A geek’s guide to online dating: your profile picture.

I’ve been dabbling in online dating this year.  It’s been an *ahem* interesting experience.  I’ve met some fantastic people, and some not-so-fantastic people.  I’ve been on more first dates in this year than I have in my entire adult life.  And it’s been eye-opening.

I truly believe that online dating can be awesome.  It’s a great way to meet new people and broaden your horizons, particularly if you are shy or live in an area where the dating pool is sparsely populated (I tick both boxes).

However it’s easy to make mistakes.  I know, because I’ve made plenty.  So I thought that it might be cool to share some of my do’s and don’ts for online dating, so that you don’t make the same mistakes I have.  I’m hoping to make this into a series, and it seemed logical to kick off with a post about your profile picture.

Keep in mind that a lot of the tips here are based on my own personal opinion.  You may entirely disagree with me and that’s cool.  A lot of them are directed towards men because generally that’s who I’m looking at when I’m browsing online matches.  I do look at women too, but not as often.  So I apologise if these tips are male-centric.

Profile pictures- What not to do

  • The first one is so obvious I can’t believe I have to say it: make sure you’re in your profile picture.  I have seen profile pics that are everything from a cup of coffee, to a guitar and even a picture of Bilbo Baggins.  And I never click on those ones.  Why?  Because I have no clue about the person behind them.  People are visual creatures, and they want to see the person they will potentially be chatting with.  Even if you’re shy taking a picture of yourself, actually having your face on your profile will dramatically increase the likelihood that someone will read your profile.
  • If there is more than one person in your profile picture, make sure it’s obvious which one is you.  I see so many people who use group shots as their profile picture. Or worse- pictures of them with their exes.  I’m a busy girl, and I’m not going to take the time to try to figure out which one of the peeps in the picture is you.  You should be the star of the picture.
  • Don’t use a professional headshot as your profile picture.  I get it, you want to look as good as possible to attract a potential mate.  But a professional shot makes it look like you’re trying way too hard.  A simple selfie is fine and makes you seem more approachable.
  • Make sure that your face is clearly visible.  No blurry shots, no back-of-the-head shots and none of those weird eyes-and-forehead crops.  Show your whole face.  All of it.  I want to see who I’m talking to.
  • Don’t take your profile picture in bed.  It just reads as sleazy.  Ditto shirtless pics.
  • Don’t be holding a gun in your profile picture.  To me it’s a major turn-off for two reasons: 1. I’m really anti-hunting and 2. It makes me wonder if you’re a serial killer.

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Profile picture- Things to try

  • Inject a little personality into your profile picture.  For example, if you like to travel you could use a picture of yourself from your latest adventure.  Into animals?  Choose a pic of you with your furry friend.  Even something quirky and geeky like wearing a fandom tee shirt can really speak volumes about who you are and what you like.
  • Use a picture where you are dressed nicely, as you would for a coffee date.  That way you look presentable and approachable without being too over the top.  (If you normally wear full makeup and a cocktail dress for a coffee date, that’s also fine.  Best to be real).
  • A word about cosplay photos: I’m a cosplayer and I get psyched when I meet someone who is also into cosplay.  But I’m iffy about using a cosplay picture as my main profile pic.  The reason for this is that you don’t really look like “you”; you look like a caricature.  By all means, add some of your wicked cosplay snaps to your albums, but I’d hesitate to use one as your profile picture.
  • Don’t be pressured to smile in your profile picture.  I mean, a smile is nice but if you aren’t a typically smiley person then don’t feel like you need to paste a fake grin on your face for the picture.

I think the best advice I can give you is to choose a picture that accurately represents who you are.  That way when people are flicking through loads of profiles they will have a good idea of what you’re about and you’ll be more likely to snag the interest of a like-minded person.

 

Do you have any questions about online dating you would like me to answer?  What do you think my next post in this series should cover?

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