Online dating profile – Your picture is important

In the online dating hookup world, there are two things that a person sees in your profile: your photos and your words. Common sense tells us the photo is very important, but how important is it? Okcupid ran some tests and it turns out it’s insanely important. People gave higher “personality” ratings to profiles containing profile photos with higher “look” scores. This means, the better the picture in the profile, the better “personality” that person was seen as having. There was profile with just a photo of a young female posing in a bikini, no text at all on her profile, and she was rated as having top marks in personality. OkCupid summed it up as “text was less than 10% of what people think of you.”

Such a low mark for text is shocking. The tests also showed that when profile photos were disabled:

  • people were more likely to respond to first messages
  • deeper conversations
  • phone numbers and emails were exchanged more quickly

Turning off photos creates mystery where interactions aren’t pigeonholed by looks. However, this is impractical and unrealistic as every dating and hookup site demands profile pictures. We can take away a few things from this though.

On a dating site: Emphasize your attractive qualities in your photo. Use soft lighting and avoid the harsh flash from a camera. It ages you. Just don’t use the flash, use a lamp and play with the positioning of the lamp. If you know your cameras then use a flash that can be aimed at the wall or ceiling. Also, take photos with a low depth of field (f) number…meaning, be the sharp focus of the photo while the rest of the photo is blurry. Let the environment around you be hazy while you stand out. The best pictures have a very shallow depth of field.

Shallow depth of field makes this leaf a lot more interesting


A good depth of field example: This woman is sharp against a blurry background


On a hookup site: Really, the same principals apply to photos here as they do on dating sites. Use the tips mentioned above. Keep the photo classy and interesting (e.g. look at something else rather than directly at the camera).

Shes looking away – not at the camera.



  • Photos are very important to online dating
  • For profile photos: Use soft lighting (no direct camera flash)
  • For profile photos: Use shallow depth of field

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