If you have browsed profiles on an online dating site, then you recognize the importance of a good profile picture. Without the right photo, an entire profile might be ignored. That’s a shame, since everyone out there is so much more than their profile pics!
Since you aren’t likely to meet people without first posting a good picture of yourself, here are some dating profile picture tips collected from scientific research on attractiveness.
Multiple studies have demonstrated a red-attractiveness effect, where red on a shirt or in the background increased women’s ratings of men’s attractiveness and vice versa.
We might be able to trace this effect to our chimpanzee ancestors. During ovulation, female chimps announce their sexual receptivity with a genital area that swells and becomes bright red. But no need to over-think this — just put a little red in your profile pic and see what happens.
Pose With Your Friends
Researchers at University of California, San Diego found evidence that people seem more attractive when pictured in a group than pictured alone. In their experiment, faces presented in a group of the same gender were rated as more attractive than faces displayed alone.
Unfortunately, many online dating sites (e.g. match.com) do not allow group photos for your primary photo. However, most sites (including match.com) do allow you to include group shots for additional photos. Take advantage of this opportunity and boost your attractiveness by posing with your same-gender friends.
Researchers have repeatedly found a link between facial symmetry and attractiveness. Both men and women rate faces that are more symmetrical as more attractive than less symmetrical faces.
No need to get plastic surgery, but there are some easy ways to tap into the power of symmetry. For example, don’t wear a crooked hat or show off your ability to raise one eyebrow at a time. If possible, part your hair down the middle and wear matching earrings (or none at all).
Researchers in Switzerland found that the intensity of a smile on a face is strongly related to attractiveness ratings. In their experiment, a happy facial expression even compensated for relative unattractiveness. Using computer-imaging software, the researchers manipulated a face to be less attractive but more smiling. This face was preferred over the same face that was made more attractive but less smiling.
The lesson from their research seems simple: smile! Forget about the come-hither sexy look or the brooding troubled artist look. Slap on a happy face and potential mates will see you as more attractive.