How to Take a Picture For Your Online Dating Profile

It's easy to take a great picture that will get lots of attention!It's easy to take a great picture that will get lots of attention!

You're ready to start dating and you've written a great profile - the icing on the cake is the picture! Don't rely on the fuzzy, far-away pictures you already have of yourself, take a new one that will get you noticed!

I took this picture with my camera sitting on a wall while ice skating in NYC.

First, take a deep breath and wrap your head around the fact that you're going to be taking pictures of yourself. Lots of them. It's not going to kill you, or even mentally scar you (much!) The picture is probably the most important part of your profile, so you want to get it right! Become familiar with your camera's timer feature. Do not take pictures of yourself in a mirror or by holding the camera out in front of you.
See step 5 for an exception to this rule

I took this picture by wrapping my Gorillapod around a tree in Washington DC.  There were a zillion people there.  Nobody even noticed me.

Find a location to take your first group of pictures. This might be your back yard, a park, in your house. Don't worry about the fact that people might see you taking your own picture. They really don't care what you're doing, and it will be out of their minds in less than a minute. Honestly.

This picture was taken in my back yard at sunset using a flash.

The time of day makes a difference. Pictures taken in bright, direct sunlight can look harsh. If possible, try to take some pictures at dusk using the flash, or in an area that has an even amount of shade - again, use the flash even if it's daytime.

I had to move 4 times to get this picture right.

Take a lot of pictures! I mean, a LOT! Look at each picture after you take it to see what changes should be made - you might need to stand in a different direction, tilt your head slightly, smile more naturally, etc. Expect to take about 20 pictures to get one good one. If you don't have a tripod, find a stable object to set your camera on. Press the timer button, and smile! If your smile feels/looks forced, then wait until the last second to smile (most cameras will give a signal right before they snap the pictures.) This will make your smile look more spontaneous.

I took this picture on the beach with my mom - I love it!

**The exception to the no-pictures-at-arm's-length rule is if you're in a setting that makes taking your own pictures fun and quirky, such as on a ride at an amusement park. These pictures are a great showcase for your personality!

A friend took this picture of me at work.  It took about 12 tries before we got one I liked.

Once you're comfortable taking your own picture, you can recruit your friends and family to take pictures of you. It might feel awkward at first, but people really are happy to help. You can even get a friend to step into the picture with you so that you can later crop him/her out. Cropping people out seems to be a big trend on the dating sites - I guess it makes you look popular!

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Things You Will Need

  • Digital camera
  • Lots of fresh batteries
  • Computer
  • Flexible tripod, such as a Gorillapod (Optional)
  • A good attitude


  • Make sure you SMILE! You may prefer the serious/moody look, but most men and women I've talked to say that they're drawn to a big smile. So tell yourself a joke, pretend to be Gisele, imagine your boss in a baby bonnet, whatever it takes to get a smile on your face. It will be easier with more practice.
  • Try to include pictures in lots of different settings/situations, and only include one picture from each place. Five successive pictures of you in the living room can look a little odd.
  • Take pictures when you're already looking your best. I often take my picture right before I go on a date, because I know I'm looking my best and I'm in a good mood.
  • Crop your pictures so that some are close-ups and some are full or half length. Get rid of as much background as possible - keep the focus on you!
  • Don't include pictures of your pets or random scenery. People are considering dating YOU, not Fido!


  • Whatever you do, don't take your own picture in the mirror of a public bathroom! (Really. I've seen that!)
  • Don't get discouraged if you don't get pictures you love right away - as you get more comfortable with the process, the pictures will get better!

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