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The Do’s and Don’ts for Choosing Dating Profile Pictures

Make some progress on your resolution to “date more.”

Crafting the perfect dating app profile is no simple feat. Behind every seemingly effortless profile is hours of critique and care. If you want to be successful on the dating apps, you’ve gotta have good prompts and even better dating profile pictures.

Swipe-worthy profile pics are crucial in a world of endless possibilities. Your funny Hinge prompt answers may get a laugh, but the photos are really what will make prospects pause their swiping.

The best dating app pictures tell a story about you. Your prospects should be able to scroll through your profile and have endless ideas for conversation starters. Make it easy for them to slide in the DMs with irresistible photos.

Dating Profile Pictures: Dos & Don’ts 

1. DO: Include at least one high-quality solo shot.

A good solo shot is crucial. Not only is it the best way to show off your good looks, but it also allows prospects to definitively know which one you are.

Make this your first featured photo so fast swipers can quickly make the correct choice (which is to swipe right, obviously).
Dating Profile Pictures - high quality photo of woman smiling

 

2. DON’T: Make your entire profile solo shots.

As much as we love a hot feature photo, it’s kind of a red flag when you stumble across a profile that’s all solo shots. It brings to mind terms like “loner” and “narcissist” which are not tropes that’ll land you dozens of dates.

Bonus tip: try to avoid selfies (especially ones shot in the mirror). But let’s be real: if you look hot, it doesn’t really matter.
Dating Profile Pictures - laughing woman on beach

 

3. DO: Show off your personality.

Are you the entertainer of the group? Post a picture of you being the life of the party. (Minus the keg stand.) Are you super artsy? Share that photo of you cheesing next to your favorite sculpture.

It’s tempting to try and craft a profile that garners a lot of attention, but it’s more important to find people who will actually like you. If someone’s turned off by that crazy picture of you flying off of a banana boat, you don’t want them anyway.
Dating Profile Pictures - personality photo

 

4. DON’T: Include a picture with your ex (or one that they’re obviously cropped out of).

We wish we didn’t have to say this, but Hinge has proven time and time again that we do. Don’t post any photos of your ex. Or, for that matter, anyone who could be misconstrued as an ex. (Yes, even if you look really hot.)

Nobody likes playing the game “sibling or ex” when scrolling.
Dating Profile Pictures - couple in nature

 

5. DO: Include 2-3 pictures of you with friends.

A potential match who has great friends is a green flag for most people. Photos with others communicates that you have a thriving social life and won’t be a stage-five clinger.

Sprinkle the group shots in with your other dating profile pictures, and make sure to prioritize ones where you look hotter than your friends. We’re half kidding.
Dating Profile Pictures - smiling group of friends

 

6. DON’T: Make your first photo a group shot.

All this does is confuse prospective matches. Some might take the time to scroll through your profile and narrow down who you are, but you won’t capture the attention of rapid-fire swipers.

Plus, you don’t want to end up on a date with someone who thought you were the other girl in the pic. Talk about awkward. Simplify things by saving any group photos for picture two or later.
Dating Profile Pictures - two friends laughing

 

7. DO: Include a photo of you doing your hobbies.

Show how cool and fun you are with a picture of you surfing. Or painting. Or singing karaoke.

Hobbies communicate a lot about us. If your hobby occupies a huge part of your life, you may even want to post a few shots of you doing it. It would be a full-on travesty for an avid hiker to go out with someone who prefers to spend Saturdays indoors.

Hobbies also provide great conversation starters. You’re quite literally handing them an opener when you post a picture of you rock climbing. “If you’re looking for someone to be your rock, look no further.” Did we mention cheesy pick up lines are our love language?
Dating Profile Pictures - woman surfing

 

8. DON’T: Be overly cliche.

Common cliche dating app photos include: standing in front of the angel wings in Nashville, holding a fish, or volunteering in a developing country.

We get it. Social media has made most of us pretty unoriginal. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing – we love our basic traditions like Starbucks. But leaning into this aesthetic might make it hard to stand out in the ruthless world of Hinge.
Dating Profile Pictures - woman on phone looking bored

 

9. DO: Include thirst traps… selectively.

By “thirst trap,” we don’t just mean pictures of you looking hot on the beach (though that’s great, too).

Photos with cute animals, babies or celebrities are also tempting traps for prospective daters. Just use them in moderation. Name-dropping that your uncle is best friends with Martin Short will only get you so far.
Dating Profile Pictures - woman with puppy

 

10. DON’T: Upload outdated photos.

We know you love the photo of you at college graduation, but if it is a few years old, save it for the Facebook archives.

The goal here is to find a partner who loves you for current you, and including old images in your dating profile is a little catfish-y. Especially if you look drastically different.
Dating Profile Pictures - happy college grad

By Jess Lohr

Jess is the co-founder of Adultescence, a podcast, blog and social media brand for twenty-somethings making the transition from life in college to adulthood. She writes about dating, friendship, money, and career. She also specializes in consumer insights, and is passionate about helping brands infuse the voice of their customers into their marketing, product, and CX strategies.

In her free time, you can find Jess spinning at The Handle Bar, obsessively consuming personal finance content, and playing with her adorable (but chaotic) puppy, Luca. You can follow her on Instagram @jesslohr or on LinkedIn.

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