What your online dating profile photo says about you.

While working at ad agencies, I’ve been privy to a lot of unusual conversations by graphic designers. I’ve heard laments about how the color green has been sabotaged by environmental issues and can never again be used to promote fresh minty flavors. I once heard a colleague say that the use of script fonts does not (mercifully) cause her to orgasm. Recently I heard a fond discussion about the color orange and how universally unisexual it is.

Apparently, orange is neither too feminine nor too masculine no matter how you use it on a package.

Personally, I don’t understand the sex appeal of fonts, or the lack of, for that matter. However, I do know that a lot of thought, psychology and strategy go into making a package look appealing enough to be picked off the shelf in favor of other packages.

My point is that how you package yourself affects how you’ll be perceived. This brings me to the topic of online dating profile photos and the messages some of these deliver. Shirtless men in ball caps and women in sweats tell me that, despite trying to land a date, these people will make no effort to look attractive.

If this is how little they do even before the wooing period, can you imagine what they would be like when they begin to relax?

I also see a lot of party pictures of women surrounded by their friends. If a woman is in the company of friends in every photo, I tend to wonder if she lacks the confidence of being in a photo by herself. Maybe she doesn’t think her looks are good enough so she tries to attract a man by using her friends as bait.

On that note, I’ve also seen a lot of “sexual bait and switch” photos by women. These are the photos where a woman looks about as demure as Tia Tequila, but then makes it very clear in her profile summary that there’s no way she’s putting out unless it’s long term.

Then there’s the ever-popular photo of someone taking his or her photo through a mirror and using a cell phone. Or, the self-portrait where it looks as though the person has an arm extension. Seriously, have you no friends who can take your profile picture for you? It does make me wonder.

So before you post a photo, ask yourself what kind of message it’s delivering. My suggestion is that you use a decent camera and get a friend to take your picture. If you’re a little shy, go out and have fun, then take a shot. Stay out, have more fun, get more relaxed, and then take another shot. After a fun day with a good friend, you’ll have at least one good picture.

Another tip is to do what good brands do. That is – add some subtle messaging to your picture.

If you love the outdoors, post a picture of yourself outside. If you love the finer things in life, dress up and post a picture of yourself outside the theatre. It might not catch the eye of someone who likes hot dogs and ball games but it will catch the eye of someone whose primary interest is the good life. Though your photo should focus on you, adding visual clues will attract people with similar interests or lifestyle.

Human beings size up situations very quickly – especially when presented with a lot of choices. As such, your packaging needs to be as appealing as possible. From picture quality, to attractiveness, to presentation (clothing), to visual cues – every single aspect of your profile photo has to deliver an instantly appealing message.

Of course, when competing with millions of people online dating, your photo is only half the battle. From there, you need to get a potential suitor to read your dating profile. That’s where my services come in. No one is better trained to make singles dating online stand out from the competition than an ad writer and marketing expert turned online dating profile writer…me!

Check out the online dating samples of my work. Better still, go straight to the personality quiz. It costs nothing to do, but will help you uncover some of your unique traits, which is the first step in writing an online dating profile that stands out.


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