Online Dating from A to Z: Profiles & Pix

Welcome to the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. This month I’ll be working my way through the alphabet, one day at a time, on the subject of Online Dating. If you’ve never visited my blog before, I’m happy you’re here! Be sure to check out my previous A to Z Challenge posts and the books that were inspired by them for more alphabetical fun.

P is for Profiles and Pix.

The most important part of online dating is filling out your profile. And the most important part of filling out your profile is including great pictures!

Here’s a brief guide to taking photos of yourself that will catch other people’s eyes and urge them to move on to reading your profile.

The selfie is a dangerous beast! Many people assume that those with too many selfies on their profile are narcissistic and far too self-involved to be a potential match.

That being said, you may need to do a selfie right now. Particularly if:

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  • You haven’t got any recent photos of yourself (and by “recent,” I mean less than a year old);
  • You’ve recently gained or lost a lot of weight;
  • Your only photo of yourself is either a Glamour Shot™, a Sears studio portrait, or was commissioned for work;
  • You’re camera-phobic and generally hop behind someone else whenever friends start snapping away; or
  • You’re about to crop someone else (particularly an ex) out of the photo you want to use.


Selfies are an annoying necessity when it comes to online profiles. The key to taking a selfie that doesn’t seem like a selfie is to set up the shot like a professional would.

To start, make sure you’ve bathed recently, picked out a clean outfit, and done some hair and makeup. Don’t go crazy with this stuff, but make yourself look the way you would if you were about to go out on a date. After all, this is your dating profile photo, so let’s keep that in perspective.

If you’re about to go on a date, you’re probably not:

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  • Taking a picture of your muscles as you flex, shirtless, in a mirror (the #1 Most Hated pose for men);
  • Making a pouty duck face in a mirror (the #1 Most Hated pose for women);
  • Clasping any sort of props or leaning against a tree (the #1 and #2 Most Hated High School Yearbook Poses for all people).


Selfies are generally best shot from above, with the camera pointing down at your face, to avoid the dreaded double chin. Smiling is good. Getting your camera in the shot (i.e. shooting your reflection in a mirror) is generally not recommended.

Got a great photo? Run it by a friend or two, or test it out on your social media profiles first to get some feedback. If people respond positively, you’ll know it’s a winner. If your picture gets you reported, it’s back to the drawing board.

Do take the time to make sure your photo looks great. Even though you can’t judge a book by its cover, engaging photos are the first thing people look for on dating sites. Make yours outstanding and you’ll get much better results than the folks who are cropping their exes out of their images!

Last but not least: most sites only require one photo, but both men and women report a preference for at least three photos in order to get a better feel for whether or not the person behind the profile is the real deal. Both men and women like to see a full-body shot, if possible, to get a general idea about your physique (this being the #1 thing people tend to lie about in their written profiles), so include at least one of these and please make it recent.

People also tend to assume that profiles without a full-body image translates to “I have no friends,” which is another reason why this is an important puzzle piece.

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  • Guilie Castillo

    I’m loving your series this year. My online ‘dating’ experience is almost non-existent (underline that *almost*), so it’s been so illuminating to get a glimpse into the entire thing. Some things seem like your everyday common sense, but judging from some of the stuff I see in Facebook and other social media, it seems we all need a refresher rather regularly ;) Great, great series.

  • Melanie Atherton Allen

    Hello, fellow A-to-Zer! I’ve never done any online dating, as I’ve been in a relationship since before that was a thing (I think), but I am absolutely fascinated with the subject, and I love hearing about it from my friends who do it. Anyway, the profile pic is something I struggle with in other social-media areas, so I can use these great tips. Thanks!