The Match Lab

7 Best Photos for Your Dating Profile

We conducted an analysis to discover the best dating profile pictures.


Here at The Match Lab, we study the science of online dating.

After analyzing data from millions of dating app users, we’ve discovered which dating profile pictures succeed and which ones fail.

Here are our best dating profile picture tips that will get you more likes and better matches.

The 7 Best Dating Profile Pictures

1. A High-Quality Headshot

Including a high-quality headshot in your dating profile can make the difference between scoring a first date vs. getting a swipe left.

Smiling and making eye contact with the camera makes you look more inviting and often plants the seeds for sparking chemistry and attraction.

Using a flattering headshot as your first picture for a dating profile helps you form an instant connection and boosts the chances of someone wanting to match with you.

Read: Study Reveals What Women Really Want on Bumble vs Tinder vs Hinge

2. A Full Body Shot

When evaluating which pictures to use for a dating profile, a headshot is a good start. But you also should include some full-body shots.

Full-body shots help your dating profile look more authentic, genuine, and interesting. They also give a full view of what you look like, which is something that most potential partners want to know before deciding to meet up with you in person.

Ideally, include at least one photo that shows your entire body, head to toe, in your dating profile.

It doesn’t have to be a boring or overly posed photo. There are plenty of candid ways to show a body shot.

A photo of you hiking, playing sports, playing with a pet, or showing off a nice outfit are some types of photos that can make for great full body shots that look natural and authentic.

Choose one that makes you feel comfortable and confident.


3. Candid Photos

Your dating profile isn’t Instagram. People aren’t there for the most aesthetic, trendy shot. They’re looking for real connections.

Our research shows that candid photos are better than staged photos for your dating profile. The best dating profiles look natural and authentic. They offer a glimpse into your daily life and show off your personality.

Read: 4 Reasons Why Confidence is So Attractive

4. A Genuine Smile

Smiles are a big reason why candid photos are so captivating.

People find smiles to be attractive and welcoming in photos.

With candid photos, you’re more likely to show a Duchenne smile, which will instinctively make you appear more authentic, fun, and attractive. Duchenne smiles are the ones that go all the way to your eyes, creating those natural little wrinkles. They’re very easy to spot compared to the posed or fake smiles in a lot of staged photos.

So, when deciding which photos to use in your dating profile, it’s best to choose photos where you’re smiling.

Opt for photos with natural smiles and attention toward, or near, the camera.


5. A Photo with a Pet

Pets are an excellent feature to include in your dating photos. Whether you have a dog, cat, or another furry friend, it’s time to show them off in one of your photos.

60% of people say that they are more interested in matching with someone who has a dog in their dating profile photo. Including your pet can make you seem more attractive, emotionally in tune, and responsible.

Photos of pets can also attract other people who also have or like pets. A photo with a pet is a great conversation starter and can make an easy suggestion for a first date. “I bet our dogs would get along great. How about a walk around a park together with them?”


Read: 10 Reasons Why You Keep Having Bad First Dates

6: Travels and Hobbies

Show off your playful, passionate, and adventurous sides by showcasing your travels and hobbies in your dating photos.

Travel photos are great for dating profiles. Images with classic historical or cultural landmarks can draw people in, as can photos showing scenic natural sights. Travel is attractive and exciting. It sparks conversation and connection.

If you don’t travel as much, consider including more photos of your unique hobbies and interests instead. Some examples include:

  • Volunteering
  • Sports
  • Cooking/ baking
  • Arts & crafts
  • Photography
  • Videography
  • Outdoor activities
  • Performing
  • Playing a musical instrument

7. A Photos of Yourself Dressed Up

Include a photo of you dressed up in nice clothes. Dressed-up pictures are perfect for your dating profile.

People find nice style attractive. Dressing up in formal wear for a classy event shows your sense of style, sophistication, and status.

When someone sees you dressed up, they can imagine themselves as your next plus-one. It starts putting profile viewers in the mindset of seeing you as a potential partner.


Read: The Top 56 Best Bumble Bios for Men

Should You Wear Glasses or Sunglasses in Dating Profile Pictures?

There’s no need to hide glasses from your dating profile if you typically wear them. If you wear glasses, include some photos with them and others without. This way, people see what you look like both ways.

When it comes to photos of you wearing sunglasses, one or two is okay to include but don’t include more than that.

The best “sunglasses pics” are usually the ones accompanied by a stunning view of nature or some fun outdoorsy activity that you enjoy. Of course, sunny weather calls for sunglasses, so these photos will look natural and candid. See if you have any candid travel photos or outdoor photos with sunglasses on and consider using those in your dating profile.

Be careful not to fill your entire dating profile with sunglasses photos. Sunglasses block your eyes. Eye contact is vital for connection, and even in photos, it’s important. Sunglasses make it difficult for people to connect with you, and they can make you seem emotionally unavailable.

So, a few photos with sunglasses outside are okay, but keep it to a minimum. Show off those beautiful eyes and make it clear that you’re looking for a connection.

Have Photo Variety

Pictures in an online dating profile need variety. Include several types of photos in your dating profile to showcase your full lifestyle and personality.

Choose photos that show off different aspects of who you are. Add photos that show different features of what you look like and how you live life.

One great way to do this is with photos that show off your hobbies, interests, and passions. Love cooking and taking culinary classes? Include a photo of you at a class. Play a sport recreationally or at a higher level? Include an athletic photo.

Variety helps bring your profile to life, and it’s one of the best dating profile tips out there. People want to see who you are, not just how you look. Give people a taste of what it would be like to spend time with you.

In addition to a variety of photo content, you want to use a variety of photo styles. For example, use photos with different angles, distances from the camera, etc. Include a mix of action, face, and full-body shots. This helps your profile look more dynamic and genuine.

Read: When to Ask for a Second Date: How Long Should You Wait?

Use Photos that are Authentic and Genuine to You

You want to put your best foot forward with your dating profile photos, and you want to do so while being true to yourself.

Use photos that really look like you. Don’t exaggerate your appearance or features. It can be tempting to edit photos, but it will only hurt your dating success if you photoshop your appearance.

Pick photos that are genuine and true to your appearance. They should be recent (taken within the past 2 years) and honest.

Avoid Selfies on Dating Apps

A selfie here or there isn’t a death sentence for your dating profile, but generally, it’s not the best type of photo to include. They can feel forced and inauthentic. Overall, avoid selfies and stick with photos taken by someone else, even if that “someone else” is a tripod.

In general, limit selfies in your dating profile. Here’s why:

  • They can look conceited, especially very “try hard” selfies
  • They distort your face, making you seem less attractive
  • They may make you seem socially isolated
  • Basic selfies don’t share anything about your interests, personality, or life

Of course, there are exceptions. Some life moments don’t include a photographer. If there’s an awesome selfie from a cool trip or once-in-a-lifetime event you want to show, then consider using it in your profile. But if you do use that one awesome selfie, don’t use any more than that.

Read: After How Many Dates Should You Kiss?

Avoid Group Photos on Dating Apps

Including one or two photos with other people in your dating profile can help you appear more social and balanced. However, having too many group photos in your profile will confuse people. The last thing you want is for someone to match with you because they think you are one of your friends. People should not have to struggle to figure out which one you are.

Your first dating profile photo should not include other people; it should include only you, alone. That way, viewers can instantly see who you are and what you look like.

If you use group photos in your dating profile, don’t use photos with too large of a group. More than just a few people gets too distracting. Instead, consider photos with up to three or four people total. Ideally, pick ones where you stand out a bit and/or are the focus of the photo.

More Photo Tips for Your Dating Profile

What makes one photo better than another for your online dating profile? The actual quality of the photo also matters a lot. Here are some tips for the most visually appealing photos:

  • If the app you’re using allows multiple aspect ratios, choose photos with an aspect ratio between 3:4 and 4:3
  • Opt for well-lit photos without shadows over the face
  • Use some photos with good focus, like those taken in portrait mode
  • Select recent photos, no more than 2 years old
  • Each photo should include a unique outfit
  • Smile in the pictures to look friendly and approachable
  • Avoid messy backgrounds

Worst Dating Profile Photos (Avoid These Mistakes)

What photos should you avoid in your dating profile photos? Keep these dating profile tips in mind:

  • Don’t use gym selfies (or bathroom selfies) – These come across as conceited and appearance-obsessed. Even if your muscles look nice, selfies typically don’t look the best. A great alternative is an action shot in the gym or a nice pre-workout photo someone else snaps of you.
  • No old photos – Older photos tend to have lower quality. Not to mention, we change a lot over time in how we look. You may have some older pictures you love, but stick to using recent photos (within the last two years).
  • Don’t add photos you aren’t in – A common social media trend is a “photo dump” that may include natural scenery and/or inanimate objects. Leave these trends for social media, not dating profiles. You should be in all of your photos.
  • Don’t use fake lighting – While there are exceptions, flash photos tend not to be the best option. Instead, stick with photos taken in natural light. These are easy to get if you don’t have any, just head outside or find an indoor area with good natural lighting.

Discover the Best Photos For YOUR Dating Profile:

After years of research, we at The Match Lab have developed a dating photo analyzer that uses an algorithm to select any person’s best profile pictures for any dating app, whether you’re using Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, OkCupid, Match, eharmony, or any other app.

If you’d like to find out which are your best photos to use in your dating profile, give our dating photo analyzer a try. Just upload some photos of yourself, and our algorithm will reveal which photos you should be using in your dating profile and the ideal order you should place them in.

Related articles:

15 Best Questions to Ask on Hinge (And Why They Work)

40 Funny Hinge Prompt Answers (for Guys & Women)

Which is the Best First Date? Coffee vs Drinks vs Dinner

5 Signs of Chemistry on a First Date: How to Know It Went Well

Recent Posts