Phil reached out to me after the end of a long term relationship. He had profiles on a couple of dating apps but they weren't turning up many matches. So, he did some introspecting (I love this about Phil, he's super curious and self-aware), and decided the problem wasn't him, it was his dating profile pictures. When he took a critical look at his dating app photos he realized "my photos suck", lol!
Phil hired me to be his dating photographer well before he had clarity on exactly how he wanted to present himself in the dating world. He knew he needed better dating profile photos, and he needed someone to help him sort out what that meant for him--what that would look like. So we rolled up our sleeves and started scheming.
A long-ish phone call and several emails later it was clear to me that Phil is a ridiculously interesting, complex and multi-passionate guy. We had LOTS to work with but needed focus. Physicians assistant by day, NYC in his blood, avid climber, parkour enthusiast, playful with his wardrobe, theatre nerd... and the list goes on.
As Phil and I got to know each other a plan for his photoshoot emerged. We crafted a dating photo session custom-tailored to show him off in his favorite types of environments, doing some of things that he loves most.
Here's where we landed...
Photoshoot Location: Capitol Hill + Seattle Bouldering Project
We started Phil's dating photo shoot at Capitol Coffee Works and did some last-minute wardrobe sorting in the back of his car (this outfit will be second, same pair of pants, then we'll switch to the jeans and work our way through these three shirts, etc..)
We kept ourselves busy exploring Capitol Hill for the first 3-ish hours (near Neumos, Chophouse Row, around Cal Anderson Park, on Broadway). Phil feels most at home and most himself in NYC so we were drawn to places with gritty urban vibes-- alleys, entries and hidden nooks bursting with color, texture, and graffiti.
Then we hopped in the car and made the 10-ish minute drive to the Seattle Bouldering Project on Poplar so Phil could show off some of his climbing prowess. The moment he put his climbing shoes on it was clear that this man *loves* to climb. He turned into a kid in a candy shop!
The sun was out for us, there was never a dull moment in the conversation, and the shoot was just really really FUN.
I caught up with Phil about a week after delivering his new dating photos. Here's what he had to say...
Andrea: Why did you decide to hire a professional dating photographer?
Phil: I'm recently single and when I decided to jump back into the dating world I realized I didn’t have recent pictures of myself. I wanted photos for my dating profiles that really captured who I am, my interests, style and are an accurate reflection of who I am.
Andrea: Dude, that's a situation I hear from a lot of my clients--newly single and all of your recent photos have your ex in them. Ok so, what made you decide to hire me in particular as your dating photographer?
Phil: Well, I found you through a google search. The minute I looked through your website and your portfolio I knew you were the dating photographer for me. Man, your portfolio is amazing!
It was clear you're an incredibly talented photographer; I knew you could capture my personality and make the pics aesthetically awesome at the same time. Plus...you just seemed cool!
Andrea: Aw shucks, thank you! This feels like fishing for compliments but fuckit, go on. So, what was the process like, leading up to your dating photo session?
Phil: The process was so much fun and way more relaxing than I thought it would be! In the beginning, we had several phone conversations where we talked about my life, my interests, and what I wanted to convey with my dating pictures.
I wanted help picking the best outfits to wear for my dating photos so we did a Zoom Style Consult before the shoot - you have a terrific eye and great fashion sense and I felt really great about the outfits we put together.
I appreciated that you made sure I understood you workflow and the schedule we’d follow on shoot day so I knew what to expect.
By the time the photo shoot happened, we had been talking for more than a month - it felt like you knew me so well by that point that the quality of the pictures was a foregone conclusion. I knew you would capture me in the best way possible.
Andrea: What was the shoot itself like / how did you feel while I was taking your picture?
Phil: The shoot itself was such a blast! It was like a hilariously awesome first date.
From the minute we met you made me feel totally at ease and I was laughing and smiling pretty much the whole time.
All of the shooting locations were planned perfectly with great lighting and interesting backgrounds. You also knew exactly how to handle outfit changes in a way that allowed us to maximize the time spent taking pics.
For being a guy who is a bit shy about having his picture taken, you put me totally at ease - I never felt awkward at all.
We shot on Capitol Hill, which is my old neighborhood, and you let me take the lead, showing you some of my favorite spots there, while also making sure we stayed on schedule.
And, you made sure my own creativity and fun side came out: you had ideas, but then let me run on my own too. I love rock climbing and parkour, so when I saw a stairway and some railings to play on, I started climbing and we ended up getting some fantastic action shots!
From start to finish, it was clear that you were all about making sure the whole shoot is spontaneous, natural and authentic.
Honestly...you made me feel like a rockstar the entire time.
Andrea: Fuck YES dude! You *looked* like a rock star. So, fast forward about a week--when you got your gallery and saw your new dating photos for the first time, what was your reaction?
Phil: Seeing the pictures for the first time...WOW. I was speechless.
The first picture I saw was the one that I ended using as my main profile picture.
I think it’s the most flattering picture anybody has ever taken of me.
I just look so...cool...in it.
I loved that you put together a top 12 and top 25 list of my best pictures, and almost without exception I agreed with your choices!
Seeing pics of me that are flattering is a huge confidence booster, which is something I didn’t expect to experience when we started the process.
Andrea: omg right?! A great picture of yourself can be a gigantic ego boost, I've experienced it myself!
Alright, million dollar question--What has happened since your updated your dating profiles with your new pics?
Phil: Here’s where the results speak for themselves!
I made a brand new dating profile - In a little less than a week I’ve gotten 70+ matches! Only a few of these were initiated by me.
You sent me the pictures in the early afternoon and I went on my first date that same night! My dating calendar has never been so full!
The difference is night and day between previous profiles and my current one - your pictures have made meeting new matches almost effortless. This investment has been worth every penny and then some.
Andrea: What would you say to other guys who are considering hiring me as their dating photographer?
Phil: Andrea is the shit. Period.
An incredibly talented photographer. Equally as important, though:
she knows exactly how to capture you in a way that portrays the real you - the you that you want to show to the dating world.
Her biggest goal is to make sure you’re happy with the process and the end results and you feel great throughout the whole experience. If you’re considering hiring her...do it. You won’t regret your decision.
Andrea: Well goddamn! Now you've got me blushing! Thank you for your kind words, Phil and for sharing your experience. You were a total delight to shoot with and just a gem of a person.
. . .
Wanna be like Phil and level up your online dating game? I'm ready when you are!