Allow me to start off by pointing out the obvious.
All dating apps are superficial.
All of them.
All the marketing slogans in the world couldn’t hide the fact that if your photo roster features a bathroom selfie or a picture with an ex, you’ll be swiped to the left.
Hate it or love it, this is the reality.
To help deal with that reality, we’ve consulted with some of the best dating app photographers a single guy could model for.
These photographers are professionals specializing in snapping dating app photos worthy of a swipe right if not a super like.
We’ve asked each photographer for their best dating app picture examples for guys along with general advice on how to put together a dating profile that’s guaranteed to get liked.
Here’s what they had to say.
Best Dating App Picture Examples for Guys: 10 Examples
Kristen’s a Pittsburg-based photographer that understands what the ladies are swiping for and how to give it to them.
Here we see a client of her’s posing for what will be used as the first picture in a dating app photo roster.
Why the first picture you ask?
Well considering dating apps are superficial the first question the woman viewing a dating profile will want answered is, “what does this guy look like?”
When it comes to choosing the first photo, Kristen says that,
“The first photo in the gallery should be a nice smiling photo of your face – no sunglasses, hats, and should not be taken from far away – just a nice close photo of you.”
If she has to exert effort in order to glean what you look like — either by undressing you by visually taking off your glasses or by clicking to the next photo — you’ve already lost her.
Vanie is “the photographer for people who don’t like to pose.”
When it comes to snapping attractive profile pictures, Vanie advises staying away from over-produced and contrived shots, instead opting for something a bit more natural.
“To build trust, instead, choose candid-like, environmental photos with little or no retouching. This way, even though the images will still look professional, they will not create any doubts as to the authenticity of the images and how you look.”
Dating apps have a way of reducing you to nothing more than a card in an infinite deck of dating profiles. Humanize yourself by coming off as natural and by showcasing your character.
“My personal approach is to tell a story with your images about your interests. This way, you ensure attracting a match whose interests are aligned with your own!
Where you shoot and what accessories or sometimes even props you shoot with, all tell a story about who you are giving your potential match the big picture. The “big picture” always looks more interesting and builds more trust”
Your pictures tell a story.
What story do you think you’re telling with a profile full of selfies with non-descript backgrounds?
One that no one will read because they’ve swiped left before even getting to the urinal selfie.
Humanize yourself by showing her who you really are as Vanie’s client does in this hobby-shot below.
Dating app photos are all about the nuances… at least the good ones are.
Krista is a photographer and painter that appreciates the little details.
When I asked her to provide me with the best dating app profile picture she took, she offered up this one.
Krista says it’s shots like these that work on a variety of levels.
“This client completely stands out on dating apps with this photograph. What makes it appealing is that he comes across as approachable with that disarming and charming smile. His body language conveys relaxed confidence.
There is just enough of his car in the image (BMW) so you can see he has refined taste and conveys that he has some success.
Also, by showing 3/4 length body women are able to see he’s fit which conveys the message that he takes care of himself. The composition is balanced and even though the lighting isn’t “perfect” you don’t notice because his personality shows through more.”
Seeing as how dating apps have a tendency to make guys look one-dimensional, it’s a photo like this one that adds layers to your character that will help you stand out.
Let’s face it guys, you’re not exactly the most photogenic.
What that means is that when it comes time to select photos for your dating app profile, you’ll be choosing from a library of sub-par photos full of half-smiles and crap lighting.
Lisa Damico, an Alexandria-based award-winning online dating, headshot, and beauty photographer says that if you want to create a profile that can compete against in a virtual sausage-fest like Tinder, you’ll have to invest.
“If there’s one mistake I see over and over again with online dating photos, it’s that people add images to their profile by going through whatever photos happen to be on their phone that maybe they could make work.
This almost always results in mediocre photos with poor image quality, unflattering lighting, weird crops, and gives people the wrong message about you and your interests.
Potential dates are left wondering if the phantom arm around you is a sister or an ex-girlfriend. Are you drinking beer out of a trophy because your rec softball team won the championship, or are you still acting like you’re in college 15 years later because maybe you have a drinking problem? Mediocre photos will get you mediocre matches every single time — and who wants to waste their time, money, and energy on mediocre dates?”
To answer that softball of a rhetorical question, no one.
So what’s the alternative to using whatever photo you might find collecting digital dust in your phone’s library?
“Instead, you should build a portfolio of intentionally created photos that are flattering, show you as you are or who you aspire to be, highlight your personal interests and attract people with similar ones (or at a minimum, give them some easy conversation-starting questions to ask), and have been reviewed and approved by people who don’t know you as being your strongest images.”
To illustrate her advice, here’s a man with his best friend.
See that smile?
That’s the smile of a man that knows that the next woman that sees this photo is going to swipe right.
Chris Todd is an Orange County-based online dating photographer that only takes photos worthy of a swipe right.
Don’t believe me? Check this one out.
Most of the time the man of her dreams is too elusive to capture on a DSLR, but this time Chris was able to capture him, and in a sport coat nonetheless.
Chris’s first rule of dating app photos is to keep it real.
“Keep it authentic- this means we are looking for authenticity in the photos. A genuine smile, a natural pose, and lighting not overly produced.”
Maintaining at the very least a veneer of authenticity won’t enough to convince her to drag her finger to the right.
That’s great if you look genuine in every photo, but all this effort in appearing genuine loses its luster if every photo is exactly the same. Chris advises changing things up.
“When selecting photos for your profile choose a variety of looks.
You want to draw contrast between each image the viewer will scroll/swipe through. If you post photos that are too similar none of them will stand out.”
Photos For Tinder
Justin Veenema is the owner of Photos For Tinder.
As you can imagine, with a company name that directly speaks to the desires of their clientele, this man knows a thing or two about snapping compelling Tinder photos.
Considering 72% of Tinder’s users are male, convincing a woman to swipe right on your profile is no small feat. Justin says that one of the keys is showing your teeth.
“The number one challenge we have with our male clients is convincing them that it’s okay to smile. They think they need to master the smoulder look – dark, mysterious, broody. But unless you’re James Dean (or Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson), the smoulder look can actually backfire and leave you looking annoyed, or unhappy.
Throughout our extensive testing, we’ve found that the highest-converting photos usually feature a natural, confident smile. Not a fake “smile for the camera” smile, but a **real** smile. Almost like you’re about to laugh. Tip: Get a friend to make you laugh while you’re getting your photo taken.
Also, learn to love your smile — everyone else probably does already.”
A set of frosty whites isn’t always enough to convince her to get her swipe on. Sometimes you’ll need that extra sumthin’ sumthin’.
“The next element of an effective dating photo is confidence. The thing about confidence is that it can be displayed in different ways, depending on the person. Confidence can be displayed from wearing well-fitting clothing, the way you walk, your facial expressions and your posture. Don’t mean to beat a dead horse here, but a natural smile is one of the best ways to demonstrate confidence.”
Jessica Ruscello knows that not every single guy out there knows his way around a DSLR… or even an iPhone camera.
Taking your own dating app photos or enlisting the help of a friend to do so isn’t as easy as you might think.
Or maybe it is as easy as you think, but then you end up taking a photo like this one.
Not so easy after all is it?
The first rule of taking your own photos is to not look like a creep. According to Jess, here’s how you do that.
“If you’re taking a photo for yourself for the first time use a tripod or prop up the camera if you don’t have a friend taking the photo. You can prop the camera up on a book or you can buy a stand on Amazon.”
Jess also urges you to use the back-facing camera of your iPhone.
Why? Because it’s a lot better than the front-facing camera.
But before you snap that photo, be aware of the sunlight.
“If the light is streaming in through the window that’s going to wash out all your features and make you squint and make your facial expression hard to read.
But if you have a bright window with indirect light stand in front of it, put your camera on a table stand about five feet away. And take you can set your camera up to take several shots from the back facing camera with a timer. Use the self timer and and those like you’ll be able to take a bunch of pictures no one will notice there’ll be well lit there’ll be high enough quality and that’s kind of how to take camera pictures of yourself without any expensive equipment.”
Don’t be discouraged if it takes 10-15 tries before you take a photo you like. Jess says that even professional photographers have to snap dozens if not hundreds of photos before they’ve taken one they’re satisfied with.
Next, you’ll want to check your background.
“Get all the stuff out of the way that’s going to take someone’s attention away from the person in the photograph.
Whoever’s taking the photo, whether it’s you or someone else, check that there isn’t any trash in the background. That acts as a frame, whatever is in the background of the photo acts as a frame for your body and tells a story regardless of how you’re standing or who you are. It’s kind of an amateur thing to ignore the edges of the frame or ignore the edges of the photograph.”
Lastly, she advises making a connection. To do so…
“Put your shoulders back, put your chest forward, big smile, look straight into the lens of the camera. Because you’re not trying to look hot, you’re trying to make a connection, and a happy, pleasant-like safe one with the women who are swiping through photos.”
Jess says not to worry about looking like an idiot who doesn’t know how to smile.
“You have to remember that all the things you’re worried don’t look good enough in a photograph women don’t see. They they see the connection.”
Saskia Nelson’s work has appeared in Time, the BBC, and in the most compelling dating app profiles across the world. Her company, Hey Saturday, specializes in online dating photography.
Seeing as this is her specialty, it made sense to mine her for advice on how single guys can go about creating super appealing dating profiles.
Saskia says that each profile must do three things:
— Be eye-catchingly good
— Showcase you looking attractive and confident
— Show people what it’s like to date you
Here’s an example of what looks like in practice.
This photo illustrates Saskia’s three criteria beautifully, however it’s the third point I’d like to focus on.
It’s your job to been seen as a real and unique individual, one that the viewer can imagine themselves hanging out with outside of the app.
That’s great and all if your profile is chock-full of beautifully lit and smiling headshots, but even that won’t always get the job done. To win her affection you’ll need to demonstrate what it’s like to date you.
“You want your photos to say, ‘I have a great, interesting life, but it’d be even better with you (the viewer) in it with me’. With a bit of planning, you can use your photos to tell people more about who you are rather than writing it in the bio.
Spend a bit of time thinking about what you love about yourself, what makes you stand out from others, what your passions are, what you’re really into, where you like hanging out, how you like spending your time and then you should be able to come up with a range of scenarios, props, backgrounds and looks that will capture elements of your personality and show people what you’re about. No words needed! But keep it natural and relaxed. Nothing too posed.”
Help tell your story with the use of props.
“Props are such an easy way to tell people more about who you are. Our clients typically might bring a bike or a yoga mat, a guitar, their skateboard, their favorite book, a bouquet of flowers, headphones, a sketchbook, boxing gloves, their camera, etc etc. Think of them as your story-telling super power — an easy win to create a compelling profile photo.”
You’ve Seen The Best Dating App Picture Examples Guys, What Now?
Now that you’re equipped with all the photo advice you could possibly need, it’s time for a little blue steel action.
Iron that shirt and grab that guitar because it’s finally time to put what you’ve just learned to the test.
Taking photos for your dating app profile is admittedly a tough task, that being said it’s only the beginning of the courtship process.
After your photos have been uploaded it’s time to start matching, flirting, and dating.
If chatting it up online and scoring dates with women you men on Hinge isn’t your forte, no worries.
The dating coaches and matchmakers at emlovz will teach you the skills you need to dominate the modern dating scene.
Speak to our coaches via a new client 1-on-1 Zoom call today.
In this call, they’ll outline the emlovz dating strategy and create a unique dating blueprint designed to address your needs. You’ll get an action plan & at the end of the session figure out if our 3 month coaching or matchmaking programs are right for you.
Your next girlfriend is out there, you need only to look… and maybe take some new photos for your dating profile.