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3 Ways To Make Your Online Dating Profile A Thumbstopper

When you're online dating, the stakes are high and competition is fierce. Here’s how to creatively use your pictures to turn your online dating profile into an attractive Thumb Stopper.

WRITTEN BY Michelle G | Guest Writer | May 09 2018

Online dating profile photos, first impressions, best dating profile,

Does it make a difference what pictures you use on your dating profiles? Uh, yeah… a lot. The stakes are high and competition is fierce. Here’s how to creatively use your pictures to turn your online dating profile into an attractive Thumb Stopper.

What The Research Says

Science has discovered that people form their first impression of you within the first 100 milliseconds (that’s 0.1 of a second) of seeing your photo… so, you can’t afford to waste the first shot you get with anything less than a polished and authentic impression of yourself.

The Role of Your Profile

So what’s the secret to landing that next date? Burn this into your brain: A profile doesn’t “tell”. Its job is to “show”. Approach your online dating profile as your lead-in to making an important new connection. Use images that enhance your personal description and keep your profile visitor distraction-free from the story you’re writing about yourself.

A Bit More Science

A quick Google search of the hormone Oxytocin (known as the “bonding” or “cuddle” hormone) will reveal its crucial function in helping humans bond to one another. Oxytocin releases into the bloodstream during birth, lactation and hugging. It’s known as a pre-cursor to lust and love, and the effect feels good in our bodies. Believe it or not, your online dating profile picture could also act as a trigger to release of oxytocin into your visitor’s bloodstream. That’s a good thing, and it’s something you can control.

As the late writer Maya Angelou gently reminded us, “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”.

The sentiment of her memorable words also extends to when we connect with a picture, whether we hold it in our hands or watch it on a smartphone. With my simple photography strategy (and some minimal planning on your part), you will improve your results and get closer to what you’re looking for in a match.

My Advice

Here are three “must have” photos to make your online dating profile pop:


Photos with poses that display open body language help build instant trust and likability as they signal that you’re available (i.e.: “open”) to explore entering into a relationship. Humans rely on visual contact (even in pictures) to feel connected to someone.

For maximum effect:

Use pictures where your torso, head and toes are facing the camera. Avoid using photos wearing sunglasses or a hat that may cover your eyes.


Want to be more attractive to your profile visitors? Use pictures on your online dating profile where you’re facing the camera head on, not looking away. This simple pose sends a subconscious cue of respect to the viewer, which brings me to this very popular question from my readers: should you smile or not?

Here are my recommendations:

Women should smile big on pictures, it’s found to be more attractive and approachable. Also for the ladies, avoid closed smile pictures because it creates the opposite effect of attraction.
For the fellas… pictures where a man has a neutral face or looking off to the side of the camera gets better results than a big smile.


The pictures you use on your online dating profile are meant to add a side view to your narrative. Use photos that tell a story. Anything like a recent vacation, playing in competitive sports or participation in a hobby adds an attractive, tangible layer of reality to your pictures and gives a voice to your words. Your lifestyle images will become great conversation starters making them a “no-brainer” for that match to swipe right!

Practice Makes It Easier

Unless you’re a professional model, chances are you're going to be a little nervous around the camera if you’re trying to land these money shots. A great way to make this easier for you is to consider working with a professional photographer. If working with a professional isn’t in the cards for you right now, grab some of your closest friends and create your own photo shoot!

Remember, your online dating profile photos are an extension of you, your energy and your personality. Have a plan to maximize your photos online.

You only get one chance at a first impression.

Michelle G

Michelle G

Online Dating Expert and Certified Matchmaker

Michelle G., CRS® is an Online Dating Expert and Certified Matchmaker with a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Psychology. Michelle and her team are passionate about helping singles find their plus one online. Follow @Ms.Michelle.G on Instagram and @AskMichelleG on Twitter. Sign up here for weekly dating tips and trends delivered right to your inbox.