Online Dating Photograph Advice in Focus


February 18, 2016 by kittynh

I could write thousands of words on what men do wrong on dating sites. However this isn’t going to be about messages (don’t lead with sex) or written profiles (don’t leave them blank) but about photos.

So here are my DOs and DON’Ts of dating site photos. These absolutely go for women as much as men but in my experience men tend to make more mistakes in this area than women. You don’t have to look like Chris Hemsworth, none of this is about looking like a movie star or model, look like yourself but do make a good first impression.

DO smile. You don’t need to be giving your biggest tootheist grin but do choose photos that make you look friendly and happy.


sure look great, but how about a smile?

DON’T pose with a gun, other weapon, or look angry. The last thing you want to make a potential partner think about is violence.

DO use a photo of yourself with your pets if you have them.There’s nothing sweeter than someone bonding with their dog or cat. Plus they’re cute and getting an immediate “awww!” out of a potential match is a good thing to do.


Dog is GOOD, gun is bad, hobby is questionable


DON’T use a photo of yourself with your minor children (or grandkids, or nieces or nephews). Grown kids are fine if they agree to you using the photo. This is just a safety thing, dating sites are not appropriate places for photos of children. Absolutely mention your kids in your profile but leave the photos for Facebook.

Women Posing with Guns (8)

Two mistakes, guns and minor children. Bad photo.

DO use photos of you engaging in your hobbies (unless they violate the no weapons thing). Use actual hobbies. Not a photo of the one time a friend convinced you to go skiing and you ended up in the lodge with a sprained ankle after 10 minutes on the slope.


don’t pose with a tennis racquet unless you actually play

DO NOT use photos of you posing shirtless at the gym, or in front of your bathroom mirror, or posing shirtless in general (the one exception is a photo of you having fun at the beach, but again not posing to make your abs look good).

1950s Men39s Swimwear Vintage Fashion Mens 1950s 195039sh 1950s Mens Beach Fashionl Wonderful 1950s Mens Beach Fashionf

Just be natural. Don’t be a show off.

DO use clear, in focus, well lit photos. If you don’t have a good selfie game that’s okay. Find a friend who takes decent photos and have them take some for you. A few quick tips on a good photo: Take a photo in natural light or a well lit room and be clean, comb your hair, wear a shirt that isn’t torn or stained. You don’t need to dress up fancy just look like you didn’t just roll out of bed.

DON’T use blurry, poorly lit photos where you look terrible. So dirty bathroom mirrors are out (and never use flash in a mirror) use the front facing camera or get a friend to help.

Don’t stand in front of the light source like a brightly lit doorway or the sun, this will backlight you making your face difficult to see.


Also, this is TOO CASUAL. Nice look but do you really wear a hat like that all day? Any potential date with a cat, will just skip this photograph.  

DO use a closeup as your primary picture. Potential matches want to see your face.

DON’T use a long shot as your primary photo. You can have these on your profile but we want to see your face first and definitely never only have photos of you from a distance.


The correct photograph will say more than words

Thank you to Noadi, an artist friend, for writing this insightful and much needed guide for those all important internet dating photographs.  The point is, show the real you.  Be yourself! You can find Noadi’s wonderful work at her Etsy shop.


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