Posting online profile photos can feel agonizing, especially for women and most especially for women dating after 40. Writing a profile and filling out questionnaires can be a challenge, but the posting pictures part is the hardest part for many.
It’s true that you’re putting yourself out there and a lot of men are going to look at you. And we’ve all heard about men being very visual, so it makes some sense that you’re concerned you can be rejected for your looks.
If you’re a woman using online dating, and you’re having that fear of “rejection by photo,” OR if this is something that is keeping you from going online, this article should assuage your photo fear.
I’m going to give you some truths about what most men are looking for in your profile photos and give you do’s and don’ts that will help you have fun and end up with some great shots of your gorgeous self.
Contrary to most beliefs, attracting men – especially men who are dating after 40, 50 and beyond – is not all about how young or skinny you are. Mature men who want connection and relationship (aka the men you want to meet) are looking at your profile photos for information about you.
Your profile photo tell men a story. He is looking and thinking: Does she look open, friendly, healthy, confident? Does she look nice, interesting, fun?
There are millions of real men online who are looking for a real woman. (I met my husband online, so have the vast majority of the women I coach.)
Your pictures give a sense of whether you would be someone they might like to meet. And there are all kinds of men who are attracted to all kinds of women. This is especially true of men dating later in life.
Here’s another thing: Both women and men post profile photos that are outdated, have them hiding behind sunglasses or are too dark to really see. Women, in particular, post photos that don’t show their bodies.
When you hide or don’t tell some story of who you are, men are going to pass. And if you post old pics, they are going to feel duped when they meet you. (I know that’s happened to you before. It’s not pleasant.)
There’s no reason to post a profile photo of you when you were 20 pounds lighter or 20 years younger. Just DON’T.
This is part of mature dating. You want to MEET these men, right? Well if your pictures are misleading you’re surely going to be met with resentment. (You don’t want him to post a photo with hair and then show up to your coffee date bald as a cue ball, do you?)
Stop worrying about how your body looks at your age and remember: you’re not 30 and you’re not supposed to look like you’re 30. Men appreciate REAL women and want to see that in your photos, so don’t try to hide yourself.
Your online dating profile and your photos are the first impressions you will make. When you proudly show who you are and express it in a way that men appreciate, the right men will be attracted. (Got that: the RIGHT men.)
So, how do you look your very best and tell a positive, authentic story to the men you want to meet?
Follow these profile photo do’s and don’ts and your pictures will attract the right men:
PROFILE PHOTO DO’S
- Try to have fun when you are taking your pictures. Bring a friend who can help bring out your personality and make you laugh.
- Show various attire; casual, dressy and pants and dresses. (Men love when women wear dresses and it will help you feel uber feminine!)
- Post at least one headshot and one full body shot; both clear and with good light.
- Have shots that show your bright, sincere smile. (People’s eyes sparkle when they smile!)
- Have open body language. (Stay away from crossed arms and legs!)
- Post a blend of shots: varied expressions, a headshot, full body shot and a shot or two or three of you doing some activity that you enjoy. (Traveling, kayaking, buying flowers, eating out, reading, drinking coffee, running, etc.)
- Show photos of you alone or only with people in the background.
- Get a good night’s sleep before you take your pictures.
- Do your nails.
- Wear clothes that fit your body and make you feel good. (When you layer on clothes to cover your body it only makes you look larger than you are.)
- Wear color, but not wild prints.
- Apply your makeup in natural light.
- Wear relatively light lipstick, shine is good.
- If possible get your photos taken by a professional.(See below for a resource, along with a discount code**)
- Have fun and remember this is going to lead you to love.
PROFILE PHOTO DON’TS
- Wear all black in more than one photo.
- Post selfies.
- Post glamor-type shots or photos that are too suggestive or revealing.
- Wear too much makeup.
- Wear dark, mat lipstick.
- Post photos with your family or children.
- Show yourself with the same expression in all photos.
- Have more than 6 or so pictures.
- Have only headshots.
- Show yourself with other people – especially other women!
- Put up any bad photos (Men will assume you look like your worst photo…probably just like you do when you look at them.)
- Ignore the importance of posting good pictures.
Honestly, women are far more critical of their appearance than men. Men are trying decide whether they might like you; not whether you look like a fashion model.
So just relax, sister. Get someone to take some great profile photos of you, or better yet, have a professional take your pictures. Then proudly put yourself out there…because you are a beautiful woman!
Here is a suggestion for a company that specializes in taking online dating profile photos:
Online Profile Pros For a nice discount, enter code BOBBI10.
There are other companies that specialize in profile photos, so feel free to google away!
** In full disclosure, I am an affiliate of Online Profile Pros so if you choose to hire them, I do receive a small commission.
Ladies . . . DON’T POST PHOTOS OF YOU WITH YOUR EX. Or any guy that we might THINK is your ex. That includes your adult sons, nephews, and pool boys. That doesn’t mean crop them out of the picture, it means only use ones they weren’t in in the first place. In fact, don’t crop ANYONE out. All that does is make us wonder whose shoulder you’re snuggling up to and why you chopped their head off. Yes, that includes your daughters. And by the way, unless you like potentially awkward moments, you don’t want pictures with your adult daughters on your dating profile, especially if you don’t identify yourself in the caption (never mind that you are blonde in every picture and your daughter is bald. We guys are stupid that way–yes, even the guy you want).
And for the record, if your description is a laundry list of dealbreakers or a treatise on the undesirability of Scrubs, we’re probably not going to bother finishing it.