January 02, 2024

Jewish Matchmaker Journal: The Power of Quality Photos

As a professional Jewish matchmaker, I continue to be amazed and dismayed at the low quality photos that I receive from clients. It’s clear to me that we are not able to look at our own photographs objectively and determine which are flattering and which are not. I do my best to wrangle quality photos for a profile, but the majority of singles don’t seem to understand what that looks like.

Well-curated dating profile photos cannot be overstated. Among the various elements that contribute to a compelling profile, the choice of photos stands out as one of the most important factors. Men are inherently visual creatures, but women also base the majority of their “yay” or “nay” upon whether or not the photos are flattering. This article will give some great tips on how you can optimize your dating photos to generate more interest and more dates.

Skip the Group Photos:

Reason: When it comes to online dating, clarity is key. Potential matches want to see you, not decipher who's who in a group photo. It’s easy for you to pick yourself out from a group of friends, but it’s actually not so easy for a stranger to figure out which one is you. You also risk the chance that the potential match will be more attracted to someone else in the photo. Why do you want to encourage comparisons? Group photos are a no-no in profiles.

Smile and Look into the Camera:

Reason: A warm, genuine smile is magnetic. Research indicates that smiling in photos not only makes you appear more approachable but also enhances your attractiveness. Looking directly into the camera establishes a connection with the viewer, creating a sense of intimacy. It communicates confidence and openness, qualities that are often sought after in a potential partner. Skip the photos where you are looking pensively off to the side, gazing at a serene backdrop, looking down at your guitar strumming, etc. Potential matches seek connection with the person in the photo and connection is made through the eyes - look directly at the camera and smile warmly.

Avoid Sunglasses and Hats:

Reason: Eyes are often referred to as the windows to the soul, and in the context of dating profiles, this rings especially true. Photos are all about you and what you look like. This is what the match is interested in, as shallow as it may sound. Sunglasses obscure a significant part of your face and your face is what a potential match is desperate to see. Sunglasses also hinder the ability to establish a meaningful connection through visual cues. Similarly, hats can cast shadows making it more difficult to see your facial features.Your face is the focus in dating photos; I cannot stress this enough. Choose photos where your face is front and center with no obstructions.

Crop Photos to Highlight You:

Reason: The purpose of a dating profile is to showcase you, not your scenic surroundings. Distant photos where you are a tiny icon against a stellar backdrop makes it impossible for a match to see your facial features and expressions clearly. Crop photos of you with a famous landmark or in a nature scene. The match doesn’t care that you visited the Taj Mahal. You think you’re impressing someone with your global wanderings, but that is best saved for conversation. Profile photos should provide a clear and direct view of you. Take a few seconds to crop your photos so that you take up the majority of the frame. Make sure that your face/body is the focal point and you remove all the distracting background. Close-up photos might make you feel exposed and vulnerable, but they give a detailed and intimate snapshot of you, and that is what a potential match is seeking.

Avoid Overly Casual Photos:

Reason: The majority of the photos I receive from clients are perfectly fine to send to their friends and family - but they are not appropriate for a dating profile. Showcasing your personality is important, but you must strike a balance between showing your casual, day-to-day look and being “presentable.” Hopefully you put some thought and effort into what you wear on a date. Put some thought and effort into how you present yourself in profile photos, as well. I once had a first date where the man showed up in running shorts. I didn’t accept a second date. Why? Because everyone wants to see a bit of effort - it shows respect for and elevates your date. The same is true for profile photos. Your grungy look is not the one to present to a stranger who might become your romantic interest. Your profile photos are intended to capture the attention and interest of potential partners. Chose images that reflect your personality but also show self-respect. A match wants to see that you take this process seriously and have put some effort into crafting your profile.

No Selfies, Please:

Reason: Selfies, while convenient, almost never present you at the most flattering angle or provide an accurate representation of what you look like in person. What you look like in person is exactly what a potential match is trying to figure out. A brief internet search will uncover all the ways that selfies distort your features and why. It’s about light, lens, and distance. Selfies should be put in the “too casual for dating photos” bin. It doesn’t take much effort to enlist the help of a friend or to use a timer and capture well-composed photos that showcase you in the best light and angle. This not only enhances the visual appeal of your profile, but also demonstrates a level of investment in the online dating process.

A Word About Professional Photos:

Many matchmakers insist on professional photos. I don’t, but I do understand their benefit. When I receive photos inappropriate for a dating profile, I encourage clients to set up a photo shoot with a friend. If those photos still lack “oomph”, I will suggest professional photos. I understand that professional photos are not inexpensive, but this isn’t the place for frugality. You are looking for a lifelong partner - potentially a parent to your future children. This is not the area of life to save pennies. If a matchmaker suggests professional photos, don’t get defensive and react from your ego. Understand that this suggestion is based on professional experience and the sincere desire to attract the partner of your dreams.

The journey to love in the digital realm starts with a well-crafted dating profile and at its core are carefully chosen profile photos. By following these tips, you will enhance your visual appeal while conveying authenticity and effort. This signals to potential matches that you are serious about making a meaningful connection. In the vast sea of online profiles, the art of selecting quality photos is a powerful tool. Put your best face forward (literally), and make sure that your dating profile stands out from the rest.