How You Can Take a Better Dating Profile Picture

In the age of online dating, a photo says a thousand words and evidently enables singles to quickly and efficiently review a huge pool of potential mates.

Photos can uncover so much about a person beyond just the looks department. Photos tell a story, reveal hobbies, interests, pets and give an inside glimpse into what a person is all about. Before diving into the waters of online dating, I have a few tips that I think will help you select those winning pictures for your very own profile.

The DO’s 

Adventure: Take photos while you’re out and about on an adventure (road-trips, funky joints, colorful backdrops). If you’re travelling with friends, give them your phone to capture candid moments to avoid a million selfies.

Hobbies: Use photos illustrating hobbies and passions: if you surf, play soccer, enjoy painting, be sure to include a photo of you enjoying what it is you love to do every week.

Variety: Show a variety of looks in your photos: a profile with the same expression over  and over won’t give anyone the chance to see more than one side of you. Try to add as much variety into your images as possible – one dressed up for an event, the everyday look, and the outdoorsy look (if that’s your thing). Also, provide a mix of photos that show your whole body and facial features.

Fun: Smile, laugh and be silly – the key here is to show you don’t take yourself too seriously.

Photographer: Hire a photographer, one that specializes in online dating or candid photos, not portraits or modeling photos.

The Don’ts 

Photoshop: I highly advise against photoshopping your photos (skin softening, blemish removal, eye size correction or slimming effects). Usually, it’s quite obvious when a photo has been manipulated which can quickly turn off your potential match; because, at the end of the day, they want to see the real you.

Landscape: Including photos in your profile without you in them (i.e. a view, landscape, just your dog) is a big no no and such a waste of a photo. If you want to include these in your photos, that’s great, but make sure you’re in them.

The Same Old: Repetitive photos that either reveal only one side of your face or only top part of your body.

Head shots: Modeling photos, portraits, Linkedin head shots, boudoir and glamour photos may be a little overboard for your dating profile. Save the boudoir for when you’re in a relationship!

Snapchat Filters: Photos of you being a bunny, a dog, a kitten etc, are highly filtered and aren’t necessarily as cute as you may think. These photos are fun to share within the snapchat app so its best to just keep them there.

Group shots: I’m thrilled you have friends, but it’s going to take me awhile to figure out who you are in the photo. Photos that are not labeled or ones where identity cannot be determined easily, aren’t getting you anywhere.

The Old Photo: Photos that are over 5 + years old and portray a radically different look than your current appearance are not an accurate representation of yourself. If your hair is now red but in your profile it’s black, you may want to update your picture.

Don’t have the money or cannot find an online dating photographer? No problem! There are plenty of solutions and alternatives. Take photos while out with friends, ask strangers to take photos of you while traveling or out at a scenic or interesting location.

Candid photos reveal the most attractive qualities in everyone –  the ability to be silly and make fun of yourself is endearing. In an age where everyone is overly focused on creating the perfect ubiquitous profile, letting your guard down, and showing your quirks can go a long way.

Send Messages That ACTUALLY Get Replies

Are you attempting to strike up a conversation with someone on PlentyOfFish right now? Writing that very first message is exciting, nerve racking and straight up difficult sometimes. You try to be witty, insightful and original in your messaging to stand out among all the other messages in her/his inbox.

Online Dating Tips for the Introvert

Picture this: you’ve spent the night out with your girls, getting turnt at the hottest club in town. As you file out into the street, walking gingerly in your heels, you blow kisses goodbye and hop into a cab… just as someone else climbs in through the other door! It’s awkward for a moment, but you agree to share the ride, and tell stories of your epic night along the way. By the time the ride is over, you’ve swapped phone numbers (maybe even a kiss), and the world is aglow with the potential of a new romance…

Sounds exhausting, right?

If you’re an introvert, a meet-cute like this is just not for you. In fact, you’d probably rather find someone online, sharing long, soul-spilling emails with potential partners like Meg Ryan in You’ve Got Mail. And guess what? That’s okay! In fact, it’s practically the norm: it is believed that one-third of modern marriages got their start on the Web. Online dating is a phenomenon, and for many introverts who are tired (or afraid) of the traditional dating scene, the Internet can be the perfect solution.

But with so many people looking for love online, how will you know who’s right for you? For all it’s good qualities, the Internet can feel scary. But by following just a few tips, you’ll be able to suss out your soulmate from the World Wide Web.

Get Personal With Your Profile

With online dating, even more so than in the world, you have to “put yourself out there.” In a real-world setting, prospective partners can learn about you from your body language, facial expressions, and behavior; here, there is only your profile. So make sure the profile screams “you!”

And we mean the REAL you. Everyone likes “spending time with friends,” “watching the sunset,” and “cuddling by the fire.” Be specific about your interests, and don’t hold anything back. Are you an avid hiker who spends your mornings meditating on mountaintops? Write it down. Do you spend your Saturdays writing fan-fiction about the best friend adventures of Gandalf, Magneto, and Dumbledore? Put it in the profile. Do you breed madagascar hissing roaches? Let the world know!

According to Christie Hartman, Ph.D., many people stick to the basics when building their online profile. They are afraid of “sounding too different or too odd, not realizing that it actually backfires.” But the people you’re looking to connect with are the people who share your interests (or at least think they are interesting). So let your true colors show!

Check For Personality Clues

You want the people you meet online to share your interests. But you also want to make they have what you’re looking for. Pay attention to clues in their profile that reveal the man (or woman) behind the screen.

Do you want a fellow introvert you can cuddle with quietly? Look for someone whose interests line up with the quiet life – reading, movies, etc. Do you want an extrovert to bring you into his active social life? Look for a profile filled with pictures from parties. These little clues will point you towards the person you want to be with!

Try A Specific Site

Remember all those interests we talked about before? The things that make you the unique and amazing person you are? Well, for those of us searching for some who truly understands our likes and dislikes, niche dating sites exist! Whether you are a cat lover or a Dr. Who fanatic, there is a site for you! Many introverts have tremendous passion when it comes to their hobbies, so sites like these can be a good way to meet someone with whom you’ll feel a connection. And besides, even if you don’t find a soulmate, you might end up with a whole bunch of new friends!

Go On A Date!

Yes, yes, this one may seem obvious, but it’s important! After all the time you spent building a profile, searching for matches, and getting past the (horribly awkward) initial small talk via text and email, you deserve a date. Get out of your comfort zone, get face-to-face with your online match, and have fun! Who knows, maybe you’ll be in the lucky one-third of folks who found their soulmate on the screen.

5 Winning Rules – Online Messaging Etiquette

First impressions are everything. In the realm of online dating, these words still hold true. With this in mind, what is your first interaction with that potential lover? Your message, right? Which is why you need to be diligent when it comes to messaging. You want to have an engaging conversation with this person which will eventually lead to a date.

Oftentimes, people struggle with this stage and it isn’t necessarily because they have the social skills of a turnip; it’s because the online dating interaction is much different from the face-to-face interaction. Your messages are not always understood by the recipient as you intended them and as such, rules are needed. I have comprised 5 winning rules for online messaging etiquette:

Rule 1

Give to your conversation what you would your future relationship.

In other words, don’t skimp on your messaging effort. The man or woman you are conversing with might just be your soulmate. Avoid responding to them or greeting them with a simple “Hi”. These interactions will cause the conversation to fall flat, fast. While these greetings are appropriate in a face-to-face interaction, online dating is much different and we need to use conversationally rich messages.

Rule 2

Questions are your best friend, use them often.

Direct questions are always going to be the bread and butter of online dating conversation. Try to avoid “dry” questions like, “How are you?” These won’t get the responses you are looking for. Include questions that are geared toward their profile. Consider reading through their profile and asking questions that would naturally come up. “It says you like traveling, which are your favorite places to travel?” Feel free to include your favorite places to travel with this question. Someone who is passionate about this will give you more than enough to talk about.

Rule 3

Don’t overwhelm yourself with too many conversations at once.

It can be tempting to try to interact with as many people as possible to get the quickest result. The problem with this is that you won’t give your best effort. Try to limit your potential interests to a few. This way you can focus better on conversation topics.

Rule 4

Give your best effort for a timely response.

Time can evade us all. If communicating with someone online, try to make your best effort to reply promptly if interested. I highly suggest you respond within 24 hours.

Rule 5

Show enthusiasm with punctuation.

“That’s exciting! I love The Walking Dead too!” Isn’t that much better to read than, “I like that show too.”? Feel free to go wild with your enthusiasm. It shows the other person you are engaged with the conversation. This enthusiasm can also be flattering.

What To Do When Your Online Conversation Comes To A Halt

So, you finally find someone online with an exciting profile. You’ve messaged them a friendly “hello” and they’ve responded. Nice!

Well, not so much. You message them back and the only thing you get in return is the sound of crickets chirping. What’s a smart, sexy single to do?

First and foremost, take a deep breath and remember that this person isn’t yet a part of your ‘everyday’  life. So if this online pen pal doesn’t lead to a relationship, it’s not a big deal. There are plenty of other people available online.

Second, if you really think there may be a connection and you suspect that your potential special someone may be wondering what to write back to you, then there is something you can do: send a follow up message with a question that expands the conversation and makes it easy for them to engage with you.

Let me give you an example.

Perhaps in your initial message you gave a friendly hello and asked a light and breezy question about something in their profile — like, “You went camping in the Grand Canyon? I love it there! What were your favorite hiking trails?” They respond to your question, to which you say, “I LOVE that trail, it is so beautiful!” And then… silence (chirp, chirp!).

At this point, you could either wait for their response, which you may never get, or you can message them again and ask another light and breezy question: “Where else have you hiked?”

The beauty of online dating is that people usually list their favorite topics in their profiles. So if the Grand Canyon conversation is a dud, you can refer back to their profile and ask another question about something else they’re passionate about. Perhaps they’re also addicted to “Game of Thrones.” Hopefully your additional message will re-engage them. If everything goes really well, you’ll soon talk on the phone, meet in person and perhaps go on from there to an amazing relationship.

But if you send that additional message and they don’t respond, just move on. There’s no shortage of singles online and there’s no need to exert too much energy on someone who isn’t giving you the energy and attention you deserve in return.

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Online dating can be a lot of fun if you choose to invest your time only on the people who are available and quickly forget the ones who aren’t.

I hope you find what you’re looking for online and please let me know how you’re doing on my facebook or twitterFor more dating tips please check out my book, “Flirt For Fun & Meet THE ONE,” and cheers to your dating success!