How To Choose A Dating App Profile Picture That’s Actually Good

by Annie Foskett

"You never get a second chance to make a great first impression," said every mom and weird Home Goods wall decoration ever. (Noted.)

On dating apps, your first impression is one lone, easily-swiped-left-on picture. Hashtag pressure. So how do you pick it?

For one, probably heed your mom's advice and don't settle on a bikini pic featuring Snapchat's dancing hot dog as your profile photo. (Unless, of course, that is your true essence.)

I figure I have about two seconds pre-swipe to show off my goods. But how can I show that I'm a nice person who brushes her teeth regularly, likes tacos more than pizza (don't @ me), and is cynical AF but also chill at yoga, in one tiny, low resolution photo? (I zoom in because my friends are hotter than me, and Catfishing is for MTV.)

The idea that the wrong photo means see ya never, future hubby is semi-stressful.

Well it's actually much simpler than you think. Here are some things to consider when choosing a profile picture for dating apps:

Don't Hide Who You Are

If you want to meet people, you quite literally have to put yourself out there, so make sure that you aren't hiding your face in your profile picture.

Tinder's in-house sociologist Dr. Jess Carbino says, "Wearing glasses in a profile picture tends to decrease users' chances of being right-swiped by 15%. Wearing a hat also decreases those same chances by 12%."

Sunglasses make us look cool and hot, but they're like masks on the windows to our soul. Your eyes can show a lot about your vibe.

I hate matching with a guy who has sunglasses on in every picture. I may not know what I look like, but if I can't see your eyes, I have no idea what you look like either. How will we find each other at the bar?

Dr. Carbino explains, "Assessing someone's face goes far beyond physical attractiveness; it allows for a user to determine whether someone is kind, compassionate, or trustworthy. An individual's eyes are particularly critical for determining their trustworthiness."

Thesis statement: Mask off. Show that beautiful, trustworthy face.

Put A Smile On Your Face

I love a nihilistic sense of humor as much as the next person, but when it comes to dating apps, it's best to turn down the grouch.

Meredith Golden, online dating coach and expert, says, “You have a nanosecond — LITERALLY — to make a positive impression. A picture showing your beautiful smile conveys happiness. Happiness attracts happiness, and this will increase your chances of a swipe right.”

So say cheese, because a mugshot is not going to attract the gentlemen of Tinder; it's going to attract the Ted Bundys.

I've met awesome dudes who ended up having senses of humor as dark as mine on the apps, and they were definitely smiling in their pictures.

When you choose a profile picture, make sure your mouth corners are up. Don't take yourself too seriously. After all, it's just a dating app named after a flammable material.

Be The Star Of The Picture

No one will hate you because you're popular, but potential matches will be annoyed by the effort required to find you a group picture. If it's easier to get into a Romphim than to find you in your first pic, chances are that he's going to swipe next you.

Golden explains, "The pic of you with 20 friends isn't necessary. He's deciding on YOU, not your social circle."

I love my friends dearly, but they are not necessarily helpful in getting me dates. Actually, they are all pretty hot and successful, so they often get in the way of me getting dates in real life. Meeting friends and getting to know each others' social circles' comes later.

Plus, if you crop the picture so that there are still some shoulders and elbows around you, it will be clear you were on that trip in Iceland with other people, not all by yourself.

Make Sure You Look Like Your Picture

I personally have no idea what I actually look like.

Sometimes, I look in the mirror and think I look great, only to later see a picture of myself from the same day where I have accidental Texas-hair and mascara on my eyebrow. I'm a cool girl.

This is narcissism at its finest, but if I see a hideous picture of myself, I spiral and take 26 selfies trying to figure out what my face actually looks like. Do I belong in a museum because I have the world's ugliest chin, or am I sometimes kind of cute?

Then I call myself out and chill the F out because life is about more than looks.

The right dude will be the right dude no matter what, but it's important to look like you in your dating app profile picture. If your first pic is a headshot with Kardashian-level contouring from that time you tried to be a model, but in reality you barely wear foundation? Probably not the most accurate representation of you.

My nightmare is showing up to a first date and having him not recognize me.

When you order french fries that look golden crispy in the Seamless picture, and then they arrive and are gray and soggy, it's disappointing. I don't know about you, but I don't want to be a disappointment from date one. (I'll save that for date four where I'm running late yet again.)

"You do you" and simply look like yourself in your profile photo for starters.

Still not sure if your pic looks like you? Ask a (very honest) friend.

When picking a profile picture, it's really simple. You're not curating the Met; you're choosing a photo of yourself.

Find a nice, representative picture where you feel like you look happy and fun. Don't worry about showing all of the nuances of your personality in one photo. Ask your roommate for help, or try a few different pictures on different apps and see what garners you the most matches.

Save the sunglasses, friends, and frowning for real life and you are good to go. Swipe away, bbs.