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The 4 Big Myths of Profile Pictures

I came across a very well written article online by OK Cupid called “The 4 Big Myths of Profile Pictures” it interested me greatly as the author had diligently looked at 7000 dating photos, analyzed much data, and seemed to find 4 myths about the way that people think about profile pictures, the article goes on to say that much of our collective wisdom about profile pictures is wrong, notably that:

Profile picture myth 1

It’s better to smile

Profile picture myth 2

The MySpace Angle Is Busted (Photographs shooting from overhead down)

Profile picture myth 3

Guys should keep their shirts on

Profile picture myth 4

Make sure your face is showing

Now let’s be clear from the beginning where they got the data from:

“Our data set was chosen at random from all users in big cities, with only one profile photograph, between the ages of 18 and 32. We then lopped the most and least attractive members of the pool, fearing that they would skew our results”

Now let me make it clear that our dating  & profile photo company specializes in helping people who are usually older than the 18-25 year old daters, the only reason I’m writing this post is that I’ve had a few people who are over 25 ask me if this advice applies to them and I don’t think it does, there’s a world of difference between dating in your twenties and thirties, forties and fifties! I think that OK Cupid did a pretty good job of collecting this advice for a certain kind of person in their 20’s

Perhaps a more accurate title for the article would be:

The 4 Big Myths of Profile Pictures for people who live in big cities, with only one profile photograph, between the ages of 18 and 32 who only look average

OK I know, I’m joking, and if it were a paper researched by Doctors or Teachers then it wouldn’t be published with such a title, but let’s not dismiss this article yet!

I had a customer who asked me why I wasn’t following this article, they wrote that “My profile pictures do not follow the advice given” and wanted to hear my comments. Now I respect their privacy so I’ll keep my reply private, what I will say though is that they did, live in a big city, I’d guess were between the age of 28 and 32, although I believe they didn’t quite fit the profile as they were definitely very good looking and wanted to post more than one profile picture

The article defines success for women and men alike based on the number of responses that they got…

Now many of us have dated online and had many, many responses, yet somehow I was left feeling that the number of responses is a slightly empty number. If your profile pictures are attracting the wrong sort of people then success cannot be measured by

numbers alone, if I post a profile picture online and  get lots and lots of responses by people who I feel aren’t a match, then I’m failing (rather than winning as the numbers suggest). There are often issues created by statistics, interpreted by the reader “out of context” they become meaningless or worse give a false impression.

Again I’m not attempting to trash data that was diligently collected in a professional way, just showing how people can read an article and possibly get the wrong idea.

Let’s look a little deeper into these myths- and please only read on if you live in a big city, with only one profile photograph, between the ages of 18 and 32 and look average

Profile picture myth #1:It’s better to smile

The article goes on to say that men and women have very different approaches to the camera~ that women smile more than men and make more flirty faces, that looking happy and making eye contact for online dating photos isn’t good advice, that women get the most messages by flirting with the camera and that men’s profile pictures are most effective when they look away from the camera and don’t smile.

Now here’s where I get to thinking, even if I was an average looking 18-32 year old, big city dweller with just one profile picture, would this be good advice for me? Hmmmm  for me personally NO…Women with flirty faces irritate me, and always have done, and I spoke with a few woman (over 25 ) who definitely don’t want a guy who looks away and doesn’t smile, (They commented that people who look like this are often self-absorbed or hiding something (Perhaps bad teeth) and they would avoid them)…for some people these photos are definitely a deal breaker!
My point is that for this advice to be helpful you have to be attracted to girls who make flirty faces or mysterious guys looking away!

Perhaps the article title should now change to:
The 4 Big Myths of Profile Pictures for people who live in big cities, with only one profile photograph, between the ages of 18 and 32 who only look average and who like girls with Flirty faces or mysterious guys

Just kidding…

The real question you should be asking yourself is “who do I want to attract? If you think your ideal match wants to see you looking flirty or mysterious then this is exactly the sort of advice that you should follow, but if you want to attract other things in a person then perhaps a different

approach for profile pictures will apply! If you like to smile then smile-looking confident and how you want to look is important.

In summary not smiling may work if you’re younger, but there’s still a lot of opinion out there that says  to avoid it, (example Kurt Inman wrote an article called “Run Away from these 5 bad dating Dating photos” where he gives advice to avoid people with profile pictures who don’t smile, his valid opinion is “I ‘m not talking about a huge grin here. A real smile makes anyone look very attractive. I’ve seen people scowling, glaring, on the verge of tears and staring at the floor in their photo profile. How can you think this would be attractive to anyone?”, now I know many of you won’t agree with him…but many of you will (Especially the 28+ crowd!)

Profile picture myth #2:The MySpace Angle Is Busted (Photographs shooting from overhead down)

The article says thatThe universally-maligned “My-Space angle” is achieved by holding your camera above your head and being just so darn coy, we were sure these pictures were lame; in fact, the prospect of producing hard data on just how lame got us all excited. But we were so wrong.” We at first thought this was just because, typically, you can kind of see down the girl’s shirt with the camera at that angle—indeed, that seems to be the point of shot in the first place—so we excluded all cleavage-showing shots from the pool and ran the numbers again. No change: it’s still the best shot; better, in fact, than straight-up boob pictures”

Now this doesn’t surprise me, if you take a profile picture looking down on someone then they often look better, I agree with this article that these kinds of shots when done right can be very effective, many professional photographers take photos from above for this very reason

The only time I disagree on using “My Space angle” profile pictures is if they are used to hide the body!
Let’s imagine this scenario, a girl wants to post only photos of her from overhead-down; her logic is, this way only her face and boobs show, and lets imagine it’s because she’s overweight and doesn’t want anyone to know until they meet her on a first date (She’s hoping to make a connection so that she won’t be judged on her size)
Now I hold nothing against anyone for being thinner or larger (I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again-I do believe that there’s a body type out there for everyone) but if this girl doesn’t show her body in any of her profile pictures then one of two things will happen; One- people will look at her profile pictures and get  suspicious and think she’s hiding something OR Two-she’ll mislead someone; I remember a date where I’d seen my dates’ attractive “My Space angle” profile pictures and invited her on a date when I met my date she was 100lbs heavier, so yes she got the date through the pictures, but would she get another date? I don’t think so!

Profile picture myth #3: Guys should keep their shirts on

Here’s a summary of this myth; The male “Ab shot’ profile picture is an Internet cliché that everyone thinks is only for bozos. Yet the data contradicts this ~ of course, there is some self-selection here: the guys showing off their abs are the ones with abs worth showing, and naturally the best bodies get lots of messages. So we can’t recommend this photo tactic to every man. But, contrary to everything you read about profile pictures, if you’re a guy with a nice body, it’s actually better to take off your shirt and why should guys with great bodies keep their best asset under wraps? Dating, both online and off is about playing to your strengths, and it should be no different for men with muscles”

Now I’m a little confused at this point, earlier in the article it says “We then lopped the most and least attractive members of the pool, fearing that they would skew our results”, and so I’m curious as they can’t recommend this tactic to every man does this make the statistics difficult to accurately interpret!

Again should the real question to ask yourself  be “who do I want to attract? If I think my ideal match wants this then this is exactly the sort of advice that I should follow, but if I want to attract other sorts of people then perhaps a different approach for profile pictures will be needed!

Perhaps the article title should now change to:
The 4 Big Myths of Profile Pictures for people who live in big cities, with only one profile photograph, between the ages of 18 and 32 who only look average and who like girls with Flirty faces or mysterious guys and who think that abs are important

Just kidding again…

Here’s some other really good points the article makes:

“If you’re not the type of guy who can show off your muscles, don’t veer off in the opposite direction and get all dressed up.

“For women, shots that show breasts get attention…A message like “Hey nice rack” isn’t really gonna lead anywhere, and isn’t very valuable to the recipient”

“the value of being conversation-worthy, as opposed to merely sexy, cannot be overstated”

I agree that whatever your age, location or attitude this is good solid advice…


Profile picture myth #4: Make sure your face is showing

Now I was as surprised when I read that “The facts were stubborn and your face doesn’t necessarily matter. In fact, not showing your face can in fact be a positive, as long as you substitute in something unusual, sexy, or mysterious enough to make people want to talk to you.”.

I laughed out loud when I read this and laughed out loud again when I read:

Of course, we wouldn’t recommend that you meet someone in person without first seeing a full photo of them, that still seems like a recipe for disaster.

Do I need to say more…
So in conclusion thank-you OK Cupid for taking the time to research and write this report, it’s definitely a great start in serving people who are online dating, and aren’t sure what do do when choosing a profile picture~ I hope that when you read this you’ll enjoy my comments on your article and I hope I made you smile too!

For readers of this post~ Both Online daters and Matchmakers alike, If you have additional questions about this article or anything else on effective, profile pictures please reach out to me via LookBetterOnline Facebook or Twitter, I’m interested to hear what you have to say.

Dating online? The most important thing you need to know…

Having a great photo is the single most important thing you can do when dating online, so visit LookBetterOnline and find out why more than 98% of our customers get better dates, and see how we can help make your online dating experience successful and more fun than you thought possible!

Profile Pic Secrets

You know what I think about a profile pic!

I think that  your profile pic says more about you than you can ever write in a profile description, with the right profile pic you can have a less than perfect profile yet still get results, so what else is important about a profile photo?

The reason is that while there might be plenty of fish in the sea, who wants to land a tiddler? Or tempt a shark?

Your profile pic is the bait that will attract the right kind of fish for you. Use the wrong bait and all you’ll hook is something you’ll want to throw right back.

That’s because for most people dating online — dating anywhere! — is a visual experience.

The first thing that any single looks at when they reach a dating profile is…

Right….  The profile pic.

A profile pic is always the first thing to attract their attention. Sure, the headline is important and the description. But it’s the profile pic they’ll look at first. That’s why it’s VERY important to have a good “Main” profile pic. Once they see your pictures, THEN they’ll go on to read your headline and the rest of your profile. To win the dating game you MUST make a GREAT first impression.

Remember… A great profile pic will often persuade people to ignore a bad profile but a bad profile pic will not inspire anyone to read a great profile.

You don’t have to look like a Hollywood star or supermodel to attract attention on an online dating site. All you need is a great profile pic that shows you at your best!
And remember that having a great photo is the single most important thing you can do when dating online, so visit LookBetterOnline and find out why more than 98% of our customers get better dates, and see how we can help make your online dating experience successful and more fun than you thought possible!

2 tips for better profile photos

Have you ever felt the need to change the way you look in order to attract “Mr or Mrs right?

Have you ever considered having your profile photos retouched?

We switch on the television and see a million messages telling us that we need to change the way we look or pay the price! For women its make-up or hair ads telling us to use them to find our beauty, or weight loss products, for men it’s the closest shave…all these
adverts seem to tell us that if we do what they say and change our appearance then everything will be O.K. and if we don’t do then we’ll be reduced to a life of misery (I guess that’s often the basic premise of marketing)

For women the problem becomes worse when they open a magazine! Women’s magazines are filled with images of women with who fit the perfect profile. Photos of “perfect people” models who have had every line or blemish or imperfection retouched away!
These adverts aren’t reality, they are glamorous and look great, glamour photos are not about The Real person, it’s about the photographer creating the image that they find the most pleasing (and most effective to sell stuff with). The photographer will use heavy makeup, hair styling, unnatural lighting and heavy post production retouching.

So what’s all this got to do with Dating and your profile photos I hear you say!

If you take profile photos to post online and use heavy makeup, hair styling, unnatural lighting and heavy post production retouching the result is a fantasy image, and it fails on a dating site. You must run in the opposite direction if anyone tries to sell you “old school” glamor photography, I’m literally amazed at how many photographers STILL take profile pictures this way!

People avoid these profile photos because somewhere at a “gut level” they know no one looks like that, or they avoid you after the date because you didn’t measure up to the profile photos that you posted online

Whats the solution? Simple~Natural profile photos that reflect the real you.

As CEO of  it’s been said that I get more body-altering requests than some plastic surgeons, that people contact me all the time, wanting to shed a few pounds from their frame, or people wanting to add a little more hair to their bald head.

Thankfully this is an exaggeration, (although it did make me laugh when I first read this) but there is a little truth to these claims.

“The right profile photos, make a huge difference in how people perceive you on the Web.”

I often advise women to love and be their beautiful and original self and to go easy with the retouching software:

Remember “Photoshop is like the Force. There’s a light side and a dark side. Wield the retouching tool wisely and with restraint. Don’t represent yourself as any different than who you really are-or at least who you are with great lighting, good makeup and a lot of sleep.”

So to summarize these 2 tips

1)Avoid glamor shots!
2)If you get profile photos retouched find someone who knows what they are doing otherwise you’ll look lame

Dating online? The most important thing you need to know…

Having a great photo is the single most important thing you can do when dating online, so visit LookBetterOnline and find out why more than 98% of our customers get better dates, and see how we can help make your online dating experience successful and more fun than you thought possible!

Why bad profile pictures mean really, really, bad dates

This video really made me laugh hard and reminded me of the worst date I ever had

Have you looked at someone’s profile pictures that look good, then met them in person  and they look nothing like the profile pictures that they posted? A guaranteed bad date for sure~ would you stay or Run?

The idea of any profile pictures is to represent you. It means that when we meet – that I’m able to recognize that it’s you. Posting a profile picture of you and a group of your friends at a bar and assuming I’ll be able to pick you out is not a good idea-What If I’m more attracted to your hot friend than you? And providing an image of yourself where you’re the tiny, tiny little speck on the horizon of one of the profile pictures doesn’t tell me much about you either. I am sure the pyramids in Egypt was an amazing experience and you can tell me about your interesting travels on our date but first I would like to see profile pictures that show what YOU really look like first to see if I want to date you.

And please know profile pictures that are recent are helpful too. For example, profile pictures of you, 30 lbs lighter than you are now or profile pictures taken at least 20 years ago doesn’t really do any good either. If you look “hot” in your profile pictures and “not” in the real then of course I’m going to be disappointed.

And Body shape or hair color or height or age may or may not be a deal maker or deal breaker or me, as a matter of fact my partner can be older than me and have curves. But when I am expecting someone who’s hot in their 40’s to show up and I get in someone who looks more like my mom’s age — then I have a problem.

I was on such a date, and I remember the details oh to well (if only I could forget them), I’d met who I thought was a beautiful blonde girl, smart, charming, funny and sexy (at least sexy according to her profile pictures ), we connected on the telephone and agreed to meet, excited I drifted asleep with happy visions of me and the blonde girl!

As I approached her for our first date, she had her back to me, her beautiful long blonde hair exactly as in her profile pictures, then as she turned around to face me-I looked at her and I was shocked, she looked a genuine 20 years older…in my shocked reaction I just flinched and jumped back a couple of paces….Followed by a deeply uncomfortable moment, where Irealized that I had just flinched and she knew it! I went totally red in the face and tried to hide my deep disappointment…I didn’t find her attractive, and she wasn’t the girl I’d hoped to take to dinner.

If I didn’t find her remotely attractive on a first date then what hope could we ever have for a future!

Now I’m not saying that she wasn’t worthy of love-I’m sure that someone somewhere would find her attractive…just not me, if only she’d  posted accurate dating profile picture then she’d have saved us both a wasted evening!

So remember that having a great photo is the single most important thing you can do when dating online, so visit LookBetterOnline and find out why more than 98% of our customers get better dates, and see how we can help make your online dating experience successful and more fun than you thought possible!

Are You Saying Too Much — And Saying The Wrong Thing?

After years of dating, you’ve probably got the basics down pretty well, even if it’s been a while since you had to use them. You know how to dress, what to ask, how to behave to show interest, and how to tell whether you’ve found a winner… or another loser.

Online, many of those skills go out of the window. Putting on your best duds is going to have a limited effect in a small portrait, and trying to get across that you’re both humorous and humble isn’t easy when you’re trying write  an essay that’s all about you.

And then there are the mistakes. You might know better than to blab on about your ex on a date or chat on your mobile when things get dull but on a profile, the errors are more subtle. The effects though can be just as devastating to your love life.

One of the most common mistakes is making small things look big. Because you can’t say much on a profile, whatever you do say looks like the most important element in your life. Write that you like playing golf, for example, and a reader will assume that you’re on the green every weekend whacking balls and fishing your club out of the pond. That could put off people who can’t stand the game. It would also disappoint golf enthusiasts when they learn that you’ve actually only swung a club twice, even if you did quite enjoy it.

The solution is to share the detail. If you say you like running, say how often you run. If you’re a fiend at the grill, mention what you cook and when you’re likely to do it. If you’ve got a political point of view, keep it to yourself… unless you’d rather cut your own throat than share a coffee with a Bushite or split a cake with a Clinton fan. Don’t let your preferences appear to readers as necessities.

And one of the biggest preferences that get overblown online is the preference to be part of a couple. Readers know why you’re online. They understand that you’re looking to start a relationship. Say that you’re fed up being single or even describe with passion the sort of relationship that you’re looking for and you run the risk of looking desperate.

And nothing kills a potential date faster than desperation.

Love has a habit of coming to those who seem to need it least. Look like you’re happy and satisfied — but could be even happier with the right person — and it won’t be long before you are.

Dating online? The most important thing you need to know…

Having a great photo is the single most important thing you can do when dating online, so visit LookBetterOnline and find out why more than 98% of our customers get better dates, and see how we can help make your online dating experience successful and more fun than you thought possible!

Instant Action Steps that Can Take You from Singlehood to Coupledom

Have you ever noticed how the people who find partners the easiest are the people who need them the least? They’re the people who have three parties to go to every Saturday night, who have more friends than they can name and always seem to be happy, smiling and busy.

Love doesn’t just happen. It happens to people who make things happen. They do that by taking action.

Looking The Part Online

It’s the picture. If you still haven’t had a date that’s led you to consider suspending your dating site membership, then the chances are your photograph is holding you back.

Yes, your profile description could need some sprucing up — and we can help with that too — but it’s the photograph that always makes or breaks an opportunity on a dating site.

The chances are, your photograph contains at least one of these common profile errors:

  • It’s cheesy. Lots of people have professional portrait shots lying around that they took years ago in studio — or worse, in a mall. They think that because they were taken by a pro, they must be good.
  • They’re wrong. We reject more than half the photographers who apply to LookBetterOnline because we want photos that show who our clients really are — not photos that show them holding a tulip or grabbing their shirt collars. Who ever does that?
  • It’s indecipherable. If someone has to squint to see you, they’re not going to bother. Far too many photos on dating sites go for the natural at the expense of the expressive. We see the surroundings — they’re big and focused — but we don’t see the face (that’s small and blurry). If someone can’t see you, they won’t date you.
  • It’s says all the wrong things. When people look for a date, they look for the best they can land. That means to get someone who’s at your level of attraction, looks, status and charm, you need a picture that expresses all of those qualities.

Sub-standard pictures always bring sub-standard results.

And there’s really no excuse to have a poor image on a dating site. When you can have a selection of great images to upload for just $149, nothing should be holding you back. Find a photographer now.

Don’t Tell Me Who You Are, Tell Me What You Do!

Read the first 150 pages or so of Jane Austen’s Pride And Prejudice, and you’ll discover two things. You’ll learn that Darcy is proud and Elizabeth Bennet is prejudiced.

Jane Austen didn’t need 150 pages to tell us that. She could have done it in a sentence: “Darcy is proud and Elizabeth Bennet is prejudiced.” But that would have told us nothing. We’d have wondered what Darcy was proud of, what Elizabeth Bennet was prejudiced about. And every reader would have had a different idea of how that pride and prejudice would have affected their behavior.

That’s why Jane Austen shows us Darcy being sniffy at the ball and describes how Elizabeth behaves in his company.

It’s only by seeing people in action and understanding what they do — and like to do — that we can understand who they are.

What does this have to do with online dating?

The most common mistake that online singles make is to try to describe their personality. If it took Jane Austen 150-odd pages to describe the personalities of her characters, what makes you think you can do it in 150 words?

Instead of using the usual list of adjectives to try to summarize who you are (“I’m passionate, loyal and adventurous, etc…”) describe what you like to do.

If you say that you spent last weekend base-jumping, we’ll know you’re adventurous. If you say that you’re the type of person who’s prepared to pick up a friend from the airport at 3am in a snow storm, we’ll know you’re loyal. And if you say that you never miss a Cardinals game, we’ll know you’re passionate… and what you’re passionate about.

No adjective that you use to describe your personality can ever say who you are. Everyone uses the same terms on their profile even though everyone is different and everyone reads those descriptions differently.

But when you say exactly what you like to do, fill it with detail and say what  you get out of it, we’ll get to see your personality. And more importantly, we’ll get to see what life with you will be like.

And that’s the real goal of your profile.

Is Your Profile All It Could Be? Find Out With A Profile Review

Online dating profile, before and after example

Online dating profile, before and after example

Writing an effective dating site profile isn’t easy. It’s no small thing to blow your own trumpet without hitting a bum note that puts off potential partners.

That’s why at LookBetterOnline, we offer a Profile Review service.

A professional profile writer will look at your profile, tell you what works, what doesn’t… and give you some practical tips to make improvements.

You’ll still have to make the changes yourself but you’ll end up with a profile that’s improved, effective… and all you.

Ask for a Profile Review here.

How to Find Love During a Dateless Weekend

It’s easy to rationalize being single. When you have to hold down a full-time job, who has time to go out on dates? When you’re seeing the same friends every week — and you already know their friends — how can you meet someone new? When you have children, how can you fit evenings in clubs and afternoons at barbeques around PTA meetings and soccer games?

Those are the sorts of questions you ask yourself as you settle into another Saturday night with your old friends instead of your new best friend.

But if you spent your last weekend without a date, you can use that experience to make sure your next weekend doesn’t go to waste.

A date-free weekend is the best time to start an online relationship.

You can send winks. You can write emails. And you can even chat online with other singles who also happen to find themselves dining partner-challenged on a Saturday night.

But try dividing the weekend into two. Spend Saturday sending out your messages but use a do-nothing Friday night to spruce up your profile so that those messages get results. Check your description to make sure that it says not just who you are but what you do. Add wit and personality so that readers will understand what a chat with you will be like. And ask questions to make it easy for interested people to write back.

Most importantly, ask yourself whether your picture shows you as you would look if you were heading out for a date… or planning an evening in front of the television. If it doesn’t show you at your best, take the effort to replace it before you spend an hour or two on Saturday making your moves.

Getting all of that right can be a little tricky, so it’s worth looking at how our packages can get your profile ready for some online dating. From just $197, you could have a set of great pictures or a perfectly written profile that could help to make sure that your next weekend is a little more interesting than your last one.

The Secrets of a Successful Profile

It’s supposed to happen quickly. You should be able to join a dating site, shoot out a few winks, follow them up with some emails and in no time at all find yourself sipping cocktails with someone who makes you go “hmm, I like the look of them…”

In practice though, it’s never that simple. Online dating is exactly like offline dating… but with a greater number of people and a wider variety of options. You still have to put in effort. You still have to look the part. You still have to smile, dress up and make people laugh.

But online, you have to do it all before you even meet.

That’s the part that dating sites tend to neglect. They assume you know that dating is all about first impressions, looks and personality.

But they also assume you know how to express those things online.

The truth is that making a good first impression across the Web requires some very special skills.

It requires a photograph that doesn’t just show you, but one that shows you at your best. Your features have to be clear, your look has to be appealing and your appearance has to be relaxed and inviting. A snapshot won’t cut it — any more than wearing jogging pants and a t-shirt will cut it at a party — and neither will an old vacation photo. It’s possible that you might have a good, usable photograph stashed away somewhere on your hard drive but in general few people do have one. They just have photos that make do.

That’s the difference between meeting someone wearing the first thing you picked up off the bedroom floor, and meeting someone wearing your best outfit, while feeling confident and relaxed.

It’s the difference between being just another fuzzy-looking online single and being clearly an attractive partner and an excellent date.

It’s the difference between spending months writing emails or waiting for responses, and receiving plenty of replies and dates as early as this weekend.

LookBetterOnline was created to give singles the most important tool they need to find love online fast: a look that truly reflects them. For as little as $197, we can give you a complete set of pictures designed specifically for dating sites and save you months of fruitless searching. Take look here to find a photographer in your area today, and give yourself a profile that gets results.