If you do some searching you can find a lot of different answers and opinions on the questions of whether and when to include a group photo in your online dating profile. You know, a photo of you and your buddies, an “everybody get together for a pic!” pic.
I’ve even heard it called a “social proof” dating photo–I guess the presumption being that potential dating app matches need cold hard visual evidence that you…have friends?
I can see some logic to this I guess, since having at least one friend is important to overall health and longevity and also just part of a good life. But I also know that a dating profile is not meant to be a comprehensive survey of a person (how could it be?) and that some things can (and should) be left to assumption, interpretation, and the first date.
For example, if your Hinge profile is filled with dating photos of you looking healthy, engaging, and active, it’s probably safe to assume you have at least a couple of friends.
I also get that you might want to throw a group photo in your dating profile because it’s one of the only decent photos you have of yourself. If you’re sifting through your camera roll for something, anything to throw on your dating profile, I’m talking to you.
My goal here is not to tell you that you should or shouldn't have a group photo on your dating app, but rather give you criteria so you can evaluate particular group photos and avoid accidentally putting one on your dating profile that ends up working against you.
Here's what I mean:
Dating profile group shots can be annoying...
If I'm looking at a group photo on your dating profile and I can’t tell within a split second which person is you; if I have to scan each individual face like, “is that him…?” I’m annoyed.
My time (and the time of anybody worth your time) is precious and you just made me waste several seconds “where’s Waldo-ing” one of your dating profiles photos.
Dating profile group shots can be distracting...
Here’s the scenario– I’m a straight woman looking at your (straight male) dating profile. There's a shot on there of you and a few buddies and one of them is… hella fine.
Only problem is–it’s not you. It’s your hot friend Carl.
Now, for most people (especially women), looks aren’t the most important quality when evaluating a potential partner but they are meaningful. You don’t want to give potential matches an unfavorable side-by-side of you with someone (or multiple someones) who are more attractive than you.
Imagine I’m selling you a new Honda (I love Hondas and the one I’m selling you is a good one). I wouldn’t show you a picture of the Honda parked right next to a Ferrari. That just doesn’t make any sense. You might really love that Honda but now I’ve reminded you super directly that the Ferrari exists, is better than the Honda on some important metrics, and is not available to you. It just introduces an unnecessary and unhelpful variable into the scenario.
(for the record I’m not comparing people to cars but sometimes a good analogy is in order to make a point, lol!)
Dating profile group shots can be confusing...
Alright here’s another scenario and it’s not a good one– I’m a straight female looking at your dating profile and you’ve got a group shot on there and as I’m looking at the photo it kiiiiiinda seems like that one woman with the brown hair is (or was) your girlfriend.
She may seem a little bit extra cozy with you in the photo, maybe you’ve actually got your arm around her (no matter that your other arm is around Carl), it could even be the subtle way she’s looking at you.
People have spidey-senses for this kind of thing. Their impression may not be correct but you still don’t want to activate those spidey senses because now instead of vibing on how cute you are and how you might be as my boyfriend, there’s a part of my mind that’s wondering about your previous relationship and/or whether you’re not being honest about being single etc.
So, how do you decide whether to spend valuable dating profile photo real estate on a group photo?
(swap in the gender pronouns that make sense for you & the people you like to date)
I get that this may cut way down on the number of eligible group photos you have but I promise you, it would be better to have one less photo than an annoying, distracting, or confusing group photo.
For more tips on keeping your dating profile free of photos that could be hurting your chances, check out my post on 5 photos to remove from your dating profile ASAP
And if you find you’re just not able to rustle up enough decent photos of yourself to put together a dating profile without including a net-negative group shot, maybe it’s time to consider hiring a dating photographer (psssst– me!)