How to Choose the Right Profile Picture for Your Dating Profile

How to Choose the Right Profile Picture for Your Dating Profile

A profile that doesn’t come with a solid and clear picture is likely doomed to fail in the world of online dating. That may sound harsh and unforgiving, but stone-cold reality usually is. We live in a world today where virtually everyone can call themselves an amateur photographer thanks to that little rectangular device in your pocket. Just about every phone out there now comes with an awesome HD camera.

So, let’s say you’ve always been quite keen on selfies and getting your photo taken, so you’ve now got stored within your phone a very impressive library of potential snaps that could be used on your online dating profile. The question is, which one should you use? How can you pick that one perfect main profile picture out of so many different candidates?

Below are some tips we’ve prepared on helping you choose the best one:

The Perfect Profile Picture for a Dating Profile Is…


You Alone

First things first, your picture should only feature you, and no one else. You might think you look great in a picture of you and your ex, but why would you use that as a dating profile picture? It screams “red flag, red flag” to others who are looking at your profile picture. Even if you try to block another person out in the photo, there’s usually enough visual context to still make it a real problem.

If you have a dog or a cat, their presence in the photo could be acceptable. Showing whether you’re a dog or a cat person can be useful in making a good match. But do ensure that you’re the only human. Even worse, you don’t want people confusing you with the other person in the photo!

Clear and Recent

Another thing that perhaps goes without saying is that your photo needs to be plenty clear. Set your resolution/quality settings fairly high, but you don’t have to go the highest if you’re afraid that super-HD will just highlight all of your imperfections. The photo needs to be clear in resolution, and show you clearly, and hopefully in full (see next point).

You should also avoid the temptation to use photos that are more than a year old, even if there are some in which you just know that you look so much better. It could be a time when you were thinner, fitter, or had better (or more) hair…but that’s the past. You need a photo from the present. Ideally, it could be one that you took with a dating profile in mind.


While a decent headshot is acceptable, it sometimes leaves too much to the imagination when it comes to connecting with people in online dating. When you’re looking for a love match, it’s better to give people a sense of your full height, size, and appearance. It better helps others to imagine themselves being with you. If you’re just a headshot, then they get the benefit of your face, but the rest is perhaps too mysterious to bother.

So, try to put in a full-length photo of yourself if you can. The more of you we can see, the better (although, do stay clothed — more below).

Natural and Undoctored

So many ways of filtering and altering your photos are available nowadays. It’s all too easy to take a problematic photo and turn into something more resembling a glamor shot. No matter how strong the temptation is, do everything you can to resist this. All filters tend to do is build up a possible reality and hope in people’s mind, which is then dashed upon meeting in person. You might even go as far as to say that using photoshop and filters is actually a form of dishonesty in your profile, and your dating profile needs to be honest.


Men and women both seem to enjoy showing a lot of skin in their dating profile pics. Men are often seen flexing in the mirror with their shirts off, and women seen perhaps tanning at the beach in a two-piece. These kinds of pictures have their uses, but they should never be your choice as a main profile picture.

Let your main picture be one of you fully clothed as you might be on any ordinary day. Face facts! That’s the real you in that more ordinary clothed picture, isn’t it? Save the “hot” pictures for when it’s time to spice things up a bit. When you’re looking for something real, you need a real photo to start things off.

Showing You Smiling and Happy

Some might argue that looking into the distance with a deep and thoughtful expression is the best way to look in a profile picture, but we say differently. A smile is what really entices people. A smile that can make others smile is a powerful thing. So many of the people posting sincere-looking photos of themselves look just like that — a person trying to look sincere. It’s all perceived as part of the “fakery” of online profile making.

A photo in which you’re smiling, and preferably smiling while not posing for a photo, will always be the best choice. It could be a picture or you smiling after winning a game you like to play, or while hanging out with friends in a social setting. It could be an off-guard moment in which you’re just smiling for the sake of it. These are always the most electric and attractive faces that draw people into a dating profile.

Easy to See at Any Size

Your photo should be easy and clear to see and admire whether it’s as a profile image or thumbnail, or whether you click on it and enlarge. Profile pictures with distant and nearly invisible subjects tend to get ignored. Your features should be prominent enough that people want to see it closer up!


One more thing: don’t give in to one further temptation, which is to change and update the profile picture every other day or every week. If you create inconsistency in your profile, it just makes you harder to notice for people who are regularly looking through, especially for online dating sites. Many people come to associate a picture with a profile when searching or scrolling through. If you’re always chopping and changing, people may lose sight of you.

It also shows quite a bit of insecurity, to be always changing one’s profile image. Best to find an ideal one and stick with it. You can always share more of your photo library with people after you connect with them.

The Problem with Choosing the Wrong Picture

You might not have often thought about what kind of picture is best for your profile. You might have just always gone with whatever you wanted, or whatever you thought made you look “hottest.” Your profile picture is the online first impression; it’s the best hook you’ll have to get people interested in reading more of your profile. A picture that follows the above rules will generally garner better results.

The more “extreme” you get with your picture, either through showing off more of your body, or making more extensive use of filters and airbrushing, the more scope you have to create disappointment in each other when you meet or connect with other people. A “hot” picture will attract a lot of one certain type of user, but will push away many times more. Therefore, spend more time considering which is the “right” picture.