5 Online Dating Tips: Avoid These Photo Styles that Make People Cringe

Girls taking a selfie

Online dating tips abound, but is anything more important than the first impression from your profile pic?

Online dating can be really uncomfortable. Don’t make the experience any more uncomfortable by just uploading all of the following uncomfortable, boring pics.

Online dating is hard. Really, really hard. Every time I fill out a new online dating profile (yes, I’ve done this multiple times), I die a little. Did I represent myself correctly? Did I mention my love of horror and obsession with death a tad too much? It’s maddening. And once you pass the “writing the perfect profile” hurdle, you’ve got to worry about what photos to upload. This. Is. Never. Fun.

Over the years, I’ve uploaded a bevy of photos to various dating sites. Most get an OK response, but even I know that some of my profile pics are cringe worthy. So, why do I still use them? I’m really not sure. Because it’s easy? Because I am trying to be cute? Lord knows.

After years (and years) of online dating, I’ve pinpointed a few online dating profile photo styles that make me cringe (even though I’ve used similar shots of myself). Avoid humiliation by heeding my seasoned dating advice.

Online Dating Tips for the Ultimate Profile Pic

Guy taking a selfie

1. The Selfie

Selfies are fun. But do you really want the only representation of yourself on your dating profile to be a selfie? I think not. Don’t shy away from using selfies altogether – just use them sparingly. Try to make your main profile shot a clear photo of your face (sans a stretched out arm and duck face).

Image: Leo Hidalgo

Girl taking her photo

2. The Bathroom Full Body Shot

Do you have a friend? A family member? Cool! Ask them to take a full body shot next time you’re out. Using the tried and rather mundane method of taking a photo of your body in your bathroom is better than nothing (your potential dates should really be able to get a good look at you before taking you out), but lazy at best.

Girl taking a photo of her abs

3. The Chest Shot

So, you work out? Why don’t you talk about your love of lifting rather than taking a shot of your sculpted abs? “Ab shots” don’t make good profile photos (hello, where’s your face), and can make you look a bit, uh, superficial. This goes for girls and guys.

Image: Hot Gossip Italia

Guy taking a photo of his face

4. The Artistic “Just the Face” Shot

Nope. Uh-uh. You are not as creative as you think you are. Save these shots for Instagram.

Image: Jordy Ferket

Guy with dog

5. The Shot with a Dog/Cat/Baby

Believe me, I want to showcase my pups, too. But it’s probably best to upload photos with your furry friends (and other people) to another album on your profile. Your profile pic should just showcase your beautiful face.

Image: Robert Neff

Note: None of these photos are actual “dating website photos,” except mine. (I’m the bathroom full body shot.) Laugh it up, folks. That’s what I’m here for. All other shots were grabbed to depict what I see online via Creative Commons.

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Image: Andrew Fysh

Abbie Stutzer

Writer, editor, and owner of Ginchy!, a freelance writing and editing company, and home funeral hub. Adores smart sex ed, sustainable ag, spooky history, women's health, feminism, horror, wine, and sci-fi.