The online dating world is like the Serengeti. We’re all hungry and there’s no Seamless in the wild so we all have to hunt. It’s a lion eat hyena world, and your profile photo is the most important way to get an edge on all the wild creatures out there. Chris Gampat at the Phoblographer wrote a post meant for professional photographers taking pictures of people for their profile, but there is plenty of good stuff we can glean from him. (And for you shutterbugs out there, he has some great advice on equipment that is way over my head.)
Decide Who You Are
Like any proper photographer, Gampat wants to tell a subject’s story, “Ask them the typical who, what, when, where, how, and why. These questions about them start to formulate a background on them that you can piece together and translate into images.” You can ask yourself these questions too. What do you actually like to do with your time? For example, I’ve gone white water rafting once and I loved it, but that’s not what I spend my time doing. However, I bike to work everyday so that’s a more honest depiction.
Choose Clothes That Fit
Go through your wardrobe and choose clothes that fit who you are and not a version you think people want to see. A mix of casual and formal works best. “Try to involve props too if you can. Giving someone something to do can create more natural looking images,” says Gampat. Holding a book looks natural, but holding a magic wand is a bit much.
Find Your Natural Habitat
“If someone is a video gamer or loves reading books at cafes, try to set up some sort of shoot where you portray them doing this,” Gampat says. The environment should be obvious but not overshadow you as the focal point. People may be judging your face online which is awkward, but it shows confidence to have clear, well-lit portraits. And nothing is more sexy than confidence.
Strike a Pose
Either ask a friend who has some basic knowledge of framing to photograph you or use a tripod. Take your time and try out a series of poses. “Ask the person to tilt their head slightly and maybe even put their face in such a position that the nose looks like it is against the cheek,” is my personal favorite tip from the pro. Gampat suggests tilting your head or angling the chin out depending on your physique. Your profile photos should have different poses, so as not to confuse you with a mannequin.
Retouch within Reason
By now you have a solid portrait, and it’s time to edit. It’s fair to erase a pimple or three, “But don’t completely and totally retouch the skin – this isn’t a fashion magazine ad. Instead, having a minor imperfection makes them appear more human if anything,” says Gampat. In other words, keep the freckles, but lose the blemish on your nose.
An earlier version of this story misspelled “Gampat” as “Gambit” and “Gambat.” The Date Report regrets the error.