Statistics consistently prove that adding a photo to your profile gets you more responses. In fact, men are 14 times more likely to view a profile that includes a photo; women are 8.5 times more likely. If you choose to post a pic, however, make sure it's a good one.
"Sometimes the picture is so bad that I'd almost rather the guy hadn't bothered posting it," admits Robbin, 29. "It's so unflattering or fuzzy, I just click on someone else."
Here are some deal-breaking photo mistakes you should avoid:
- Show off the real you
You want to post a photo that portrays you in the best possible light, but don't overdo it. "I used my fabulous black and white 'glamour shot'," recalls Fontayne, 40. "It was a look I could never achieve my own! When people met me it was a bit of disappointment. Oops!"
- Let it all hang out
Don't cover up obvious features. "I don't like surprises. If you're bald or balding, don't run a photo of yourself in a hat or crop off the top of your head," says Shelley, 23. "First, it shows you're self-conscious and second, it shows you're evasive. Ick." Similarly, if you've recently changed your hairdo or color, make sure you update your photo. "I thought I was meeting a redhead," recalls Doug, 40. "When I got there, she'd gone blonde. It was a surprise, and not a pleasant one."
- Go for a solo shot
Your photo should feature only you. "One chick posted a photo of herself and a friend. I thought I was meeting the girl in the foreground," recalls Anson, 35. "I show up, see the other girl and realize what happened. It was awkward to have to tell her that I didn't find her visually appealing." And be careful about your cropping. A picture of you in a wedding dress with the groom cropped out says more than simply "I'm divorced."
- Choose wisely
A picture your friends love may not be the best one. "There was a great picture of me goofing off at JazzFest," recalls Bob, 30. "All my friends loved it. But when I posted it, viewers didn't have a context for the shot. They thought I was relieving myself on the mailbox. That's not going to attract the kind of girl I want to date!"
Almost everyone has a digital camera, or knows someone who does. So take a lot of shots in different clothes, poses and locations until you find one that really captures your essence and your looks.
North Carolina-based Margot Carmichael Lester also writes for
- Keep it simple
Avoid loud clothing or busy backgrounds that distract the viewer from your face. And if you wear glasses be sure to adjust the flash so it doesn't reflect in the lenses (same goes for any glass or shiny object in the background).
- Get a second opinion
Ask friends in your target gender to provide an honest appraisal of your photo. Keep shooting till you get a consensus.
Go magazine, Monster.com and authors the MSN faith-based dating advice column twice monthly.