What Do Your Dating Photos Say About You?


Whether you have been doing online dating for a little while now, or are about to embark on this journey, it’s not always that strait forward to know how you’re being portrayed.

At the very start we all have photos that we think are going to work, that are hopefully backed up with some great matches.

There have been a variety of studies done, to look at this on social media, and one where a study looked at 66,000 twitter profile photos, and the 5 different personality traits associated with them.

The 5 different characteristic groups, from conscientiousness, openness, extraversion, neuroticism and agreeableness, were enough for someone to judge you quite accurately it suggests.


Conscientious people used pictures that were more natural, colourful or/and bright. They expressed the most emotions of all the different personality types.

People who score highly in conscientiousness tend to want to get things done on time, the proper way, and tend to follow rules.


People high in openness to experience, often had the best pictures: reflected by being sharper, and of higher contrast. Photos tended to be more artistic or unusual and their faces were often larger in the frame.

People scoring high in openness tend to be open to new ideas, imaginative, curious and creative.


Extraverts are more likely to show photos of a group of people rather than just themselves, and are usually beaming at the camera.

People scoring high in extraversion are those who like to be the life of the party, and love to spend time with others.


People higher in neuroticism tended to use simpler photos with less colour. They were more likely to show a blank expression or even to be hiding their face.

People who score highly on neuroticism tend to experience negative emotions such as anxiety, sadness, anger, envy and jealousness.


Highly agreeable people post relatively poor pictures of themselves, yet are probably smiling and the pictures are bright and lively,"

People who score highly on agreeableness tend to be warm, trusting, kind and cooperative.

How Are You Being Portrayed?

A focus of we do at Swipe, is analysing the strengths and weaknesses of profiles, so matches can gain flow in the right direction. These photos are some of the most common ones we get sent prior to shoots.

The Selfie


Are selfies your vibe? If so you are more likely to fit in with society’s expectations and go with the grain. Selfies have their place on social media, though are not to popular with online dating

It can reveal the excessive need for the recognition and approval of others, if you have to many of them in your profile. A dating study done on Hinge revealed that selfies are 40% less likely to receive a like, where as bathroom selfies are 90% less likely.

This will apply quite similarly to Snapchat and the gym selfie. Dependent on the angle taken selfies may distort the face.

The Year 2000?

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How current are the photos you are posting today? It is most often the case to choose photos that we purely look the best in. Whether they are ripped off facebook or your mobile camera roll, there is a huge bank on offer to choose from.

Adding these photos into the mix with some that actually may be current, could be quite confusing for that other person. Should someone take the risk and click on you? If you set up a date and turn up, and they reference one or two of the older photos, things may get a little awkward.

Remember with online dating, their isn’t an an option to leave status updates under each photo like their is on Instagram.

The Ex Or A Mate

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It might seem common knowledge to not post photos with the opposite sex, yet it still happens very frequently. Whether it be a mate or an ex partner, the person who is swiping will wonder why you have posted it. The photos in question are the ones of the two of you only, so look out for better options that play to your own strengths.

Unless you come across a legitimate swingers dating app, and are up for a threesome, this one might be best to leave in the offline memory box.

What’s Up Hotty? No I Mean Your Friend!


Do you have a bunch or even a couple of hot friends who are super photogenic? Killer eyes, amazing smile, super white teeth, in amazing shape, hair that glows? Are they in your online dating profile photos somewhere? The hope is that it will be you, and… it’s not. Damn!

This comes down to doing things strategically, so someone doesn’t ask “Sorry to interrupt but who’s that hot friend on your right?” Whether it be 2 to 3 guys or girls in a photo, look twice before posting.


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The most important aspect of someones dating profile, is that are eyes are seen well. Apart from staying away away from shadows and dark circles, sunnies are the one accessory that will have a greater impact on your matches, if they are left at home.

What this comes down to, is that people think you are often hiding something. Should you want to use glasses still, which can be very cool aim for clear or coloured ones (no tints).

In many photos taken, glasses can throw a camera out of focus, similar to when taking a photo of someone who may be in a restaurant that is behind a panel of glass. Use someone who knows what they are doing.

Dark Photos

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If you are in a studio, putting music together, and it shows an overall interesting vibe and scene, then darker photos could work. See Charlie Puth. The above example though is going a little to far.

In general a dark profile picture will often reflect a rebellious personality, and it can also portray that you are a bit of a loner or stoner, dependant on where it is taken. People are less likely to think of you as friendly and approachable. Good lighting makes a huge difference!

Going slightly off topic, black and white photos can be quite popular as an overall strategy with online dating today.

Life Of the Party

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If you have many of these shots, you will be classed or thought of as an extrovert. Often reflected through an open and confident personality. You love going out and feel at your best when everyone is looking at you, talking about you, or both.

Extroverts will often choose a profile picture that makes them look younger, which I say “go for it”! Make sure it is current.

Be aware as these photos can make people think you are lacking in self-esteem, because you're looking for compliments from being the centre of attention.

The Foody

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Enjoying food shows that you love the good things things in life. You appreciates a great meal and you’re not on a strict diet of broccoli and chicken, being thrown on the scales. For many people, seeing someone have to much of a regimented and strict lifestyle can be a turn off.

A love of food can also be be a great set up for a first date, with endless options to go to. There is a reason those food pages are so popular on instagram.

At the Job

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Photos at work imply that your professional life is important to you, and you are also full of ambitious plans, especially ones taken in a formal setting. This is a great tool to use should you be looking for an actual relationship, and have only been matching up previously with those who are after hookups.

Benefits may come from finding a partner as driven as you are. Now get back to work!

The Groomsman or Bridesmaid

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Posting pictures as a groomsman or bridesmaid, sends out subtle messages that you may ready to settle down, and again are serious about finding a relationship. Totally go for it, if that’s where you are in your life right now.

It is better to be strait forward than not with every aspect of online dating, so don’t hold back. Obviously choosing the right online dating sites will also take you a long way. One photo is enough.

Photos with Kids

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Posing in a photo with a child is very similar to the previous point. It may be interpreted that you want children of their own, possibly sooner than later, depending on how mushy the photo is. It also reflects greatly that you are good with kids, should you be having fun and are also a family person.

The third benefit should you choose the photo wisely, is that there are often single mums and dads who may or may not want more kids, or that you may have kids yourself already and are looking to attract someone similar. We occasionally shoot both single mums and dads at Swipe.


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In the world of instagram today, filters can enhance photos to really make them pop. For many photographers they are also standard in finding and developing a style or theme to be known for. When it comes to dating photos however, your best matches will always come from photos that are stripped back from add ons.

People are more than smart enough to pick up on if filters are being used, and similar to sunnies, it comes back to “is there a reason you have used them”?

My Life Is Great

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There is a fine line between being successful and having a great career, versus showing off your most expensive toys and assets in someones face. Others will often think of superficial qualities, or a possible fake lifestyle trying to be enhanced.

If others are looking for a relationship, it will be very dependant if they decide to swipe on you, or are looking a sugar mommy or daddy. If they do, you better be ready to cover the first date, or ten.

The Real Me

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At the end of the day, people want to see the real you. Yes even regardless of all these. Once you meet someone, there won’t be any guess work, and things will flow much easier on conversation.

By associating your profile image with positive emotions, the brain associates good character traits. For example a smile, a feeling of closeness, or love of animals. One can make many positive conclusions purely about this, that other facial expressions don’t evoke.

Let’s now put this together with all the elements you also want to include, to create the best dating profile photos and start ramping up your matches.