We’ve all taken one…whether we care to admit it or not. That’s right, I’m talking about the infamous “selfie.” We live in the digital age, where nearly everyone who is anyone has at least one (or many) social media accounts. All of them have at least one thing in common: they require a profile photo. And since profile photos are attached to nearly all our social media, mobile applications, and dating accounts, I believe 95% of the decision to contact or respond to someone online is based on the photo. The fast growth of new applications like Swoon, Tinder, and SnapChat (photo based and optimized for the small screen) are forcing us to focus even more on the photo. If a picture was worth a thousand words in the 1920s, it’s worth a billion words today!
As a professional matchmaker, I see hundreds of photos daily. What amazes me is how ever slight tweaks can take a “selfie” from “terrible” to “compelling.” This curiosity of what makes a photo standout is what led me to dig deep and research extensively (across 20 million people) to find out exactly what you can do to increase the number of people who interact with your profile.
Let’s talk about 20 tips that I hope will help you put your best “selfie” forward.
1. Simply, have a photo: Profiles with a photo get 500% the number of messages than those without.
2. Smile! People are 45% more likely to select your profile photo if you’re smiling.
3. Take off your glasses! People are 28% less likely to click on you if you’re wearing glasses in your profile picture.
4. Pucker up! If your lips are parted (i.e., not sealed), people are 5% more likely to select you, and if you make a “kissing” face you are 32% more likely to get selected (vs. just keeping your lips sealed).
5. Put on a happy face! If you appear angry or sad in your photo, people are 12% less likely to click on you.
6. Do something representing a passion in your photo! Profile pictures of people actually doing something interesting leads to a 3x the amount of interest (and a much higher quality of contacts).
7. Don’t worry about trying to look younger. Fine is fine no matter the age. Attractiveness always overshadows age. So, if you look good, don’t worry about not being contacted because you’re “too old.”
8. Natural light is the best light. Bad light in a photo can age you as much as 10 years. Your highest level of attractiveness will come from a naturally lit photo.
9. Candid photos are MUCH better than posed. Contrary to common thought, photos that convey less effort receive 2x the messages than professionally posed photos.
10. If you have to pose, Ladies. Holding your camera above your head, being coy and flirting with direct eye contact (into the camera) gets the most messages.
11. If you have to pose, Fellas. The “I’m too cool” to look in the camera and therefore I’m staring away with a charismatic smile is actually the best pose for men.
12. Clean up your background or else! 1/3 of people reported not contacting someone based on clutter in the background of a photo.
13. Three photos are more effective than having more (or less). Profiles that contain exactly three photos receive up to 85% more messages than profiles with more or fewer.
14. The Golden Ratio is a woman’s most important photo. Ladies, if your full body photo alludes that your waist is 70% or less than your hips, it will be considered universally “sexy.”
15. The Adonis Effect is a man’s most important photo. Fellas, in your full body selfie, if your waist appears 70% or less of your shoulders, it’s considered the “ideal” and universally considered “sexy.”
16. A little cleavage can make a lot of difference. Cleavage shots gain women up to 80% more messages.
17. Get up close. Putting too much distance between you and the camera suggests you’re hiding something. 23% of people reported not contacting someone because they couldn’t easily see a photo.
18. The color Red delivers highest results. Research shows men and women find people in red more sexually appealing than in any other color. Women who wear red in photos are considered more interesting.
19. Go solo and no hot friends. If your attractiveness is trumped by someone in your photo, you will receive 80% fewer messages.
20. WARNING: If you have any of the following in your picture, you will receive up to 87% fewer messages – Background is the bathroom, Holding cash, Leaning against a car, No shirt on, With a cut-out of your ex.
Full visual of report can be found here: July 2013 20-20 Photo Report
What are some other tips for putting your best “selfie” forward?