10 Tricks To Choose The Right Profile Pictures For Your Dating Profiles

Online Dating | | , Culture & Relationships Writer
Updated On: March 18, 2024
dating profile pictures

Whether you’re looking for a long-term connection or a hookup, the right dating profile pictures can make or break the deal. Dating apps are not a stigma anymore. More than half of American adults consider online dating a safe option to meet people. But, dating apps are unlike other social media. Tinder or Bumble rarely provide a macro view of someone’s life. You only get one chance to attract someone and that’s certainly not enough to lay bare all the various aspects of one’s personality. 

One also has to compete with the fact that you only have seconds before anyone can swipe left. You not only have to make a mark with a few photos but also appear distinct and stand out amongst all the profiles. Especially when others are likely to be using the same template for dating profile pictures. Dating apps are full of stereotypical profiles that look more like mood boards instead of real-life moments. You have to be more than just a face in this crowd to get the right match.

What Pictures To Put On Dating Profile?

Take a second to remember the dormitory scene in The Social Network. Turns out Tinder is not that different from it. In fact, many dating apps use a variation of the Elo score. An algorithm commonly used to rank chess players, Elo score calculates your desirability the same way. ‘How to get dates on Tinder?‘, this question is usually answered by how desirable you appear. Your desirability on Tinder is measured not just by how many right swipes you get on your pictures for dating profile, but also by how many right swipes your swiper had. People are accordingly classified into groups of desirability. When you have a higher score, your profile is likely to be shown to people with the same level of desirability and vice-versa.

This completely shatters the common perception that you have to post dating profile pictures in which you’re looking sexy, hot, or any of the other traditional parameters to judge one’s attractiveness. Instead, you have to ensure you’re giving out the right message through those pictures. The lesser left swipes you get for the wrong reasons, the more your chances are to connect with the right people. So, any pictures you add must convey your personality in a flattering way.

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Which Photos To Avoid As Dating Profile Picture?

If the Elo score sounds too technical, then let’s simplify it a bit. You have to avoid getting left-swiped on Tinder or other alternatives to Tinder. And a majority of left-swipes, even on good-looking people, happen because their dating profile pictures do not convey anything about that person. Hence, you have to ensure that you avoid any pictures that either do not give any message or, worse, that give a wrong message. At the same time, you’ve to avoid falling into one of the cliches.

Tips To Choose The Right Profile Pictures For Your Dating Profiles

A great rule of thumb is to get your profile checked by someone else who knows you and yet is objective enough to tell you when a picture doesn’t work. It has been proved by research that people are more likely to choose a more flattering picture for someone else rather than for themselves. To get the right profile, you need to add dating profile pictures that pass the criteria of attractiveness, trustworthiness, and savviness. And, you can use the following dating profile picture tips to crack these criteria:

1. How to take dating profile pictures

People usually select dating profile photos from the photos they have in their phone’s album. Go a step further and try to shoot a picture just for the dating app. Avoid taking selfies as research has confirmed that selfies did not generate the same level of attraction in other people as participants believed they would. Have a friend click some photographs purely for the dating apps. Focus on the body language, aesthetics, and the overall vibe of the picture. Avoid harsh lights. Sunrises and sunsets are a photographer’s best friends. Try to work on the picture rather than fixing any flaws using filters. If you understand camera talk, go for 800*800 pixels or more.

2. Body language

You need to convey the right body language through your pictures as this is the only chance you have to impress a potential match. Use expansive postures. Research has proved that dating profile pics of subjects with outstretched limbs project a non-verbal dominance. This improves a person’s chance of getting matched. Squinch your eyes to appear confident. Avoid slouching or hunching. Pose with a genuine smile in at least half of your dating profile pictures to suggest an open nature. Avoid hiding eyes and definitely use a full-body shot. Use pictures that show your best features in various settings.

3. Project your personality

You may get a match for appearing as someone you are not, but it won’t amount to anything. Worst case scenario, your profile will project the word ‘fake’. Lack of dates or unsuccessful dates could also lead to dating fatigue. Use pictures with your pets, or any other hobbies you have. But not more than one. Use candid dating profile pictures instead of posed ones if you want to project the fitness freak, wanderlust, or bohemian vibe. Avoid using any pictures older than two years. Always use more than two well-lit pictures to avoid getting confused with a bot-operated profile. Use 4-6 pictures, not all of which should convey the same thing. Best online dating profile picture examples will always contain a variety.

4. Take care of aesthetics

Use dating profile pictures that focus on you. Try wearing bright colors against a neutral non-clashing background. If you must use a picture with a clash of colors, using a black and white filter can immediately improve it. A photograph with a well-dressed subject can be ruined with an unsavory detail in the background like a hook with hanging bras or a lone sock on the floor. Women often ponder over a guy’s attention to detail while wondering how to choose between two guys. Anything that is present in your picture, even a tiny frayed corner of a rug will be up for scrutiny the moment you post it, so always be conscious of the background.

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5. Avoid cliche dating app profile pictures

Every couple does cliched things in love, but cliches rarely work on dating apps. Everyone on dating apps is familiar with the gym freak showing off their abs, or the travel influencer showing off the mountains behind them. Try to avoid falling into a cliche. If your profile is projecting exactly the same vibe as a hundred other profiles, you’re not going to have a lot of success. If you must add dating profile pictures like these, you should balance them out with other pictures communicating a different vibe. So, for every abs picture, try a picture in the open space showing a different, softer side of yourself.

6. Not social media

Dating apps like Tinder or Bumble are not like Instagram or Twitter. Dating apps have a very specific purpose and that is to get you dates. If you post random pictures of your cat, your high-school prom photo, or a seminar that you attended, you are not fulfilling that purpose. Leave any photos that do not feature you or do not project your personality, for other social media. In short, leave out photos without you, or with celebrities, or with fancy cars. And, definitely avoid pictures that show your personal data while adding dating profile pictures. The internet is full of creeps.

7. Avoid photos that don’t speak

Avoid photos that don’t say anything about you, like a random photo in the middle of a road, or one that shows only half of your face. It’s good to be socially responsible in the post-Covid world, but let go of those masks for your dating profile apps photos. If you are a photographer, avoid adding your portfolio shots to your dating profile pictures. You’re not looking for clients here. Artsy photos are good but they reveal nothing about your personality to anyone. Instead, people may come to believe that you have plagiarised these photos from the net. That could let a potential date to believe that you are not really trustworthy.

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8. Avoid subjective photos

Heard of something called the imbibing idiot effect? Research suggests that people, generally, do not take a great liking to pictures that show you drinking. The same extends to pictures where you engage in illegal or controversial activities. Even controversy is very subjective. People who have not heard of the Grindadrap festival are going to be disgusted or repulsed if you post pictures holding whale carcasses even if it’s a normal practice in your culture. A general rule of thumb is to avoid any display of arms, dead animals, substance abuse, and organized protests in your dating profile pictures.

Stories about online dating

9. Right vibe

Whether you are trying to project a formal image with pictures in suits, or a casual one with you in shorts, it is important to have a thread tying the entire profile together. The bio you are using has to fit with the pictures. Something funny and offhand won’t work with a formal vibe and vice-versa. At the same time, you are likely to have better success if you mix things well. Mix dating profile pictures from travel, work and you indulging in your hobbies. Maybe even add a group photo with less attractive friends to harvest the ugly friend effect. Research suggests that someone with average looks may appear more attractive in a group of less-attractive people.

10. Tell your story

Every picture tells a story. Depending on whether you want a genuine connection or are trying to get a hookup on Tinder, you need to make sure you are telling that story through your pictures. Dating profile pics that convey a homely vibe are likely to get you someone who wants a long-term relationship, while funny casual ones would attract someone looking for strictly short-term. Use dating profile pictures that will initiate a conversation, like a photo at the marathon or of you icing a cake. The point is to tell others what you’re like and what you want in a potential date.

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Best Online Dating Profile Pictures Examples

If you want to make an effective online dating profile, use your best features to your full advantage. Get to know which is your good side and use that for any side profile shots. Use side profiles if they show your bone structure and jawline in a flattering way. Side profile shots add depth as well as an element of mystery to the picture. So, if you have a good jawline, use that.

best online dating profile pictures examples
image source: Tinder

Use a mixed bag when choosing photos for your profile. Add pictures from vacation, work, or of you doing something adventurous. Add group photos but avoid more than one. Definitely avoid something with your family if you do not want to give out a homely vibe.

how to take dating profile pictures
image source: Reddit

Pets affect your dating life, so it’s better to disclose if you have pets. Photos with pets can be a great addition to a Tinder profile. Ensure that your pet doesn’t look forced or uncomfortable. Try to convey the connection you have with your pet in the picture. Do not try this photo if you’re borrowing someone else’s pets. It rarely looks genuine.

pictures for dating profile
image source: Tinder

How to take dating profile pictures? This can be tricky. Especially, because the algorithm makes very little use of your insights and uses a zero-sum game equation to find you the right person. In such a scenario, one must always try to minimize the left-swipes made due to bad or low-quality dating profile pictures. Using the right profile pictures can project the right message and propel your profile in the right direction organically


1. What are good photos for Tinder?

Ideal photos for Tinder should focus on you and show your best features. Any photos that show you in clear light, with little disturbance in the background are best for Tinder. Try wearing colors that pop and thus contrast with the background. Dating profile picture tips will always suggest having a friend check your dating profile pictures before posting anything on Tinder. They’re more likely to choose better pictures than you are.

2. What profile pictures do guys like?

Contrary to popular opinion, not all guys are attracted by photos with ample cleavage. Choose those pictures for dating profiles that are flattering to you. Focus on grooming yourself for the pictures rather than using filters afterward. Avoid group photos or photos with the opposite sex. Pose with confidence and assurance. This is conveyed by all online dating profile examples to attract men.

3. How many pictures should you have on your dating profile?

You must always have more than two dating app profile pictures. Generally, spamming bots use 1-2 photos and as a result, you could be confused for a bot. It would be great if you can use all the available slots for pictures, but do not fill all these slots just for the sake of it. 4-6 great photos look better than 9 average photos.

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