The following no-nonsense list was compiled from interviews with long-time online daters and the business executives and support staff of several major online dating services. What's the bottom line? The single most important part of online dating is how you handle the simple act of representing yourself with photos.
1. Not posting a photo at all. Not posting a photo at all is arguably the most serious mistake. You must have something to hide if your photo is a blank space. Trust us, everyone thinks so. And that jaundiced phrase "ask for my picture" is sounding pretty lame these days. Describing yourself in words is lame, too.
2. Posting a photo that is more than 2 or 3 years old. If you are too much older than your picture you've committed the sin of "age shaving" online. This is guaranteed to put your relationship on shaky ground from the start and is usually an instant "deal breaker." Ever wonder why that second date never happens? It's a sure bet they won't tell you if you "age shaved".
3. Is that little figure in the background you? See # 1. If your image is so small you can't be seen clearly you must be butt-ugly or have something to hide. Lame. Get a real photo of yourself. We've already seen Yosemite - in person.
4. Compromising by using a photo with a strange or goofy expression. If the only fairly close up, kinda' clear picture you have of yourself looks like you just smelled something unmentionable, it's time for a better photo. Even prose by Shakespeare in your profile can't overcome the awful first impression created by a drunken, or worse, that dreaded "deer in headlights" look.
5. Is that you - or is the one on the left you - or is the one in the background you? Why are you kissing that strange-looking man on the cheek? Who is that man with his hand on your ass? Are those your parents? If we have to guess or if you have to explain it in your profile text, it's too late. Try to avoid posting a photo with more people than you in it, especially if the other person(s) are of the opposite sex, even if you think the photo of you is good.
6. Take off those sunglasses. See #1. Going incognito are we? Playing Joe Hollywood? Wearing sunglasses just suggests you have something to hide.
7. You at the party, head tossed back in laughter, beer in hand, having so much fun you make us puke. It's not that we believe that you get drunk and party 5 nights a week, but why should we take the chance.
8. Trusting your mother or brother to tell you which photos you should use online. Your mother thinks even your goofiest picture looks absolutely charming. Your view is biased, too. That favorite photo that you think looks really, really good might not. Instead, ask someone of the opposite sex who you find attractive which photos you should use online. That's the single most accurate measure of your photo's effectiveness. Why? Because when you post your photo online, you'll be impressing just such people - or not impressing them - a thousand times a day.
9. Showing too much skin. This will get you just the wrong responses if you're a woman, and usually no responses at all if you're a man. There are exceptions, but not many.
10. Using your crappy snapshots because you think using professional photos is "cheating". Using professional quality photos is the first thing online dating experts suggest you do if you take your online dating seriously. You certainly don't trust your health, your vision or even your haircut to an amateur. So why trust your online image to one? Making a lasting first impression with professional photos is a sensible way to put your best face forward.
Merav Knafo is the co-founder of LookBetterOnline.com. LookBetterOnline offers an easy and economical solution to the problem of sub-standard online dating photos. Available in over 6000 cities in the US and Canada, all the photographers they employ are pre-screened, are specially trained and will make you look your best! You get 12 great images that are the perfect size and resolution for your profile - and for no additional charge, their staff will recommend the best photos to use!
Do your photos do you justice? If they aren't working for you, they may be working against you.
For more information and to schedule a photo session that may change your life, visit http://lookbetteronline.com