Posing: Ur Doin’ It Wrong
Let’s put some major mistakes out there first. These are the things you need to stop doing:
Ladies – The Duck Face. Some of you are still doing it. For fuck’s sake, stop that shit! You think you’re being cute and flirty. You’re looking like an idiot. It comes off as someone who wishes she was half-girl, half duck, half fish and all twit1 .
Also: the Myspace Angle and boob shots. Yes, they will get you attention. Lots of attention, in fact… if that’s what you’re looking for. Unfortunately, it’s a case of “quality” vs. “quantity”. Most of the messages you’re going to get will be about your boobs. The more cleavage, the more likely that guys are going to think you’re looking for hook-ups rather than relationships. All well and good, if that’s what you’re after. However if you’re not… well, then you’re going to be spending a lot of time cleaning “Nice rack” comments out of your inbox.
Gentlemen – Quit looking at the camera. Seriously. People have done studies on this. Women have better responses to men who are looking off into the distance than to those who try to make virtual eye contact. It adds a little bit of mystery and narrative. Women get better responses from looking at the camera and smiling. Men do not. Look away. Don’t smile. And quit showing pictures of you getting smashed at the last kegger you went to. Photos of you drinking or the waaaaaacky antics you get up to when you and your buddies got drunk may be funny when you put ’em up on Facebook. In an online dating context, you look like another DudeBro… and you don’t want that.
One pet peeve: the crop. Look, I know you’re trying to make sure that you’re the focus. Maybe it’s a photo of you and your ex that you look smashing in. Maybe it’s you with some of your friends. Ultimately the context doesn’t matter. The photo of you and 1/3 of another person just looks silly. It comes off as though these are the leftover pictures from a bad break-up in your teens. Either way, you have two choices: either leave them in, or don’t use the photo. And if you’re using a photo of several people, please make sure that you’re clearly highlighted. Don’t make folks have to guess via the other photos.
And ladies, gentlemen: show your goddamn faces. If you’re not showing your face in a photo, you’d better have something fascinating to make up for it.
Quick And Simple Tips For Looking Better In Photos
To start with: bring your chin down. Aiming your chin up just draws attention away from your face and towards your neck. If you’re afraid of a double-chin (or emphasizing one that’s already there), jut your head slightly forward. If it helps, imagine a thread attached to your chin that’s pulling your face slightly forward while your shoulders remain in place. In addition, placing your tongue to the roof of your mouth helps reduce (or eliminate) any neck-flap you may have.
If at all possible, be shot at an angle. It’s a rare person who looks best with face, shoulders and hips all facing the camera. Face the camera with your body turned slightly (ladies) or face the camera and look slightly to the side (gentlemen).
While we’re at it: don’t “pose”; you’re going to come off as stiff and unnatural. If you aren’t being shot “in the moment”, be doing something. Talk to someone near the photographer, reach for a book, something.
Work on your posture. It’s a very basic thing, but good posture makes you look better. This goes doubly true for when you’re being photographed.
If you’re going to smile for a photo, either have someone tell you a joke, or repeat one in your head. You want to laugh; this will help avoid the dreaded “fake smile” that you so often see in dating profile photos.
Above everything else, you need to relax. Stiffness and discomfort will telegraph in a photo and make the viewer feel uncomfortable. Since you’re hoping someone will think you’re attractive and want to message you about meeting up, the last thing you want to do is make them uncomfortable before they even meet you.
Put It All In Context
You want more than just a head-shot in your dating profile. After all, you’re trying to find a date, not audition for the supporting role in the next season of Dexter. You need to show off your personality.
Don’t just pose; have photos that have context to them. You want to be doing cool stuff in your photos. Guys, if you’re a musician and you don’t have pictures of you staring out into the middle distance while moodily strumming your guitar and brooding2 , then you’re just cutting yourself off at the knees. Similarly, if you have photos from travelling to exotic places, then put those suckers up there!
One thing you should never underestimate is the appeal of a cute fuzzy thing. Photos with pets are like catnip to messages when you’re on dating sites.
Well… most pets. Cats, dogs, bunnies, ferrets, chinchillas, cockatoos, cockatiels, caiques, guinea pigs… all good. Exotics like hedgehogs or prairie dogs: also good. Fish: not as much, really. Fish are kinda boring. Unless you’ve got a picture of a shark leaping out of the water at you, that falls firmly under “cool stuff”. Reptiles and amphibians are generally a no-no. The number of people who’ll appreciate your bearded dragon or your African bullfrog are few and far between.
Insects are right out. And frankly… geh. More than four legs creeps me out.
One particularly controversial issue regarding dating profiles are photos with the opposite sex. Women will often tell you that they dislike seeing pictures of guys with other girls in their profile photos. I’m often told that this makes it difficult for them to imagine themselves in there instead. Paradoxically however, being seen with other attractive women is actually an attractive behavior. A man who’s used to being around other attractive women is seen as being more confident; the subtext implies that he has something of value that other women have found… so perhaps she should investigate this as well.
As a rule of thumb for guys, I would include a photo of yourself with a woman or even a few women. I would not plaster them all over your account however; you don’t want to look like you’re just trying to rack up a collection.
(And no, pictures of you posing with the booth babes at cons don’t count.)
On the other hand, guys almost never like seeing dudes in a woman’s dating profile photos. Men are a competitive and jealous bunch; most guys don’t want think about their competition when browsing online dating sites, and the last thing you want to do is remind them that there is competition.
Yes, this is a kind of double-standard. Pre-selection doesn’t really seem to exist for men.
Rotate Your Photos for Maximum Freshness
The last thing anyone appreciates when it comes to online dating is meeting someone in person and realizing that all of his or her photos were out of date… sometimes years out of date. Nobody likes feeling as though they were tricked into coming on a date under false pretenses and it’s incredibly difficult to recover from your date feeling as though he’s been defrauded.
Yes, those photos from years ago may be absolutely awesome, but unless you’ve been cryogenically frozen all that time, they’re not an accurate portrait of what you look like now. Save those for your Tumblr or your Facebook page and replace them with ones more current.
You want to switch out older photos for newer ones; if you have them, add new photos every four to six months and take the older photos down. If you don’t have much in the way of photos, then it’s time to become “the guy with a camera”. Get some shots with your friends. Have your friends take pictures of you.
And hey: New Years Eve is coming soon. New Years Eve means parties. Parties are a great time to get some more photos.