Get More Dates With Better Profile Pictures

March 7th, 2012 by Nick Notas 5 Comments

Mirror Ab Shot

Lately, I’ve been helping a lot of men fix their online dating profiles. The conversation usually goes something like:

“Hey man, I’m frustrated as hell. Girls aren’t reaching out to me, no matter what I do…what’s up?”

After checking their profiles, I notice the most glaring problem: the photos. They’re lackluster, unappealing, or the good ones are buried at the bottom instead of showcased at the top.

When I suggest that they need to revise their pictures, it’s often met with hesitation or simply shrugged off. They don’t believe that putting the effort into better pictures will pay off or make that big of an impact. It does.

As nice as a girl may be, when she’s deciding whether or not to message you, the only things she has to go off are your pictures and your writing. It might seem shallow, but really, it’s not. Your pictures tell a vivid story about your personality, interests, and lifestyle.

Here’s what happens when a girl sees crappy photos:

  • She scrolls past your profile while browsing because you don’t catch her eye.
  • She gets turned off by a lack of quality – they’re too boring, blurry, or vulgar. If she’s putting the time in to create her profile and look around, she wants to know you take it seriously, too.
  • She thinks your pictures are alright, but not interesting enough to continue reading on.

So let’s get you some pictures she can’t resist.

8 Steps to Taking and Choosing Photos That Get Messaged:

  1. Get a friend to help you. Self-portraits (especially ones with you in front of a mirror) are the epitome of lame. Ask for some assistance and offer something in return – free lunch, a six-pack, whatever.
  2. Look your best. You’re trying to advertise yourself, so you’ve got to step up your game. Lounging in your sweats isn’t your most attractive look.

    Put on a fitted button shirt, sweater, or solid-colored T-shirt with a pair of dark jeans. If you don’t have any of those items or are unsure what looks good, check out my guide. You want to have one or preferably two put-together outfits.

    Don’t forget about grooming. Take a shower, wash your hair thoroughly, and style it well for the shots. If you’ve got facial hair, make sure it’s clean and trim. A heavy beard can add unwanted pounds and distract from your other great features.

  3. Find a few good locations. If indoors, take pictures against a clean background and close to natural light. Disheveled bedrooms, bathrooms, and computer desks are off-limits.

    If outdoors, you have a lot of options to experiment with. Go to go to your favorite park, trail, building, pretty much anywhere. Mess around with different backgrounds (brick, against trees, in front of water) and positions (standing, sitting on rocks, lounging in grass).

  4. Take a lot of pictures. Go nuts, try for fifty or more. Test out a couple of outfits, angles, distances, facial expressions, and stances. Personally, I have to weed out a lot of unflattering pictures of myself to find the ones I really like. The more you shoot, the more likely you’ll end up with attractive photos.
  5. Eliminate the worst pictures. Ditch the ones that are out of focus, blurry, or dark. Examine yourself in them, and get rid of the ones with awkward postures and unflattering facial expressions (closed eyes, unnatural smile, etc.). Choose a handful of your favorite shots, including some of your existing profile pictures.
  6. Enhance your shots (optional). If you’re comfortable with very basic photo editing, use it to spice up your photos. It doesn’t take much – adjust brightness, contrast, shadows, highlights, saturation and see if they improve the quality of your pictures. You can Photoshop but something simple like iPhoto (Mac) or Picasa (Mac and Windows) works well.
  7. Upload your photos to MyBestFace. This is OKCupid’s tool to help you evaluate your best pictures as rated by other users. You’ll need to judge a few other people’s photos yourself, but it won’t take long. Once you do that, you’ll receive your report within a day or so. I suggest re-running your report afterwards to help confirm the ratings/order of your shots or when you have new photos.

    Obviously, take the results with a grain of salt – nothing is perfect. But, if you consistently see a clear winner or a few that stand out, it’s a decent indicator they’re your better shots.

  8. Choose your profile picture. Use the highest-rated photo as your main one. Take the next-rated photos and add them accordingly. Be careful that you don’t have two of the same outfit in a row. You should end up with no more than seven photos. Don’t use any photos that have significantly lower scores than your others.

    Also, feel free to ask the opinions of some friends, especially women.

General Tips and Guidelines for Attractive Photos:

  • Smile! You want to look happy, confident, and inviting. If you’ve got a stern face in all your shots, she’s not going to feel comfortable messaging you.
  • Hold eye contact. As they say, the eyes are the windows to your soul. It’s okay to have a couple of pictures of you facing away, but you need some looking at the camera.
  • Use a high-quality camera. Stop posting blurry, dark cellphone shots. Start taking your pictures with a decent camera, even if you have to borrow one. If you’ve got a smart phone that takes good photos (iPhone 4/4s, newer Android) that’s fine, but DSLRs are best.
  • Don’t use flash. Try to take shots with sufficient natural light. Flash shows off imperfections in your skin like wrinkles and blemishes. The only exception is using “fill flash” to brighten shadows in outdoor / backlit pictures.
  • Have a photo of you doing something interesting. If all your pictures are of you standing in your house or in your car, you come off boring. Take pictures that showcase your awesome lifestyle like:
    • Playing an instrument such as guitar, drums, piano, violin, etc
    • An outdoor activity such as hiking, snowboarding, or waterskiing
    • Relaxing oceanside on vacation
    • With friends at your favorite bar
  • A maximum of one picture with sunglasses. I don’t know what’s up with guys having a whole bunch of photos in aviators, but it looks silly. Keep your favorite and remove the rest.
  • Pictures with animals or kids are great. These display your compassionate side — huge bonus points. Just be sure to caption your pictures accordingly if they aren’t your children (my adorable nephew, my best friend’s lovely daughter).
  • Be tactful with shirtless photos. No mirror ab shots as your main picture (or at all), it just looks douchey. The only exception is if you’re doing something that makes sense for it, like chilling at the beach. One topless photo is the limit.
  • Keep the drinking and smoking to a minimum. There’s nothing wrong with displaying your wild side, but don’t look like an alcoholic. Again, one picture is enough to let her see that you know how to have fun.
  • Change it up. All of your pictures should not be of the same type (close-up, full-length, side-view), with the same outfits, or in the same location. It makes you seem like you put no effort in or lead a mundane lifestyle.
  • Limit the number of photos. Too many increases the odds of there being one that doesn’t look good or turns her off. On the other hand, too little don’t show enough of you. I find 3-7 to be a good range to stick to.

If you follow the steps and guidelines above, I promise you’ll have better results. Your profile content is just as important, but this is a good start. I’ve seen guys make a few changes to their photos and instantly go from never getting messaged to getting contacted multiple times a week. The hard work pays off.

Need help setting up your profile or fixing what’s already there? Have any other questions about dating? Get a free consultation.

  1. Jason on July 10, 2012

    Thanks for all the tips man. I think I may have too many sunglasses pics haha

  2. findingtokeep on November 11, 2012

    It goes both ways. If you like attractive pictures of women, don’t expect them to like unattractive pics of you.

  3. Anna on May 18, 2013

    I’m a woman on OKC, and YES!! Every man should have to read this before making his profile. I often can’t believe that anyone would put up the pictures they do. You’re trying to make a good first impression, remember? 🙂

  4. Marco on December 31, 2014

    I just cant bring myself to ask my buddy to take pictures of me out in public. Im a lost cause

    • Hugues on March 17, 2015

      I know that feel mate