The online dating photo
Match.com urges you to upload a photo with your profile. Your profile allegedly gets "fifteen times more attention" when there’s a photo with it. Match.com helps skew the ratio in favor of photos by making the default search return only profiles with photos. To see the profiles without photos you need to uncheck the box.
Of course, as a guy who likes to look at girls, it’s a fun time just looking at all the pictures that women post even if you know it’s pointless to email them. It’s not surprising that profiles with photos get looked at so often.
But knowing that profiles without photos get much less attention, might it not be a good strategy to go out of your way to contact these people? Your email would be competing with a lot fewer emails and you will be more likely to get a response.
It would be a good strategy were it not for two important caveats. (1) The person who doesn’t post a photo is not as serious about online dating, so there’s a good chance she’s not a paying member and can’t respond to your email. (2) You don’t know what you’re getting. The lack of a photo my be hiding an appearance too horrible to behold. And believe me, you don’t want to show up at your first date and discover that you have to have dinner with a girl who weighs 300 pounds.
As to whether or not you should post a photo, it will only help your chances. The only reason not too is to avoid the stigma associated with online dating. I imagine that some people don’t want to show up at work on Monday morning and find the whole office is looking at that photo you posted to Match.com. But they tell us that the stigma of online dating is going away fast, so your coworkers might even think that you’re cool and hip for using the internet to find dates.
When you do post your photos online, please post some good ones. I am surprised by how many of the photos are so incredibly bad. You’d think with the ubiquity these days of digital cameras and computers, everyone would be able to come up with a pretty decent photo to post. Let’s list the categories of photos I hate:
(1) The blurry photo. Come on, learn to focus the camera.
(2) The tiny photo. Even the cheapest digital camera takes a big photo, why are people uploading these tiny little thumbnail sized files?
(3) Big photo, tiny person. All you see is the background and the person is so tiny you can barely make them out. Learn to crop the photo and learn to zoom in on people when you snap the shutter.
(4) Group shots. These are also very common. I don’t really care what my prospective date’s friends look like. Most of these group shots suffer the problem above, the person I’m interested in looking at is too small or hidden behind other people.
(5) Picture with ex. Do I even have to explain this?
(6) Picture with baby or child. Who’s baby is that? One immediately assumes that the baby belongs to the owner of the profile. Dating women with children isn’t really something most men prefer (unless they have their own), so if you are childless then don’t torpedo your chances at online dating by posting pictures of yourself and your sister's little kid.
I wish I could say that most people post good photos, but unfortunately the opposite is true. The majority of profiles violate the above rules.
posted August 06, 2005