Using a dating app can be an anxiety-inducing ordeal; particularly if you’re someone who’s already insecure about their looks. After all, when you’re swiping away, all you have to go on is physical appearance, and a bio the average length of a Japanese haiku. Plus I know from experience that Tinder only gives you a maximum of six pictures.
Six pictures with which to sell myself as an eligible young bachelor to womankind? It simply cannot be done. Out of the 1,600 photos adorning my Facebook profile, only about three of them are halfway normal. The rest make me look like I belong on a register for sex offenders.
Some people just seem to have been born with the innate ability to appear photogenic at all times – and I am not one of those people. I just don’t know what makes an appealing profile picture. I never have, and when you’re using a dating app, that’s a vital skill.
If only there was some statistical data that would reveal exactly how to take a decent photo, a way to harness photography skills to maximise your matches. After all, dating apps are based on an algorithm, so there’s no shame in playing the numbers game. So what makes a decent picture? Scrolling through my own profile, I can see a selfie here, a holiday snap there – all pics which I thought emphasised my good side. It turns out I was wrong.
Most of us have been unwittingly sabotaging our own romantic efforts with bad photography skills. But a thorough analysis of the following data will (hopefully) help give you and edge and play to your strengths. Soon you’ll be the most swiped person out there; fingers crossed.
Silicon Valley boffins working for Hinge, a mobile dating app launched in 2014, which matches users through their mutual acquaintances. Hinge have pored over a thousands of their users’ photos and predicted what factors help and what factors hinder people looking for love, and the results are more than a little surprising.
Data analysts at Hinge tagged thousands of randomly selected photos and categorised them using 35 distinct labels. They discovered that it’s vital to choose photos which highlight the real you. Olivia Abramowitz, Hinge’s VP of Marketing, stated: “Your photos should show you in your natural state, doing something that you love.”
This means that pictures using too many filters is a big no-no, and any picture that appears blurred or out of focus will leave you dead in the water. Similarly, selfies were also a big turn-off: regular selfies were liked 40 percent less, and bathroom selfies were 90 percent less liked by both genders.
For women, showing teeth when smiling makes you 76 per cent more likely to get a like, and looking away from the camera ups your matches by 74 per cent. Standing alone also increases your likes by 69 per cent. For men, however it’s a different story. It’s still important to be standing alone, but looking straight ahead is key: making you 102 per cent more likely to be swiped right.
Smiling without showing teeth is preferred, upping chances by 43 percent. As Abramowitz explains; “The best photo of you isn’t always the best photo to use.” It’s not always good to go for the best-looking picture, but the most revealing instead.