13 Photos You Should (and Shouldn’t) Include on Your Dating App Profile to Get More Matches

Beware of the mirror selfie.

How you choose to build your dating profile can make or break your chances of landing a date. As a single 24-year-old on dating apps myself, I’ll admit: I decide to swipe left or right in mere seconds of viewing someone’s profile. So, as shallow as it might sound, the photos you select for your own profile are key. But don’t get it twisted: singles (myself included) aren’t just analyzing photos as “hot or not”—we’re actually looking at what the pictures say about the person.

Obviously, attraction is important in romantic relationships, but when it comes down to choosing a handful of pictures potential matches will see, they should show off more than just your physical appearance—ideally, they should highlight aspects of your personality that make you attractive, too.

“Share pictures that are accurate and flattering alongside prompts that show users who you really are,” dating app Hinge’s Director of Relationship Science, Logan Ury, tells HelloGiggles. Hinge recently conducted a survey with over 1,000 users to learn exactly what they’re looking for when scrolling through other accounts, and the results were both surprising and insightful.

“In general, the message we got loud and clear from our users is that they’re looking for authenticity,” Ury reveals. “They want to see what you look like, what you love (whether that’s a candid of you at your cousin’s wedding or playing with your dog on the beach), and what you’re all about (photos of you doing an activity you’re passionate about or spending time with the family.)”

Below, learn which types of photos will make or break your dating profile, according to a dating expert. But remember: Always do what feels right to you individually, and the right person will be into that.

Do not include photos of yourself…

1. Holding a fish.

Okay, we have to admit, this one surprised us. Apparently, fish pictures are a huge turn-off for half of singles on dating apps. In fact, according to the survey, 51% of Hinge users are less likely to send a comment if someone’s profile picture shows them holding up a fish. “Holding up a dead fish has become a dating app cliché,” Ury explains. “When someone sees a picture like this, they may (at best) skip over it because it’s so common. Or, at worst, they may reject you, because including this trite picture can lead your match to make unflattering assumptions about you.” 

I will say, I’ve seen lots of men holding fish and grinning ear-to-ear on dating apps, and it just comes off as unoriginal. Sure, one half of the dating pool is A-OK with fish cameos, but maybe don’t risk turning off the other half, unless it’s a key aspect of your personality—then, by all means, proudly show off your recent catches.

2. Partying.

Next, emphasizing your party animal side might not be the best idea. Only 18% of “successful” Hinge profiles include photos from a party/going out. “Successful profiles are those who recently turned a Hinge match into a date,” Ury clarifies. So, if social drinking is important to you, utilize the prompts to make that known instead of sharing snaps of you popping bottles at a club or pouring pitchers of beer in a dive bar. “Too many party photos might be interpreted as someone who is looking for fun but isn’t ready for a relationship,” Ury explains.

3. In front of the bathroom mirror.

Look, I’m all for gassing yourself up, which totally might mean taking a bathroom mirror selfie on a good hair day but save this photo for yourself. “72% of successful Hinge users say they find bathroom selfies undesirable,” Ury explains. “Plus, only 13% of successful Hinge profiles include mirror selfies.”

4. At the gym.

Sure, fitness might be important to you, but a close-up of you flexing your biceps at the gym is typically a big no-no, since it comes off as conceited. “Only 3% of successful Hinge profiles include gym selfies,” Ury says. Yeah, that’s hardly any. Avoid the instant “X” by nixing a weightlifting picture.

5. With an ex.

Singles use dating apps to meet other singles, so including a photo of you being lovey-dovey with someone, especially an ex, is not ideal. “The majority (73%) of Hinge users are less likely to send a comment if someone’s profile picture shows them with a potential ex,” Ury explains.

Instead, Ury suggests having at least one photo showing you with your friends or family because “this suggests you have a rich social life.” “That being said, we’ve also heard that singles balk at profiles with too many pictures of an ambiguous person who might be your ex,” Ury explains. “Could it be that you’re not over this person?”

6. With filters.

According to the survey, 80% of successful Hinge users find filters on a photo undesirable. Keep it real, people. If you look completely different from your profile pictures IRL, your date will feel like they’ve been catfished. “Ditch the photos with filters or sunglasses because these make it harder for us to see what you look like,” Ury advises.

DO include pictures of yourself…

1. That are close-up and clear.

This might sound like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people only add photos of themselves that are so far from the camera you can hardly tell what they actually look like—and this is a red flag. “68% of successful Hinge users say the most important thing they look for in a first photo is being able to clearly see the person’s face,” Ury says. Dating apps aren’t for actual blind dates—show me the goods. “When it comes to the all-important first photo, start with a clear headshot,” Ury advises.

2. Smiling.

Okay, you might be thinking, “duh,” but some people only include serious photos on their profiles, and that’s not doing them any favors. A whopping 87% of Hinge users are more likely to send a comment if someone’s profile picture shows them smiling. Show off those pearly whites, people!

“Too many serious photos like solo selfies in front of different monuments or a lack of pictures where you’re smiling might suggest you don’t have a silly side,” Ury points out. “In the end, it’s all about balance and telling a story. What are the different sides of your personality? Show us.”

3. With pets.

Fish pictures aside, people are all about puppies. “35% of Hinge users are more likely to send a comment if someone’s profile picture includes a dog,” Ury says. I’m totally guilty of this—if a guy shares a photo holding a dog, consider me hooked. I included one of myself with my golden doodle on my own profile, and it’s by far my most-liked picture, too. Who doesn’t like talking about cute dogs?

4. Traveling.

Traveling is another relatable thing to show on your profile; connecting over cities and trips is a fun way to get the conversation started. “52% of Hinge users are more likely to send a comment if someone’s profile picture shows them traveling,” Ury says.

5. Dressed up.

You’ve heard the phrase: dress for success. Most people value someone who takes care of themselves, and that includes putting effort into what they wear. “48% of Hinge users are more likely to send a comment if someone’s profile picture shows them dressed up,” Ury reveals. Don’t you want to envision yourself getting all dolled up for date night with them?

6. Doing something active.

Although gym selfies are off-limits, Hinge users do like seeing someone being active in general (just maybe not with a dumbbell in hand.) “58% of Hinge users are more likely to send a comment if someone’s profile picture shows them doing a physical activity like hiking or a sport,” Ury shares.

7. That are candid.

Interestingly, 49% of successful Hinge users’ profiles included one solo candid photo of themselves, according to the survey. Candid photos make people feel like they’re getting a behind-the-scenes glimpse of your life (even if the “candid” was totally posed).

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