Your dating profile picture is your “shop window.” It is the very first thing other daters see, and if they like what they see, they might investigate further. If they don’t, then they are likely to move on.
The fact is that we form impressions of others very quickly, and these impressions are not only formed from what we see but also established from such cognitive shortcuts as prejudices and stereotypes. For example, people think that the French and Italians are the best lovers (I’m not sure they are) or people wearing spectacles are intelligent (around 14% of all online daters wear specs). Therefore, in order to attract the interest of others, it is important to get your profile picture right.
Clearly, you are going to use what you consider your best photos, but what else should you consider which might give your profile picture the edge?
This should be an obvious one, as people usually look more approachable and friendly when they smile, which is the impression you are trying to create. Use a photo in which you are displaying a genuine smile, referred to as a Duchenne smile. Duchenne or genuine smiles are those which involve the orbicularis oculi muscle, which raises your cheeks and produces wrinkles around your eyes. Fake smiles, on the other hand, generally tend to be lower-face smiles and may also look slightly asymmetrical.
It is quite easy to spot the difference between the two smile types. Surprisingly, however, according to a survey by Dating Scout, only 5% of dating profile pictures of men show them smiling. This may be because men are trying to present their masculine side, preferring not to smile. Indeed, you may consider your best photo is one in which you are not smiling.
2. Wear something red
Red is a colour that has long since been associated with love and passion. In one study, researchers looked at the effects of the colour red on the attractiveness of women. They showed men pictures of women with either a red, white, blue, green, or grey background, finding that the red background led men to judge the women as more attractive (Elliot Niesta, 2008). In another study in which women wore a red t-shirt, researchers found that men sat closer to them than when they wore a blue t-shirt (Niesta-Kayser, Elliot Feltman, (2010). Overall then, for women at least, it seems that the colour of clothing is important, and wearing something red in an online dating profile picture might be beneficial, in enhancing your attractiveness.
3. Show your creative side
In terms of illustrating your interests, why not show yourself being creative in your profile picture? For men, creativity is an indicator of creative intelligence, which means they carry good genes. We know that women prefer to have children with men who possess good genes because this means their offspring (by possessing these genes), will be intelligent and therefore have an advantage in life.
Indeed, engaging in a creative activity such as painting pictures, taking photographs, and writing poetry is positively associated with the number of sexual partners for males (Clegg, Nettle Miell, 2011). Profile pictures displaying creative pursuits are the modern-day human equivalent of a peacock’s tail, which is an indicator of reproductive fitness.
In case you are wondering what types of activities are judged to be most creative, examples are recording music, performing in a band, and taking artistic photos. Those rated as least creative and attractive are interior decorating, making clothes, or carting out everyday domestic chores (Kaufman, Kozbelt, Silva, Kaufman, Ramesh Feist, 2014). The overall message here is that men who advertise their creative side in their dating site profile make themselves appear more attractive.