How to take photos for your online dating profile - friends photo

Here is where you get your social proof. Composition and color are thrown out the window on this one. The shot was taken in a French cafe with low lighting some weeks ago. It was not shot for any purpose other than as a memento of the occasion of sharing wine and stories.

But I feel the shot makes up for it's technical short-comings with an abundance of warmth which radiates from Johnny and Sharon. These are the sort of friends that people checking out your profile want to share.

There's little need to be in the photos with your friends. Too many people think that they are going to be seen as more social when they have pictures of themselves with lots of other people. In reality those photos crowd out your viewer. Here the viewer can imagine themselves interacting with Johnny and Sharon.

For your own friend's photo try to find one where your friends are interacting with the camera as if the camera was a person. Photos of couples and mixed gender groups are good as they tend to feel more relaxed and inclusive.

Next: Putting it all together with the 'About me' text >>

How to take photos for your online dating profile - activity photo

This photo is inclusive. The viewer can imagine coming by my apartment after our date and checking out my bicycle.

But imagine if I had chosen to pose on top of the bicycle. That would have taken the viewer out of the scene . There would have been no role for the viewer. This is a subtle but important difference.

Think about an activity you and the other person could do together and then design a photo around it in such a way that the viewer is included. Don't just snap a photo of you camping but rather snap one of you needing help setting up a tent. Don't just take a photo of you cooking but rather a photo of your in your apron welcoming the camera to your kitchen.

I can't overstress how helpful you will find it to reduce the number and complexity of your photographic elements. Here we only have a bicycle, a wall, two windows and me. Free from distraction the viewer can more easily appreciate color, framing and the subject.

The photo is also monochromatic. The only color is the red on the widows that is somewhat echoed in my skin tone.

The wall makes an effective backdrop. Erika and I used this as the backdrop for a video we made recently if you recall. Walls are your friends.

By the way, this is the only photo I didn't snap myself. Erika took it with my iPhone. I think she has a great compositional eye.

I like that the lines are not quite horizontal and perpendicular. They have a bit of angle to them across the photo. That's good.

Also notice that the pipe on the wall and the ledge my trailing foot hangs over give the photo a framing effect. We've created a feeling of containment which is helpful to make the viewer feel comfortable imagining themselves being part of the scene. Try it. I bet you can imagine just walking out of the camera and taking my bike for a ride.

One criticism is that this picture would be better if I was smiling. That's what you'd do on a date when showing your bicycle to someone.

Next: The friends photo >>

How to take photos for your online dating profile - cute photo

I cautioned earlier against posing with people. But animals don't count against you as much. You can make yourself more appealing by adding some cuteness. You could find a dog to pose with kitten or a cute stuffed animal. Maybe head to the amusement park and pose with one of those giant stuffed gorillas.

I'll share a rule that I use for taking photos as well as for talking with people. Maintain eye-contact at all times except when you're looking at something you're manipulating such as pouring a glass of wine or winding an old-fashion watch. This rule keeps your communication line open with the viewer or conversational partner and makes your actions understandable. Treat the camera lens as a person present in the scene.

However, in this photo I'm stretching that rule. I'm not making eye-contact with the camera nor am I manipulating anything obvious. But since the dog and I are both looking towards the horizon I think it fixes this problem a bit. I'm obviously pondering the nature of life with my canine accomplice. The communication here is purposeful and understandable to the viewer. But in any case, even if it takes the viewer out of the scene I think the pose is interesting enough to be worth it.

That said, in reality, if you look closely, I'm actually looking down at my iPhone so I can frame the photo I'm shooting. I guess that gives the photo another dimension though I doubt many people on a dating site would notice.

Remember, an easy way to control color is to look for monochromatic backgrounds (think walls) and then introduce a single color. That's what's going on here. The wall behind me is brown (which is close to monochrome), I'm wearing black and the dog I'm posing with is monochromatic - even his collar is black. That allows the blue to pop out.

I've framed the photo from an unusual perspective. Though no professional would ever frame it that way, I feel it tells people viewing my profile that I like to communicate in interesting ways.

By the way, this dog was just sitting on a bench minding his own business with no owner in site. He's not my dog and he wants you to know this photo is not an endorsement of Charisma Arts. Ha.

Next: The activity photo >>