4 Photos You Need in Your Dating Profile

Posted on: March 11, 2021

Choosing photos for your online dating profile can feel kind of overwhelming. Your dating profile is basically marketing for your love life and marketing is not easy, especially when the product is...yourself. 

The good news is there are 4 shots pretty much everybody should include in their online dating profile photos. 

These dating photos have been tested and proven to be effective for both men and women on quick-swipe apps like Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge, more in-depth apps like match.com and everything in between. 

Alright here it is:

1. Headshot w/ an *authentic smile*

women over 40 dating photography

A close-up portrait of you rocking a full-on authentic smile doesn’t just need to be one of your dating profile photos. 

It needs to be the FIRST photo in your dating profile. 

The ideal dating profile headshot has your head and upper torso filling most of the frame and shows you smiling and looking straight at the camera. This type of dating profile photo gives people a really good look at your face, and especially your eyes so they have a solid sense of what you look like. 

Now, the smiling part. A smile is a universal expression of warmth and approachability so it works like magic as the first pic in your dating profile. 

But not just any smile will do. Your smile in the first photo on your online dating profile needs to feel REAL. So you actually have to get a picture that was taken when you were really smiling, not just a half-assed “say cheese” smiling where your mouth is shaped like a smile but your eyes are not in on the action.

There is one easy hack to get a dating photo with an authentic smile--have someone take your picture when you’re *actually smiling*, lol! Not smiling for the camera, just actually real-life smiling when the picture is taken (pssst--this is one of my superpowers as a dating profile photographer)

2. Full-body photo

Full body urban dating photo

Alright there can be some variations on this one (like sitting or standing) but your dating profile photos definitely need to include a shot that shows your whole head-to-toe body. 

Most of us have had the experience of meeting someone in person after seeing their photo online and feeling...surprised. 

Including a full body photo on your dating profile is a way of giving potential dates an honest glimpse of you so they aren’t left wondering how you’re shaped or unsure what to expect. 

Full body photos can be tricky to shoot yourself (definitely do not attempt this as a selfie--distortion from camera angle can make legs look hella stumpy) so it’s best to get someone else to shoot this one for you. 

3. Lifestyle photo

bookstore dating photo

The lifestyle dating photo is a chance to show off more of what you’re like and the types of things you’re into--how you enjoy spending time, where you like to hang out, hobbies, etc.. 

Dating photos that show you in places you love, doing things you love help paint a picture for potential matches about what it might be like to date you. Lifestyle dating pics show off who you are to your ideal matches and help filter out folks who wouldn’t be a good fit for you. 

golf dating profile photo

So, if you like to spend every weekend camping and hiking in the woods, showing you hiking in one of your dating profile photos will be attractive to people who also like those things and will help turn away folks who never like to get dirty, ya know? 

Anything can work here, from a photo of you sipping coffee at your favorite local cafe, browsing through old vinyl at a record store, doing crazy shit on the ski slopes, playing your guitar, cooking, shopping, etc..

4. BONUS: laughing photo

Swimming photo for dating profile
Pike Place Market dating photo

This one is a little less typical than the others but no less effective. Including a laughing pic as one of your online dating photos is almost guaranteed to elicit smiles and warm feelings from potential matches (thank you, mirror neurons!). 

A laughing photo shows potential matches that you’re FUN. 

Mid-laugh is also a really guard-down moment so it can be really leavening in a dating profile, particularly if some of your other shots feel more moody, serious or posed. 


When you’re choosing photos for your dating profile, if you can’t rustle up at least the first three of these 4 types of shots, you’re gonna need to get some new photos. 

But at least now you have something to aim for! Stay focused and if you need help, hire a dating profile photographer (pick me pick me!).

Book Your Dating Photo Session

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