and attractiveness, so why hide them?

4. Avoid Shirtless Pictures

No matter how athletic you are, shirtless pictures won’t increase your chances of getting matches.

Studies have shown that men who post shirtless pictures often get fewer matches. Many women also perceive shirtless pictures as a sign of immaturity.

5. Avoid the Passport Photo Heashot

Just because you need a professional headshot among your profile pictures doesn’t mean you should include a dull, boring, no-smile ‘passport’ photo.

Make sure your headshot conveys your personality in some way. If nothing else, make sure you’re smiling and it’s taken in natural light.

What Do Girls Find Attractive in a Guy’s Dating Photo?

A man and a dog sitting in front of a tent.

Credit: Rdne Stock Project

Now that you’ve known the basics of a good dating profile picture, let’s see what attracts women to men on dating apps.

1. Photos With Friends

Women are often turned off by guys who post only selfies; they even perceive them as narcissists or sociopaths.

So sharing one or two photos with friends shows you’re capable of having healthy relationships. Make sure not to share too many, and don’t make it hard for people to spot you in a group photo.

2. Being Active

Men who share photos of themselves doing an activity usually get more matches. Women aren’t interested in your dreadful gym selfies.

Instead, they like active guys who lead an engaging life. Photos of you swimming, hiking, fishing, or playing your favorite sport might do the trick.

3. Photos With Pets

Being kind to animals is a clear green flag for women. They perceive men who’re kind to animals as playful, gentle, and responsible.

So sharing a photo with your dog or your friend’s cat might do the trick.

4. Family Photos

Just like photos with friends, women love family pictures as they show you’re a caring person who values the importance of family and connections.

One or two profile photos with family members are enough; I don’t recommend sharing too many group shots.

What Do Guys Find Attractive in a Girl’s Dating Photo?

A woman with afro hair smiling in front of a car.

Credit: Thais Sarmento

Even though women are much more selective on dating platforms, guys pay attention to some details that make women more attractive to them.

1. Genuine Smile

Showing off your genuine smile is one of the best ways to attract men. In fact, men find women much more attractive when they smile.

So avoid that cheesy smile and share photos of you smiling from the bottom of your heart.

2. Hair

Studies have shown that men pay huge attention to women’s hair. Sharing some pictures during your good-hair day will definitely increase your chances of getting quality matches.

3. Style

Men value women who spend time and effort taking care of themselves, and having a sense of style is the perfect way to show that.

That doesn’t mean you have to share all your photos wearing sundresses and high heels, but it’s always better to share pictures in which you look put-together and stylish.

4. Activity

Sharing a picture of you doing your favorite activity is a huge turn-on for men.

Even though most men focus on looks and style, they still want to hang out with an active person. A photo of you playing your favorite sport or doing your hobby should do the trick.

To Wrap Up

So there you have it, your guide for the perfect profile photo for online dating. Remember that a photo is worth a thousand words, so choose your pictures wisely.

A classic headshot, a full-body shot, and a lifestyle photo are a must-have. After that, you can opt for photos that spark interest and give a sense of your unique personality.

If you take dating websites seriously, professional photographers can help you take good photos and increase your chance of matching with a like-minded person.

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Content Manager

As the Content Manager of Shotkit, India Mantle brings with her a lifelong love for photography that she developed during her childhood, watching her father document their family moments with his Nikon EM. In her free time, you find her enjoying the awe-inspiring natural beauty of her home, Northern Rivers, Australia.

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