The Importance of Professional Photos for Your Dating Profile

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By The Light Committee

Dating apps, or online dating, is here to stay for the foreseeable future. Not even COVID-19 was able to stop the success of these apps. But with increased usage by more people trying to find love or a fling comes increased competition for attention. And now it turns out the photos you use for your dating profile are especially important. It means you may want to consider getting a professional lifestyle photo shoot done.

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It is estimated three out of 10 adults in the U.S. alone have at some point used a dating app or online dating service. So, a lot of people are relying on these services for anything from a hookup to meeting a spouse. In fact, by at least one study, dating apps are now the most common way to meet a spouse.

It is no secret that people looking via apps or online for someone to date desire quality and the photos people use are one measure here you are evaluated. In other words, use poor quality photos and be prepared to be judged by them. Now, there is proof to this too.

The Swipe Right Report

Skylum recently published its Swipe Right report about how the photography used in dating profiles impacts the experience in dating profiles. There were many findings that might be of interest to dating app users.

The first finding is not surprising, in that nearly 60 percent of users would never connect with another user that did not have a photo. But 25 percent of users believe using a good photo means you care more about dating. Furthermore, nearly 40 percent said the better the photos, the more likely they are to swipe right.

Many users would even consider overlooking what they might feel is a flaw in another person if at least good photos were used. For example, roughly a quarter of people surveyed would overlook someone’s drinking or smoking, their education level, their relationship goals, their political views, or their height.

The report listed the top 10 most common photo deal breakers. They are:

  1. 55 percent having no photo at all
  2. 34 percent having bad quality photos
  3. 33 percent are against photos with someone that could be an ex
  4. 31 percent for those that use filters, such as those used on Instagram, Facebook, etc.
  5. 31 percent dislike using the same photo multiple times
  6. 29 percent would not want to see you using a photo with a group of people
  7. 26 percent for photos used that block out other people’s faces
  8. 23 percent dislike mirror pictures or gym selfies
  9. 20 percent do not want to see a photo of only your face
  10. 19 percent dislike exotic animal photos or photos of an animal that might not be a pet
An example of a photo of a woman to use on a dating profile app
Consider a Variety of Photos to Use for Dating Profiles, from Headshots to Full Body Shots and In Studio and Outdoors

Better Quality Photos for Dating

More than three in 10 of those surveyed believe people should make an effort to use better quality photos. And four out of 10 stated they would prefer to be able to edit photos to post for dating.

There are many psychological reasons why a photo matters. It is estimated 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual. We are visual learners. So, the importance of using good quality headshots and lifestyle photos for dating profiles should be of no surprise.

A good quality photo can convey a lot of information about a person in a very short amount of time and make it far more memorable than words can too. At the same time, it can leave a lasting impression on a person long after they have closed the app. The opposite is also true in that using a poor photo will leave a long-lasting negative impression.

Professional Headshots for Dating Profiles

Popular advice is to start with a classic professional headshot. There are many reasons to use a professional photographer for this shot alone. A lot more goes into making a really good headshot than most people think.

Smartphone cameras are built primarily for wide angles. This tends to distort people’s faces. Furthermore, it is a smartphone – a non-specialized device. Despite the big marketing pushes to tout smartphone camera capabilities, they are not called “smartcameras” for a reason. These devices provide inferior quality photos when the quality of the photos matter. They are fine for quick snapshots but not when something is on the line. In a headshot, they are used to directly or indirectly encourage someone to engage with the person. On LinkedIn, it can be for career moves. With dating apps, it is for your social or love life. So, a good headshot – not a smartphone shot – is important.

When you work with a professional photographer for dating profile photos, they will use a full frame or medium format sensor-based camera. In other words, a camera costing thousands of dollars. They will likely pair this with a lens also costing a thousand or more dollars. If they have a commercial studio, this will likely further be paired with studio lighting costing thousands more dollars. The quality will be easily evident.

Lifestyle Photos for Dating Apps

The second most important photo will be to have a full body shot. People want to see your physique and full-body shots are also an opportunity to express your style. Next is a lifestyle photo. If you can capture one of these, it is a way to express an activity important to you. So, if you cycle, perhaps a shot with you and your bike. If you like cars, then a shot with your clean car. If you like golf, shopping, travel, etc. – shots expressing your favorite activities can draw people with similar interests.

You will likely want a fourth shot, and this can even be a second headshot or full body shot. It might also be a half body shot. But it is an opportunity to offer up another unique photo of yourself. As for more lifestyle photos, more is better. They do not have to be about an activity to express something. If you are a city person, shots of you with a cityscape can go a long way. Likewise, if you are an outdoors person, shots with greenery can do the same.

Here is a quick dating profile photo shot list you can cut and paste to take with you to your session:

  1. For your main headshot, wear business attire
  2. For your full body shot, wear your favorite outfit (favorite to go out in)
  3. For your second headshot outdoors, wear what you would on a first date
  4. For your lifestyle shot, consider a prop using your favorite hobby or thing to do
  5. Wear colors that tell your story, like red for love / passion, purple for luxury, orange for dynamic or fun

The Headshot Session

If you are going to find a photographer to work with, doing studio shots is probably ideal for the headshot. The reason is you are likely going to want to change outfits a few times. Doing so while outdoors can be tricky. So, first consider a studio session.

Planned correctly, you can do a mix of studio and natural light shots, if desired. For example, go to the studio to get your headshot and perhaps a half body shot. Then you can change at the studio one final time to head outdoors for your lifestyle, full body, or extra shots. Using a variety of wardrobe options helps ensure your profile is not stale. It also gives users more insight into your style.

So, the photos you use on your dating profile are important, especially in a highly populated city like Los Angeles. It turns out so is the level of quality for those photos. Thus, if you are serious about having success with your dating app or online dating profile, start by investing in good photos as the foundation for your success. The proof is now evident that it will matter.