Lifestyle and Living

Looking Your Best Online – Online Dating Basics

Oct 2022 | By Anne Bokma

Want to Get a Date Online? Put Your Best Face Forward with Great Photos!

60-year-old Salvina Castiglione recently went on her first date since 1986. Divorced after 24 years of marriage, she was ready to make the leap to online dating.

The first thing she did before going online? She hired a dating coach to help her write her dating profile as well as a professional photographer, so she’d have some great shots of herself to post.

This was not her first time venturing online. She had joined a dating site once before, but after striking up an online conversation with a man, he asked her for money. She was shocked, stopped all communication with him and decided to ditch online dating altogether. She figured it wasn’t for her.

But she wasn’t meeting any men in real life. She knew she wanted to be in a long-term relationship again. And she knew her best odds for meeting a guy meant going online. But this time, she decided, it was going to be different. The dating coach helped ensure she was well prepared and the professional photographer made her feel relaxed and attractive. She posed in three different outfits and it proved to be a fun experience. The proof is in her photos — she projects confidence and happiness.

Salvina joined OkCupid and Facebook Dating and within a couple of weeks, she had 50 responses from men and began going on coffee dates.

This time around, she approached things differently. “I kept in mind the advice offered during my coaching — to not let online dating take over my life and to think about meeting potential friends rather than expecting Mr. Right. The whole idea that I can be friends with someone takes off some of the pressure. I feel more calm and confident about the whole process. In some cases, I even made the first move and reached out to men.”

Salvina’s keeping an open mind about potential candidates. “Despite my prior bad experience with online dating, I realized these guys are people too. They are starting over, just like me, and some of them have been burned as well.”

Your Dating Profile is Your Personal Marketing Campaign

She credits her more positive experience this time around with having great photos and a well-written and engaging bio. “Your dating profile is like your personal marketing campaign,” she says. “People are scrolling and only taking a few seconds to look at your photo. You need to present yourself in the best light.”

“My pictures are honest. You can see I’m carrying some extra weight. But that hasn’t stood in the way.”

You Have Just Seconds to Make an Impression

We all know we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but when it comes to online dating, someone’s photo is one of the few things you must go by.

Studies show that men spend a mere 58 seconds evaluating dating profiles and 65% more time looking at photos in online bios than women do. And we are visual creatures — it’s estimated that 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual.

Want to put your best face forward with your dating profile photos?

Consider these top 10 do’s and don’ts:

Top 10 Do’s:

  1. Use a variety of photos (headshot, full body shot, in studio and outdoors).
  2. Hire a professional photographer. There’s a lot more that goes into great quality photos than you might think!
  3. Express your personality by, for example, sharing vacation photos.
  4. Remember to smile! One poll found 96% of people prefer seeing a big happy smile in a profile rather than a sexy pout.
  5. Your photos should be current, preferably within the last six months.
  6. Four to six photos is the ideal number for your dating profile.
  7. Show your full face. Avoid floppy hats and sunglasses.
  8. Check out other women’s online dating profiles to get ideas for great poses and looks.
  9. Show your face. According to Tinder, profiles that open with a full shot of your face get 27% more likes.
  10. Include photos taken outside. This can lead to 19% more messages, according to the dating platform eHarmony.

Top 10 Don’ts:

  1. Having no photo at all.
  2. Having bad quality photos.
  3. Posting photos with someone who could be an ex.
  4. Obvious use of filters to enhance photos.
  5. Using the same photo multiple times.
  6. Photos with a group of people.
  7. Photos that block out other people’s faces.
  8. Mirror pictures or gym selfies.
  9. Photos that only show someone’s face (and not their full body).
  10. Exotic animal photos/photos of an animal that may not be a pet (think snakes!).

Remember: Great photos can help kickstart conversations on dating sites, but in end it’s your personality — and potential compatibility with a prospective date — that matters most.