There are very few online personal sites that do not allow you to upload a photo to accompany your profile. In fact, most singles websites encourage it to optimize your online dating experience, as profiles with photos get viewed more frequently than profiles without photos.
So, any photo will do, right? Wrong. Choosing the best photo (or photos, when a site allows you to use more than one) to accompany your profile is almost as important as writing a great profile in the first place. Luckily, choosing a great photo isn't hard once you read the simple tips below.
1. The photo you post with your profile should be of you. Sounds ridiculously simple, doesn't it? However, if you browse any online dating site, you are likely to see one or more of the following: photos of models, children, pets, cartoons or artwork. If you don't see any of those types of photos, then you are using a singles website that has an excellent photo screening process.
2. The photo should be of you alone. Don't put up a group photo that leaves your potential dates to guess which person you are. The same goes for family portraits and photos where the other person has been deliberately and obviously cut out. You are the focus here and you don't want anything in your picture that detracts from that.
3. The photo should be primarily of your face and you should be facing the camera. A full-body shot is a great second photo, sure, but due to size restrictions made by most websites, the perfect primary photo is a headshot. There should be some space between the top of the photo and the top of your head and visible shoulders are fine. Facing forward is important because attraction is related to symmetry and prospective singles will want to see your entire face, not just one side.
4. The photo should not contain elements that detract from the primary object in the photo—namely, you. Try to avoid really busy backgrounds. A photo in which you're wearing large sunglasses or a big floppy hat makes it look like you have something, appearance-wise, that you're trying to hide. And avoid using doctored photos as part of your dating profile even if there are no changes to your face. Doctored photos can be very easy to spot and look dishonest.
5. The photo should be of a good quality for posting online. Good quality does not just mean in focus and light balanced, although both of those things are very important. Make sure that it is sized appropriately and at the correct DPI (usually 72) for optimum viewing. Also be aware that many dating personals sites have restrictions on file size and your photo must fall within those restrictions. Use the best quality photo you can that comes in under the maximum file size.
For secondary photos, when allowed, there are yet other considerations. If you do decide to post more than one photo on your online profile, at least one should show your entire body from head to toe. This will give other singles not only a better sense of what you look like from the neck down, but also a little bit of your sense of style. Other good choices for secondary photos are clear activity shots (where they will see you participating in something you love), shots with pets but without other people in them, and vacation photos where again you are the only person in the shot and it is not obvious that someone else has been cut out. Photos such as these not only help potential dates get a better idea of your appearance but a better idea of your personality and the things that are important to you.
The popularity of digital cameras over film cameras have made it easier than ever to get just the right photo for your internet dating profile. If you don't have a photo you love that fits the qualifications above, grab a friend and try out different looks and poses until you have the perfect photo for you.