If you use just one dating application it should be -and probably is- Tinder.
But wait, isn’t Tinder that lascivious app where salivating oafs serial message women out of their league, “hey”?
Umm, yes and no.
Tinder used to be notorious for its label as a “hookup app.” And sure plenty of people still use it to find a one-night partner. But the online dating scene has expanded rapidly since Tinder’s genesis. While just a few years ago online dating was taboo, now it’s the most popular way people meet their significant others with 19% of new relationships starting after having met their partner online.
That’s right. Meeting a romantic partner online is now more commonplace than meeting your future partner through friends, at a bar, or during Sunday service.
Regardless if you’re a dating app hater or fanboy, the reality is that if you want to meet single women you need to hop on Tinder. And when it comes to successfully meeting women on Tinder there’s no more important aspect of profile creation than Tinder pics. Because yes, it’s proven that looks do matter to women.
Dating apps are superficial -Tinder being the most of the bunch- so the only way to distinguish yourself among the millions of other dudes on the app is to create a roster of photos that are worthy of a swipe right.
Below are the top 6 Tinder photo archetypes that have been giving my clients success for years. Since Tinder lets you upload a maximum of 9 photos, don’t forget to mix in a couple of text prompt responses that expose your personality.
The 6 Best Tinder Picture Archetypes
Tinder Pics for Guys First Photo Must Have: The Closely Cropped Headshot
The first Tinder pic in your account has two purposes.
The first is to announce yourself to the Tinder stratosphere. This photogenic exclamation must be done in the clearest way possible, meaning that your face must be 100% unobscured. The second job of an initial Tinder photo is, of course, to convince her to either swipe right or spend more time vetting your profile.
Let’s get this out of the way now so that even if you don’t read this article in full you won’t make this tragic mistake. Yes, you have dozens of 100% unobscured photos on your phone, however, must are probably selfies. Selfies make you look like you have zero friends. By appearing lonely you lower your perceived value. Anyone with at least one arm can take a selfie. Don’t showcase the type of photo that just anyone can post.
Do your single self a favor and say no to selfies.
This should go without saying. But the photo above should be used as your first Tinder photo for one simple reason -there’s only one person in it.
How often have you come across a female’s profile where her initial photo not only displayers herself but also five of her closest friends? If you don’t want females to do it why commit this most unfortunate of Tinder blunders as well? It doesn’t matter if it’s a great photo of you, if it’s your first photo you still haven’t established which one you are. A group shot as a first photo does nothing to help your cause.
A recent Hinge study confirmed some fairly obvious dating app picture tips. It also had some findings that users weren’t expecting.
One of these surprises is that photos of men facing forward were 102% more likely to receive a like than your average photo. Perhaps because a man distracted by a butterfly is only showing a portion of his face. Remember that you’re a complete unknown to other daters. It’s not always the best looking guy that gets the girl. Often it’s the one that offers users the most reliable information.
Safety. That’s who I feel looking at the above Tinder photos example; safe.
Take it from a woman that if she doesn’t feel safe, she won’t go out with you. There are a few ways your photos can make her feel comfortable.
What’s most important is that they’re clear. She mustn’t feel like you’re trying to hide any aspect of your appearance. The photo above checks this box off beautifully. It’s a high-res, front-facing photo that captures the user’s entire face. But that’s not the only aspect that’s working in this photo.
The subject is also smiling. It’s not a big smile, but by opening his mouth and showing her pearly whites he’s signaling to the person on the other side of the screen that he’s not a threat. Humanize yourself by smiling and showcasing as much of your character as possible. Tinder relegates each user into a series of cards. It’s your job to be seen as more than just a contestant on a superficial digital dating game.
This closely cropped headshot is distinct from those we’ve analyzed thus far.
The others offer little context by way of background. This photo, however, tells us much more about the Tinder user.
It’s clear that the subject isn’t in the states. The backpack and background suggest that he’s abroad, most likely in Europe, jaunting around a fairly old city. Traveling abroad conveys not only an interest but status. Not everyone has the drive and funds to galivant abroad. International travel photos are highly encouraged.
Some of you might question why this user’s first photo is with his daughter. Don’t.
This guy clearly isn’t into one night stands. He wants to meet women that are in it for the long haul. If this is the case he has to be up-front. Why waste time chatting back and forth with a woman, going on a few dates, spending loads of money, only to reveal later on that you have a child?
He knows that women uninterested in dads will swipe left, those that are into it will slide their finger to the right. He’s not wasting any time here.
Now, if this guy isn’t a father and just happened to think posting a photo of him with his little cousin was a good idea then he’s utterly hopeless. I’ve not sure that even I have the expertise to help him out.
Dating App Misconception Debunked
Before we reveal the best Tinder pics, I want to quickly address a common misconception men have about dating pictures.
Many a guy thinks that looking away from the camera is sexy and that staring at the lens makes them look aggressive, too much to so be swiped right on.
To get to the bottom of this we asked Lisa Damico, an award-winning online dating photographer based in Alexandria on her thoughts on the matter.
The Full Body Physique Photo
Full body Tinder pic shots serve the same purpose as headshots.
Harken back to the last time you swiped through a woman’s profile that only contained headshots. Sure she looked good but you couldn’t help thinking that she was hiding something. Online dating photos are part of your dating resume. Why should she settle for dating a dude that is afraid to show the bottom half of his body.
Not everybody’s afraid to show some skin, but such audacity isn’t always a good thing.
A shirtless photo -while it may look hot- an indicative of a player. Your profile should have a target audience. You don’t want to appeal to every female Tinder user do you? If you’re on the app for some buns a shirtless photo is a good call, if not, reconsider.
Ask women for their thoughts on shirtless dating app photos and they’ll likely tell you that there’s a sweet spot that most dudes are missing. It’s easy to appear egoistic and douchey with shirtless photos. If you feel the need to post a half-naked picture, make sure they’re candid shots.
Context, context, context.
There’s a huge difference between a full body shot of a smiling dude leaning against a background of white brick and the Tinder pic above.
From this Tinder picture, we can glean that the user is American, likes to longboard, has great style, lives a physical lifestyle, etc. Give the woman debating whether to swipe left or right as many details about your life as possible.
If I were a dude I’d run a Spartan race just so I can post epic mid-race photos on my Tinder account.
It takes a unique human to run a Tough Mudder or Spartan race. It takes an even more unique one to smile while jumping over burning wood with a buddy. Ideally, you’d be able to see the Tinder user’s face, but apart from that one minor critique this photo kicks ass.
This half-naked shot fits our criteria for what’s considered a suitable shirtless Tinder photo.
The reason the guy posted this photo isn’t to showcase his muscles but rather to show that he’s the type of dude that will literally jump over fire to achieve his goals.
The Hobby Shot Photo
The first two Tinder picture archetypes establish what the user looks like. But few women would swipe right on a dude just because he’s got a couple of nice headshots. The rest of your photos (and of course your Tinder bio) should be used to convey a well-rounded personality (and prove that you’re not a serial killer).
You can do this with hobby shots.
The more a woman can connect with you the more likely it is she’ll swipe right. Take the guy above.
He’s the sporty type that by the looks of his jersey is into soccer. This photo ticks the boxes of soccer and fitness buffs alike.
This man is all about shooting his shot, both on the golf course and online.
With that fierce gaze and perfected crouch, the kid looks like an aspiring Tiger Woods. It doesn’t quite matter that he consistently hits 25 over par, he’s clearly passionate about golf (or about staring into the abyss). Always put your hobbies and qualities on full display.
What sets you apart from other men?
Is it your ability to play the tuba, write novels, or put yourself in a sinuous yoga position while kissing the ground? Boast about your distinctions as long as they’re positive.
Music-related photos are always encouraged. What women doesn’t want her man serenading her?
There are sporty photos and then there are SPORTY PHOTOS!
The previously cited Hinge study found that women love sports photos, but they tend to prefer one type to the other. Non-contact and low energy sports such as ping-pong and tennis weren’t as highly rated as contact and high-intensity sports. If you’re debating between badminton and a basketball photo, post the latter.
The Animal Lover Shot
There are few things women love more than a cute dog pic. Evidence shows that guys are seen as smarter, more caring, and more trustworthy when posing with man (and woman’s) best friend. Not posting a Tinder picture of you with your pooch would be like Batman refraining to use the most badass gadget in his utility belt.
The best wingman a man can ask for is his dog (apart from myself of course).
Women love dog pics. Men know this.
Dudes will do anything they can to be more appealing than either profile to their left or right. This even means stealing their friend’s or parent’s dog for a spontaneous photo shoot. The bait and switch is so common that the tactic has been coined as dogfishing. Dogfishing is just as misleading as angling all your photos in such a way that you look 6 foot when you’re really 5’5″. Just don’t do it.
This photo is infinitely better than the first two we’ve seen thus far. Why?
Look you only have so many photos you can upload to the app (ideally 5-6). Every slot must be used to provide more information not only on who you are but what you look like. The first two photos viewed obscure the user’s face. This one doesn’t.
I guess cats are cool, but women tend to prefer dog pics. Cat-lovers are perceived as more effeminate than dog lovers. But again, your Tinder pics should be an accurate portrayal of who you are.
If you’re an unabashed cat lover and want to hang with fellow cat people maybe you do post those cat pics you’ve got stacked in your photo library. Just know that dogs are always better than cats… at least when it comes to getting matches.
Cute dog, but last time I checked this was a dating app for humans. This photo would be ideal if the cameraman took a step back and also included the guy’s face in the picture.
The Social Shot
Many an online dating guru has trashed group Tinder pictures, however, they do serve a purpose.
It’s true that group shots should never be the first or second photo in your profile. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be included at all. Group shots have the opposite effect as selfies. Whereas a selfie makes you look basic and friendless, group shots give the impression that your life is dynamic and that you’re surrounded by awesome people.
The women of Tinder think of you as a stranger. Being surrounded by a group of smiling people tells her that there are other humans out there that enjoy being around you. This will give her comfort, and that’s exactly what she needs to persuade her to go on a first date with you.
Smiles all around, physical contact with women -clearly good times are being had. After viewing this Tinder pic she too may want to join in on the fun.
Every written line and every uploaded photo must be pithy. With only so much space to advertise yourself you’ll need to be meticulous when it comes to crafting the perfect visual poem.
The one thing off about this Tinder photo is that the attention is on the one person whose face is obscured by his hand. This is the Tinder user. If that hand weren’t there this photo would be awesome, but it is, so it shouldn’t be used. Don’t just select the first 5-6 photos you think are Tinder-worthy. Constantly search and swap out photos once better ones are found. If you don’t know what’s considered Tinder-worthy, just ask the lovely ladies from Photofeeler.com.
Background is key to adding context. From this photo we can deduce that the Tinder user eats healthy and has a sick pad or office. Whenever possible show as much detail as possible.
The GQ Shot
The GQ shot is your time to shine.
You probably have a few recent wedding pics you’ve got stashed away on your phone. Now is the time to use them.
Women (and yes even men) are looking for status symbols. Dressing well, wearing a nice watch, or being pictured on a rooftop bar are all status symbols that women are attracted to. Look man, Tinder is the perfect place to brag about how awesome you are. Don’t be afraid to post a photo or two of you at your swankiest.
This guy’s got the right idea.
The only critique I have is that it looks too staged, almost as if he took this at a photo studio. What’s working for him is that while the background is dull the shot looks candid, thus humanizing the subject.
What was I just saying about watches, rooftops bars, and fancy clothing?
Apart from looking a bit contrived, this photo typifies the GQ Tinder pic that every guy should have in his roster of photos.
Your only fear when posting a ritzy Tinder photo is that you come off as arrogant. As this gentleman demonstrates any hint of arrogance is swept away by simply smiling.
Tinder Pics for Guys…. That Women Will Ignore
Doesn’t this guy look more like the archetypical bond villain than prince charming? He looks like he just broke out of his own jail cell by bursting through the cell wall with his pectorals.
I can’t stress this enough, women want to be comforted, not scared into swiping left as quickly as possible.
I understand why dudes think wearing glasses in photo is a good idea. Glasses make the face look more symmetrical which in turn makes you look better. Yet a 2016 Tinder study found that men and women were 15% less likely to be swiped right on if they were wearing a hat or glasses.
This is because women can be simultaneously physically attracted and scared of a guy. Look, we’re complex, deal with it… or just take off the shades.
Not Smiling in Your Photos
You know how else doesn’t smile? Serial killers!
Actually google John Wayen Gacy Jr. or Ted Bundy and you’ll find photos of smiling mass murderers looking back at your en masse. Even though serial killers are a fairly smiley bunch, that’s the association we’ll make. A person that doesn’t smile is thought of as untrustworthy and aggressive. These aren’t traits we want in the dudes we date, especially if they’re strangers.
Aggressive photos like the one above will attract only a very specific type of woman. What that type of woman is, I can only speculate.
Killery photos work for a small percentage of women. Understand which type of women your photos appeal to before posting.
Best Tinder Pics for Guys: Conclusion
You’ve probably noticed that many of these Tinder pics look professional. It’s because they are.
Higher quality photos translate to more matches, it’s that simple. Consider making a day out of taking new Tinder photos that friend of yours that owns a DSLR. If you don’t have a photographer friend around consider even hiring a photographer that specializes in dating app photos.
As you can see, there’s a lot to be pondered when choosing the perfect Tinder pics for your profile. If you need a helping hand, book a new client 1-on-1 Skype session with yours truly.
I’ve helped hundreds of men create high-quality Tinder profiles from scratch. Together you and I will create an awesome profile and discuss the dating strategies you need to implement in order to find your next -and possibly last- girlfriend. We’ll also discuss if my 3 month coaching program is right for you!