Let’s be honest. If you are actively dating, you are using an online dating app of some sort. You may still pretend that you aren’t if someone asks you directly, but you are. Everyone is using an app or an online dating website to find partners. And there is a ton of different websites to choose from. Tinder is by far the most popular, but RSVP, Bumble, eHarmony, and many others are there to cater for different types of people, different personalities, and different types of relationships.

The profiles that people write on these websites changed a lot over the years. A few years ago most would put a lot of effort into the text of their online dating profile. Many used a copywriter to create a great profile that would attract the most potential partners. I think these days are behind us. Sure, eHarmony of EliteSingles would still emphasize the description of each person, but if you look at Tinder, the most popular app, you will struggle to find a profile that is longer than a paragraph. Often just a sentence or two. Pictures, as they say, tell a thousand words, and it is nowhere more true than on Tinder.

I watched a girl scan their Tinder feed for potential partners, and she spent maybe half a second on a picture they see. Probably even less. I watched her finger swipe left maybe 30 times in a couple of minutes, and not once has she actually read the profile itself. There were actually a couple of pictures she paused for a couple of seconds and proceeded to check other pictures in the profile.

She was clearly not that interested in the wonderful personality of the person she checked, or their likes or dislikes. She liked the photo and that was enough. She said everything else can be worked out later, or on the actual date. Face to face. She said, she wants to find out who the man is, and not who he thinks he is. So the profile is just his own view of himself, and that is always skewed by his own perception of himself.

So, the moral of the story is, if you want a potential partner to pause for a second while scanning dozens of profiles, you need a kick-ass profile photo. What it means is that a selfie against a dirty bathroom mirror would probably not be good enough. You can also put in the same category all the awkwardly posed snapshots, blurry images, and group photos where the viewer has to guess which one of the drunken people is actually you.

I asked Jay, who runs his online dating photography studio in Sydney, what makes a great tinder photo. He says, that the rules are actually very simple. Women want to look beautiful in their pictures and men want to look cool. That’s it, just 1 rule, and it’s pretty much universal. He shot online dating photos on 3 continents and this rule applies here in Australia as well as in Europe and Asia.

If you are naturally cool and beautiful, then a selfie may well be enough. Unfortunately, 99% of us belong to the other category and a little bit of guidance would help a lot. That is when a professional photo session will do the trick. A professional photographer will not make you look like Brad Pitt, but they may help you look your very best. And that is the ultimate goal in getting a good dating photo.

Jay says that even a very small adjustment in the posture can make a huge difference in the final image. The way we stand makes a difference, where we put our hands, where we look, what clothes we wear. All these points add to the final image and a good photographer will help you get that cool look.

Another thing is facial expressions. A little bit of guidance will transform a typical image into a great portrait that you will be happy to post online. Actually, a lot of people now get a portrait session, not just for an online dating profile, but for Facebook and LinkedIn. There is also a group of people who like slightly more risque images, whether for themselves or even for certain dating apps. Check the popularity of boudoir photography. You can use your photos for anything, not just dating. Instagram is another place you can use a few cool shots of yourself.

A portrait shoot is not a huge investment. It may be, however, the best money you spend on your dating profile. To get someone to pause on your picture and maybe even read about your wonderful personality in your profile is worth a little bit of money. If you want to see a few great tinder portraits, you can check his work on Pinterest.

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