Today the focus is on the ladies. Specifically, on do's and don'ts for female profile pics. I polled a few of my guy friends who are (currently or formerly) active online daters, and their responses were relatively consistent. Interestingly, they all had a lot more on their "don't" list than pics they feel like they must see.
Va va voom
All of the guys were pretty upfront about the fact that they want to find your photos attractive (shocker). We all know that men are visual creatures. You need to give them enough to pique their interest while still thinking they can take you home to mom. Men and women approach the profile pics from totally different points of view. One friend summed it up well -
Men make the mistake of posting the kind of pictures they want to see (too much skin). Women make the mistake of trying to hide their perceived weaknesses.Like the women, men really just want to know what you actually look like and not be turned off or confused by your photos.
The close up pic
The best practices for this photo are the same for both genders. This photo should be a clear, straight on, recent shot of your face where you're smiling. No sunglasses or other objects covering your face. Included in the no objects covering your face is a fake mustache. I don't really get this trend, but apparently it's super popular. Think about it ladies... this is not attractive to a man. He does not want to wake up next to someone with facial hair, and the whole point of these photos is for you to look attractive to him. Save the fake mustache pic for Facebook or Instagram. And no duck face or selfies. These two got a resounding no from all of the men I spoke with.
The body shot
This photo is a must have. It doesn't need to be head to toe as long as it is very obvious what your body type is. As women we all have a body part that we absolutely despise, but chances are, most guys would have no idea which body part that is. Most guys aren't looking for a supermodel (if they were attractive or wealthy enough to bag a supermodel, they'd likely be out doing that). They simply want to know what you are going to look like when they meet you. On the flip side, if there's a body part you want to flaunt, do that but tastefully.
The action photo
With the action shot, a good tactic is to provide a photo that has something about it that the guy can use to strike up a conversation. Let's face it, they're going to spend more time looking at your photos than reading your profile so be prepared for your photos to be more frequently mentioned in a message than what you write. Include a photo or two of you doing an activity that is one that you would like the guy to do with you. He's looking for common interests in your photo. Don't use a photo that is an activity you don't actually like or do very often. If you don't like hiking, don't include a hiking shot.
Photos to use with caution
- Party pics: If you have one of these, guys will assume you drink/party a lot. If you do, then keep the photo up, but make sure it doesn't look like your dress is about to fall off. If you're not looking for a guy who likes to party, choose another pic.
- Bikini shot: Most guys said the bikini shot is ok as long as it's tasteful and preferably an action shot like playing volleyball. I don't have a bikini shot. I'm scared to think what kind of messages I'd get, but this wasn't something that was necessarily a turn off if executed well.
- Costumes: Most female Halloween costumes are a little slutty. Or if it's "clever", he might not get the joke. In most cases, costume shots may not get you the response you're looking for so use sparingly.
- Group shots with girls: He wants to know what YOU look like, not your friends. He doesn't want to guess which one is you. And you really don't want him thinking your friend is hotter than you are and wondering how he can meet her instead.
- Group shots with guys: One guy said that if the guys look as attractive or less attractive than he is, the guy shots are ok. Most of the guys said he doesn't want to wonder who all of the guys are. In general, it seems like a good idea to leave these out.
- Cropped photos: If you have a group shot where you look really hot, be careful with cropping everyone else out. If it looks like you awkwardly cropped out your friends or your ex, he's going to wonder why you don't have a better photo.
- Pets: Don't be the sad, crazy cat lady.
- Trying to hard: No photos where it looks like you're trying super hard to be sexy. Guys can smell desperation through their computer screens.
OKCupid also has an interesting feature on the page where you upload your photos called My Best Face. It basically does A/B testing on your photos and tells you which one is best. My action shot, in which I'm wearing sunglasses but you can see what my body looks like, is my best according to this tool. But take it with a grain of salt. The sample size used for the test isn't that big. The photo of mine that was rated lowest has also been the topic of the most interesting messages I've received.
Just like for guys, a good rule of thumb is to let a friend check out your photos. Preferably a guy. They don't usually hide reactions well so you'll know what he thinks.
Mustaches and a group shot - no and no