How Professional Dating Photography Works

Putting together a collection of dating photos that will capture the attention of high-quality matches on dating apps can be overwhelming when you're doing it on your own.

When you hire me as your dating profile photographer I don't just show up and take a bunch of pictures of you. 

I'll walk you step-by-step through the entire process of creating online dating photos that show off your most authentic, most magnetic self. 

From choosing what to wear, to looking confident on camera, to selecting the best dating photos for your new and improved online dating profile -- you don't have to figure it out, just follow my lead.

Here's a peek at the online dating photography process, from first phone call to final photos...

First, we get to know each other

Step 1 is to schedule a phone call so we can get a feel for each other. You want to know that I'm the right dating photographer for you and I want to be sure that what you want and need is what I offer--we're looking for that mutual "hell yeah!"

Before our call you'll fill out a quick (<5min) dating photo questionnaire with some basic info about yourself so we're not starting totally cold. We'll chat for around 20 minutes about where you're at with online dating, where you want to be, and how we can help bridge that gap with high quality dating photography.  

This is also when you can ask me any questions you have about the dating photography process. *I try really hard to answer all the most common questions people have about dating photography on this site so if you're starting to get serious about some new dating photos, it's worth taking a look at the pricing and FAQ pages.

By the end of the call we'll know whether we're right for each other and if we are, and if you're ready (!!), we'll start talking details like what length of dating photoshoot is best for you and how soon you want to schedule your online dating photography session.    

Next, we figure out which, if any of your current online dating photos are worth keeping.

This is where we roll up our sleeves and get real about your current online dating photos -- how bad is it? We are all notoriously bad judges of our own photos so it helps to have an outside expert come in and assess the dating photography situation.

This step is important because your current dating photos (or lack thereof) will guide our strategy for your professional dating photoshoot -- how long does your dating photoshoot need to be to get the kind of variety you need? What kinds of dating photos do you need the most for an online dating profile that shows you off in a dynamic, multi-dimensional way? Do you need more close-up headshots and portraits to show off your face and eyes? Hobby and activity photos giving a glimpse into your real life? Some of each?

For example, if you're rock climbing guy and you already have a cool rock-climbing photo, that frees us up during your dating photography session to focus on other parts of your lifestyle and personality so we can show you off in a well-rounded way.

It might be that you legitimately have no decent photos to work with (this is especially true if you've had a significant change to your appearance). If this is the case, this part of your dating photography process will be short and you'll be  best off with a 4hr dating photoshoot so we can build your online dating profile from the ground up.

But I do find that many people, with a little guidance, can rustle up at least one photo from their camera roll that would be great in their online dating profile when mixed with the kinds of top-notch dating photos we'll shoot together. 

Once we've got our overall strategy for your new dating photos dialed in, we're ready to start cooking up plans for your online dating photography session.
When Kyle reached out he told me he was ready to get serious about online dating so he can meet his future wife. He said he already had some pretty solid dating photos. He was right!
Kyle's before dating photos
 3 of Kyle's dating photos stood out as definite keepers:
Here's the run-down from left to right:

--Dance floor photo: SO. FUN. Women on dating apps will see this and know for damn sure what kind of wedding date Kyle is; not a wallflower, Kyle clearly likes to get down on the dance floor.

--Sexy captain photo: I mean...Kyle has a great body so there's that but this photo doesn't have show-off vibes like "look at my body 💪🏼". Instead, it feels like a fun off-the-cuff moment with friends somewhere beautiful. This kind of dating photo works overtime because it simultaneously shows Kyle in great shape and likes adventures PLUS it's a conversation starter: women who see his dating profile might message him to ask--was this in the mediterranean? what's the story behind it? Kyle can answer and boom! Here goes a conversation and he's on his way to a first date.

--Kyle + happy climbing dog: Cuteness level 10/10. Both Kyle and the dog seem completely content and in the moment, living that good life. This dating photo will be like a magnet for outdoorsy dog-loving babes 😍

Now it's time to plan your unique dating photography session

Your online dating photoshoot will be built entirely around you. The planning is easy – all you have to do is fill out another questionnaire (this one dives a lot deeper than the first but usually takes less than 10min). In it I ask you stuff like what types of places do you like to spend time? What kind of things do you enjoy doing when you're not working - for fitness, for fun, for entertainment?  

Don't worry, you don't need to have adventure hobbies for your dating photos to stand out to your ideal matches on dating apps. If you love sipping tea and playing chess and perusing the aisles of Costco we can work with that! 

I’ll draw from your answers on this dating photoshoot planning questionnaire to craft a completely personal, customized dating photography session that builds on your best existing dating photos or starts from square one if you’ve got none. Our plan will incorporate locations and activities that let us show you off in a variety of chill, natural environments, doing things you enjoy.

If there is something that is integral to you that might be a deal-breaker to some people (like riding a motorcycle or hunting or golf), I will encourage you to consider incorporating that in your dating photoshoot. Why? Because if you've hired me as your dating photographer you're probably looking for deep, long-term connection which means being honest about who you are is winning strategy in the long run -- you'll avoid wasting your time on people who aren't right for you.   

Instead of coming across as attractive in a general way (or like you're trying to hack the dating game by acting like a fake model), your new dating photography will show off the authentic you and make it ridiculously easy for your ideal matches to start falling in love with you and imagine being with you in real life.

We might begin with a beer at a brewery in Ballard, then explore the shops and alleys along Market St, then pick up your dog and head to Golden Gardens for some beach vibes. You get the idea. The longer the dating photo session, the more locations & activities we can mix in, like we did during Phil's 4hr Dating Photo Session on Capitol Hill.
We decided what Kyle needed most was:

- some nice headshot photos that show off his face and his eyes, to use as the first photo in his dating profile

- some shots with date vibes! Kyle in clothes & settings where he might take a date (making it super easy for babes to imagine being on  a date with him!)

- a photo of him with his camera because he's super into photography (Kyle and I have this in common! 🤗 ) plus a book since he's an avid reader.
Kyle booked the 2hr Level Up dating photography session.

Kyle is a die-hard pour-over coffee fan so starting his dating photoshoot at a coffeeshop was a no-brainer. On his dating photoshoot planning questionnaire he shared that he lives in Issaquah and generally likes suburban vibes; he also loves being near water and especially around marinas.
We settled on Bellevue for Kyle's dating photoshoot location -- not the swanky high-risey part of Bellevue, old Bellevue, along Main St. with those suburban vibes and lots of visual variety -- shops, restaurants, the park, and a marina just a few blocks away!
Before your dating photoshoot, I'll give you a little bit of homework...
You'll have some homework to prepare for your dating photoshoot but I'll make it super easy with instructions, check-lists, and pictures. At no point during the dating photography planning process will you be left unsure of what to do because I'll always be one step ahead of you making sure you know what I need from you and when and how. All you've gotta do is trust me and follow directions.

The biggest bit of homework is going to be planning what to wear for your dating photography session. To show you as a 3-dimensional person and give people a really robust feel for you and your lifestyle, we're going to photograph you in many different outfits and settings. Don't worry-- if deciding what to wear for your new dating photos feels daunting, you’ve got help:

DIY You'll get a detailed packing list that walks you step-by-step through planning your online dating photography wardrobe using clothes you already own and feel good in. Just follow the list and you’ll be golden.

A little Help: If you want some help putting together outfits from your existing wardrobe, we can schedule a Zoom Style Consult to plan your dating photography outfits together (if you're doing a 4hr photoshoot, this comes included 😊).

A lotta Help – If you’re not loving what’s in your closet, hiring a professional dating photographer could be a good reason to take action on that long overdue wardrobe update (not just for your new dating photos but for dating (!!) and for your day-to-day life in general). If this is you, I'll put you in touch with Tannya, my favorite stylist, and she'll set you up with clothes that you look and feel great in.

Bottom line on preparing for your dating photography session: you don't have to figure any of it out on your own. I got you.
what to wear for dating profile photos
Kyle and I did a Zoom Style Consult the week before his photoshoot. We went through his closet and put together a variety of outfits for his dating photography session.  We wanted a semi-dressy date-night look for Kyle but couldn't find one he felt great in (he had an old suit jacket that we liked but it didn't work with jeans and a full suit felt too formal). I recommended the brand Rodd & Gunn and Kyle made a quick run to Nordstrom over the weekend to pick up a beautiful, casual blazer to wear with jeans:
Next up: your online dating photoshoot!
Let's get this out of the way right off the bat: you don't need to know anything about how to pose for a camera to come across as relaxed and confident (and fun and deep and warm and engaging...) in your new dating photos. That's my job.

When we meet up for your dating photography session, think of it like being on a fun walking date with your new, super chatty, kinda bossy, upbeat new friend (with an unusual amount of outfit changes, lol!).

As your dating photographer, I will coach you through poses and movements that keep you present in the moment, in your body, and out of your head. I'll coax out confident posture, warm and inviting body language, and genuine facial expressions so you never look like you're saying cheese or performing “looking cool” for your online dating profile photos.

Plus, we'll be having a meandering conversation about all sorts of things having nothing to do with the photoshoot (did I mention I'm chatty?) so you may even forget at times that you're having your picture taken (I'm not making this up--people tell me this all the time!)

My focus is capturing you *as you are*. Authentic you. Relaxed you. In-the-moment feeling-good you. And my secret sauce for making this happen is creating an environment and a connection with you where you genuinely ARE relaxed and in-the-moment and feeling good.

By the end of your dating photography session, I'd bet money you're going to say something along the lines of "that was fun!". Because it is.
Then... ta-da! You get you brand spankin' new online dating photos (spoiler alert: you look gooooood 🤩)
After your dating photography session you’ll receive a curated gallery of all the best photos, edited and ready to download and use on your new and improved online dating profiles -- you'll be locked and loaded for a transformational profile upgrade on Hinge, Bumble, Match, even LinkedIn & Instagram! *And I do recommend updating LinkedIn in particular, here's why.

In your dating photography gallery you’ll get a mix of portraits and candid shots that show you off in many different lights– close-up headshots, full body dating photos, smiling and serious, standing & seated, around town, being sporty, being fun, being YOURSELF.

In fact, you’ll have so many great dating photos in your gallery, you might feel overwhelmed like “GAH! How do I choose which photos to use on my dating profile?” Don’t worry–I’ve also made you a super tightly-curated collection of what I think are your best-of-the-best, cream-of-the-crop, show-stopper, fan-me-I'm-in-love dating photos; shots that combine with your existing dating photos (if you're keeping any) to show you off in the most authentic, attractive, dynamic, magnetic way.

And here's the thing-- not only do your new online dating photos look good, they FEEL good. Sure, you're ready to update your dating profile and start matching with people you're excited about on dating apps, but whether you expected it or not, you're also getting a nice healthy boost in confidence. 

When you see the real everyday you (not a made-up transformed, trying-to-be-cool you) looking this great in photos, it's going to be really hard not to stand up a little straighter and walk a littler taller. Just like I told you from the beginning of this whole damn process-- you are attractive and lovable *as you are*. Now you're ready to put yourself out there and start meeting people who whole-heartedly agree. 
Kyle's dating photography gallery included 150+ new dating photos! Here's a sneak peek into his "Top 20" album:
Check out Kyle's new Hinge profile photos! He chose 3 dating photos from his professional dating photography session, and mixed them with the 3 best photos he had from before: He looks handsome, he looks real, he looks totally genuine and approachable, and he looks FUN. 
Sound like a good plan?
If you're more excited than nervous (nerves are normal), I'm ready when you are.
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