There’s a subtle art to crafting the perfect dating app profile. You want to present the best version of yourself, but you also want to look relatable enough that people will want to know more about you. It’s not an easy balance to strike. If you’re wondering how to choose dating app photos that aren’t overly curated, awkward, or embarrassing, you’re not alone. Should you use that selfie you took during golden hour last week? Your work company headshot? Your latest Tik-Tok dancing video?
Saskia Nelson, founder of Hey Saturday, knows a thing or two about selecting great dating app photos. Her business specializes in helping people take photos for their dating app profile that represent their truest selves. “We live in a visual world, and great visual content is the primary thing that drives engagement,” Nelson tells Elite Daily. “The main goal, when it comes to swiping, is to engage people with your dating profile. If you create it using good images, you’ll massively increase the number of visits to your profile, which in turn will lead to more quality dates. It’s a win-win.”
To help you get more matches and feel more confident, Nelson provided her best insider tips for choosing your dating app profile photos. It’s easier than you’d think — start by being yourself.
1. Keep it real.
“Great dating photos attract attention, but authentic ones keep it,” Nelson says. “It’s really critical to use photos that are representative of who you are now.” Unfortunately, catfishing is a real phenomenon many people experience on dating apps, and it’s not a good strategy for success. “Deceiving someone with your profile photos to get them out on a first date is not going to end well,” she says. “You’re just not going to get a second date, no matter how fun, smart, or cool you actually are.” Instead, choose photos that actually look like you in person.
2. Project killer confidence.
Nelson suggests presenting yourself in photos just like you’d want to look on a great first date. “This will ensure you’re looking crazy hot, but will also mean they’ll recognize you,” she explains. Blurry photos aren’t the best way to go. “Good quality images attract good quality dates,” Nelson says. Your best accessory is your self-confidence, so you should always choose photos you think you look awesome in. “Looking good starts with feeling good, so we recommend people focus on upping their self-love before stepping in front of the lens,” Nelson encourages. Before you can accept love and compliments from other people, you have to believe you deserve it!
3. Show (rather than tell) who you are.
A great dating app photo not only shows off your flawless face, but it also tells people something about who you are as a person. “Use your profile photos to create a narrative around your personality, interests, passions, and tastes,” Nelson suggests. “The more stories you can tell with your profile pictures, the more you’ll be able to show people what it’s like to be in a relationship with you.” Do you love to cook? Include some photos of you with your favorite meals. Are you a runner? Share a photo at the finish line of your latest race. Nelson notes that people typically don’t read your bio unless your photos catch their eye first, so use the visuals to your advantage here.
4. Check the background.
Even if it’s a great photo of you, a chaotic background can be distracting. “Choose a background that either adds bold color, tells people more about you, or is just so simple, its role is just to showcase you,” Nelson says. That’s not to say your dating app profile pics should look sterile and boring like your LinkedIn headshot. Nelson suggests taking photos near street art, your favorite cafe, pop-up shops, art galleries, or anywhere that will add a pop of color.
5. Avoid group shots.
You know the feeling of scrolling through someone’s Tinder profile, then not being able to tell who they are out of their group of friends? Yeah, you want to avoid that scenario if possible. “Drop whatever you’re doing and delete group shots from your profile right now,” Nelson says. “You’re making people work to find you in the shot, and you’re losing lots of people this way.” Also, by including your friends in your profile, you’re inviting comparison between you, and no one needs that stress!
6. Use selfies sparingly.
Selfies aren’t totally off-limits, but Nelson advises against them when possible. She says that if you’re truly eager to use a selfie, try to limit yourself to just one. For the other photos, use pics taken by your friends or a professional photographer.
Above all, don’t force a posed photo just because you think you need to look a certain way. “Your photos need to be natural, relaxed and happy,” Nelson says. Try to make your dating profile capture your authentic personality, whether that’s goofy, sarcastic, intellectual, or adventurous. It’s not about the number of people you attract, but the quality of those people and their compatibility with you. When you project confidence in yourself and what you have to offer, people won’t be able to resist sliding into your DMs.