Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A picture is worth a thousand words...

Whether we admit it or not, who we date has an awful lot to do with physical attraction. We may not build a long term relationship with someone based on looks, but it certainly has an affect on who we get to know in the first place.

Most experts would agree that your online profile photos, especially the main photo, has a huge impact on how many views your profile gets, and how many messages you receive. There are entire websites devoted to helping you take a professional photo/series of photos to enhance your online image.

If you google online dating profile pictures you can find a ton of advice on photos to use. None of it should be surprising: Choose current photos that highlight your best features; choose at least one full length shot; posed pictures are fine, but candids that show off your personality are also popular. Photos with friends are fine, but not if it's hard to tell which fabulous person is you. Avoid photos of you with members of the gender you're trying to attract - especially if your goal is to find a serious relationship.

Pretty basic, right?

Still, one of the chief complaints about online dating is the focus on looks. Women especially hate the idea that men sit there and ogle through photo after photo, deciding what profiles to look at based on nothing more than a picture. Truthfully, though - how different is that from meeting someone at a party or a bar? When someone approaches you in public - that initial attraction is not based on your sense of humor or IQ.

Listen - I'm no beauty. I don't see myself that way, and when someone asks me for my best features, my looks are always far down on the list of answers. The truth is, how you look is an important part of dating.

I've followed the major rules - my main picture is a close-up of my face, highlighting what I believe to be my best feature (my eyes). Included are a couple of full-length shots, as well as a couple of photos of me on vacation with fabulous backdrops.

Women tend to focus less on looks and more on personality traits when looking for a date. (That's a comment on a trend, not every woman, obviously.) I'm no different, and while I'd be lying if I said physical attraction was not an issue at all - I'm definitely more focused on the profile itself. A guy can be as attractive as they come, but if the profile and/or emails suck - forget about it.

That said - one of my major rules is I won't consider a profile without a picture. In fact, when a site allows me to control the setting, I won't let someone without a picture even send me an email.

Which is a mystery to some. I've been challenged on that before; people have questioned how important profiles really are to me if I'm so focused on a photo. Well, I'll tell you a story tomorrow....but first, I'm wondering what your thoughts are? Would you engage someone online if they had no photo?


  1. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say the times I've engaged in communication with guys who had no pictures it was kind of like...um...how do I put this nicely? Well, let's just say I shouldn't have. And I agree, a guy can have the best pictures ever, but if he can't spell or doesn't know how to write a complete sentence, he can just keep moving right along ;)

  2. It's simple. If they don't have a photo up it makes me wonder what they're hiding and I'm less likely to put any stock in anything they tell me.

  3. Autumn and CuteElla pretty much said exactly what I was going to say, so I'll just say ... yeah, what they said. :)

  4. Tomorrow's story explains why a picture is preferred. There's some scary cooties out there in the world, I tell ya! ;)

  5. While I was on Match, I didn't bother with the no-photo people. I feel like you and I have a lot of the same criteria, though, from reading your other posts (ie. some1). I refuse to date "some1" who can't even take the time to capitalize their Is. I mean, really, how much effort does it take to simply press the shift key at the same time you are holding down the I key? This baffles me. Also, bad grammar is a turn-off. There are things that are forgivable, but being an English teacher makes me a bit more picky about this, I realize. I just feel like there are some grammar errors that are just a result of pure laziness, such as the "I" issue.

    Three of my five Match dates were with guys who weren't particularly attractive in their pictures. It's not that they were ugly by any means; I just wasn't overly attracted to them. I figured meeting them in person to get a better sense of who they were was only fair. This, unfortunately, didn't help their cause, lol.

    I don't think taking pictures into consideration is unreasonable at all. I, myself, refuse to date any guy who thinks it's a good idea to send me a shirtless mirror shot of himself posing while flexing his muscles. For me, this is a huge turn-off.

  6. Ohhhh - Lonelily, you should check out the Best of the Worst posts for sure. Some1 was just one of them...the abs guy was funny, too. :)

    *sigh* Yes, I think grammar and spelling and using actual words is way more important than looks. Yes, there needs to be attraction - but if you can't even find the shift key (hello - there are two??!!) or the space bar, it won't matter to me how good you are to look at.