Guys and gals – please pay attention here. You are about to get coached on which photos to use, and which photos NOT to use in your online dating profile. My friend, and veteran online dater – Ms. Simone Grant (aka SINgleGIRL), age 38-ish, originally wrote what you see below for her Sex, Lies, and Dating in the City website … but I went ahead and added (in blue) some input for women to keep in mind when they are deciding which photos to use. This is all extremely valuable advice for the entire midlifebachelor.com community. If you have any advice of your own to add, or comments to make – remember to use the ADD COMMENT section at the very bottom of this page. We also have an active Midlife Forum here, too.

I’m an online dating veteran. Been doing it on and off for almost nine years. A lot of things have changed over time. Back in the old days, very few people posted their pictures online. We actually had to read through everyone’s profiles and decide who we were interested in without having any idea what they looked like.
Nowadays, a profile without a picture doesn’t get much action. And a profile with a bad picture, well, a bad picture is almost worse than no picture at all. It’s remarkable to me that some people don’t get this. They just toss a picture up there and assume it’ll be OK. But the truth is, a bad picture will mean no dates for you (this is true for both men and women, by the way). It’s not so much about what you actually look like, but rather showing some good judgment when you select the pictures you upload to your profile. With that in mind, here are a few things that I think every guy should know before he hits that upload button.

  1. It’s best to have more than one picture. Two is enough, eight is too many. At least one of them should show your face close up. Women should have at least three photos – one of your face close-up, one of your entire body, and one something of in-between. Do not use more than one professional glamour photo – most men know that glam shots airbrush a lot out, and it makes us think that you are hiding something if all your photos are glam shots!

  2. Use recent pictures. Women want to know what you look like now, not two years ago. Same is true for what men want to see in a woman’s photo. Hey – if you really have guts, then show a photo of yourself holding up today’s newspaper!

  3. Be mindful of the message your photo conveys.  Look at the “I HAVE PROBLEMS” and “BOOZER” example photos. You don’t want your photos to convey messages like either of those – so be careful which photos you pick … think about the expression on your face in addition to your hair and makeup (if you are a woman) … and about what you are doing in the photo (such as holding a big bottle of booze like BOOZER). First impressions are EVERYTHING! [This suggestion comes from me (midlife bachelor) and applies to both men and women]

  4. Remember to smile. I won’t reply to a guy if he’s not smiling in at least one of his pics. Ditto for women’s photos. I personally have a dental fixation – I will not date anyone with bad teeth … so show me what those chompers look like!

  5. The pictures that guys take in front of the mirror are usually pretty creepy. Don’t do it. It’s easy enough to take a picture of yourself w/o the mirror. Better yet, ask a female friend to take a picture of you. She’ll make sure you look your best.
  6. It’s not a good idea to include a picture of yourself without your shirt on (even if you have a hot bod) unless you’re seeking a strictly sexual relationship. Well I think we men would love to see a photo of a woman without her top on – but I do not think that would be at all proper. We would not be interested in a relationship with a woman who poses topless. A thirty minute relationship might be okay though.

  7. Take off your freakin sunglasses. We know you’re cool. The headshots with the sunglasses are anything but. Guys – you should also avoid having all photos of you wearing a hat … women will think you are hiding a cue ball with the hat. Hey – my hair line is thinning, too – but I am all about full disclosure up-front … the fewer the surprises, the better the potential outcome. Women do not usually have this issue with online profile photos.

  8. Show a little restraint – don’t use a “boy with toy” shot. “Boy with toy” shots are the ones with guys in sportscars, or skydiving, scuba diving, sailing, flying a small plane etc. Women should avoid shots that do not show what they look like – no ski slope photos, for example.

So that is it – what did we leave out? Do you agree with the above? What else would YOU add? Use the comment section below, or our Midlife Forum …

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About the Author

Midlife Bachelor chronicles lifestyle, dating, and relationship experiences and advice to avoid a midlife crisis. Readers like you are often beyond young adulthood in their 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s that want to understand how dating, sex, relationships, and love fit in with our lifestyles.