When you’re building an online dating profile, the photos you select have a big impact on your perceived desirability. We all know that posting a selfie you took in the bathroom is pretty creepy, but going too far in the other direction may also scare off potential dates. If you go overboard with a professionally lit studio portrait that looks like it was made for LinkedIn, you lose the chance to show your personality. So what’s a man to do? Turn to science, of course. Since online dating is so universally appealing, there have been thousands of research studies on all aspects of catching a date online. Here is a simple look at what research says is the best online dating profile photo.

Tips for Guys: Best Photos for an Online Dating Profile

Photo Tips for Men:

  • Don’t post a selfie.Selfie photos of men get 8% fewer messages than snapshots taken by someone else. Have a friend take a photo.
  • Take photos outside.Studies show that women are 19% more likely to respond positively to a photo of a guy taken outside rather than inside. With women, it’s the reverse (indoor photos are more preferred). So men, if you have 2 or 3 photos in your dating profile, make sure at least one of them is taken outside.
  • Go solo.Having even one extra person in a photo dropped the number of messages a profile receives by 42%. The worst offender: large groups of friends drinking.
  • Don’t sweat the facial expression—be yourself.Smiling or not smiling is equally fine for men’s online dating profiles. Studies show that women respond well to both. You can look a little flirty, but it’s important that you don’t look like you’re flirting with someone just outside the camera shot. If you’re going to look flirty, make sure you’re flirting with the camera.
  • Don’t use the MySpace angle.While men respond well to photos of a woman in that coy camera shot (taking a selfie with the camera just above you at arm’s length), women don’t rate photos of men as being as attractive in this angle. The MySpace angle has become a feminine thing, apparently.
  • Skip the suit and tie.Studies show men can safely save this for a fancy night out, since women don’t respond as often (or as positively) to a guy who’s in shirt and tie as to a guy in normal clothes (a simple shirt and jeans) or shirtless.
  • Post at least one “action shot” in your profile.This doesn’t have to be you jumping hurdles, but it should be a photo of you involved in some interesting activity (the key word here is activity—sitting on the couch or working on the computer doesn’t count). This kind of shot generates one of the highest percentages of conversations that turn into actual face-to-face meetings.
  • If you’re not going to show your face, be unique and cool.There are some really creative shots out there that don’t show the face (like when you’re scuba diving, or wearing a motorcycle helmet), and these shots get a lot of response as long as they’re unusual enough (or sexy enough) that they spark people’s interest.
  • Good backgrounds matter.Skip the cluttered bar or messy bedroom. Go for simple and non-distracting, as a general rule.
  • Get a full-body photo in your profile.Having at least one full body photo in your online dating profile can increase messages by 200%.

 

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