According to a Match.com survey, there are 96 million single people in the United States--that's about one third of the population! Despite these great odds (one out of every three people you bump into is single!), a lot more people are turning to online dating to find a partner. If you feel like you're going through a dating drought, we've got some expert tips on how to take a profile photo that'll get results.
Be honest, what was the first thing your eyes went to on this page? As much as we'd like to think it's our thrilling prose, it was definitely the hotness that is Robert Pattinson. Dating site OkCupid has a great blog called OkTrends where they analyze how and why certain profile aspects perform better than others. They found that, "No matter how much time you spend polishing your profile, honing your IM banter, and perfecting your message introductions, it's your picture that matters most."
According to Petra Strand, creator of Pixi Beauty, you should look for a picture in which you're wearing "colors that suit your skin tone and are naturally flattering." Tan and darker-skinned people look great in bright colors like peach, turquoise and pastels. People with lighter skin, like Nicole Richie, look gorgeous in jewel-toned clothing. Try to stay away from black or white. Black looks overly somber, and white can make you look washed out.
If you're taking a photo specifically for your profile, "Use makeup to highlight your best features and don't be afraid to use make up for a little self expression. For example, if you adore a vintage look, then use a little sweep of black liner across your upper lid," Petra Strand suggests. Go for "makeup that enhances your nature and makes you feel confident," like Lauren Conrad's signature cat eye. And don't overdo it!
If you're taking a photo specifically for your profile, don't forget about your hair! "Go with a better version of how you would 'naturally' style it," Petra Strand advises. There's no need to get your hair professionally done; guys are actually intimidated by overly done, intricate hairstyles. Lucy Hale's laid-back hairstyle gives the impression that she's fun and approachable.
OkTrends found the female facial expression that highest success rate (read: most "winks," messages and IMs) is "flirting towards the camera." Strand also suggest pictures in which you are, "Showing some personality, like a big genuine smile--even if the pics aren't 'perfect' in the way they've been shot." She adds, "In a way, we 'read' people's expressions and can project onto their image--bright and breezy keeps it natural."
Most dating sites let you have more than one picture, so try to post a variety of photos that show your interests and personality--maybe even a few candid shots. "Sometimes the pictures that are not posed, but catch you looking relaxed and carefree are the best. For example, a shot of you outside a bistro in Paris. Don't shy away from saying something about 'you,' like your love of travel, nature, etc., with your profile picture," Petra Strand says.
"Natural light is perfect--it looks relaxed and impromptu," Strand says. "Harsh florescent lighting makes you look washed out." OkTrends has other helpful photography tips, including that using a flash adds seven (!!) years. Make sure you're the focus of the picture, not the pyramids behind you. Try to use a decent camera, not your cell phone; however, they have found that "iPhone users have more sex." What you do with that information is totally up to you.
Sometimes the most obvious things are the easiest to overlook, right? For example, even if you look like Minka Kelly in it, don't post that picture of you and your best guy friend (or ex-boyfriend) without cropping him out of it first. Don't look upset in your pic--what you think is your best "pouty model face" might be perceived by profile viewers as an off-putting scowl. Finally, if you're unsure about a photo, get a second opinion from a friend you trust!