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The importance of a great dating profile picture

As the founder of the world’s first and coolest dating photography business, of course you’d expect me to wax lyrical about the importance of having a great set of pictures for your online dating profile.


But actually it’s not just me who’s saying it. OK Cupid have done a whole lot of research, which concluded that your written profile actually makes up less than 10% of what people think of you. This means a staggering 90% of what they think of you is based on your dating profile photos alone. It’s your photos that make them decide (often in a split second) whether they’d like to date your or not.


So nailing your profile photos is critical to online dating success and is most definitely not an area to skip over. The future is visual. People crave a richer visual experience when doing anything online, whether that’s shopping, dating, job hunting and everything in between. For those of you who want to get ahead while online dating you need to connect with people on an emotional level and evidence shows that images do this more quickly and effectively than video, audio or text. Images, which showcase elements of your personality, make this even easier.


I’m not just talking about any old pictures though. If you’re still using pictures that are blurred, poorly lit or poor quality you need to dump them as soon as possible. You’re putting people off if you use low quality images. It sends the underlying message that you’re not serious about finding love i.e. hook-ups is probably more your bag. If you haven’t bothered to put any effort into creating a nice profile then they’ll think it’s not a priority for you. Also worth dumping are photos with red-eye, other people in the shot, messy backgrounds and people badly cropped out of the shot.


Instead your photos should be light, bright, in focus and have you as the most interesting thing in the shot. Ideally colour, composition and background should add value to your shots ensuring they stand out from the sea of dating profile photos currently out there. Being captured doing something you love in one or two of the photos helps tell your story. We have captured clients, browsing markets, skateboarding, reading in cafes, cycling, checking out street art, visiting galleries etc.


Choose outfits that you make you look great and feel confident – just as you’d make the effort for a first date, make the effort to look good in your profile photos. Finding a photographer than understands the dating scene is preferable for getting the right kind of shots. Dating photography, a genre of photography that I’ve created, is going for a carefree, laid-back vibe which looks as though one of your friends just happens to be an excellent photographer and has caught you out and about with your friends, rather than that thing of ‘I need a professional set of headshots’.


Your profile photos need to be natural, relaxed and happy. Research has shown that people’s eyes are drawn to images and linger there rather than text so just by having a good set of profile pictures, people will attract a lot more attention to their profile and given that dating is a numbers game, this is the best way forward. I predict a tipping point is coming within the next 18 months, when it’s going to start to become unacceptable to use poor quality images and anyone using them will find their profiles overlooked.


Bio – Saskia Nelson | Hey Saturday

Saskia Nelson is the talent behind the award-winning and internationally acclaimed Hey Saturday, the UK’s coolest dating photography business, specialising in creating dating photos that kick ass and win dates for 100s of single people. She is also the founder of Hey Tuesday and co-founder of Irresistible Dating. She’s been credited by Time magazine for creating the genre of dating photography and is recognised as the leading industry expert in the UK & US on all things dating photo related. She also puts her extensive online dating experiences to good use by sharing her experiences and wisdom on her blog.

Twitter @Saskia_Nelson


June 6, 2016