Dear 100 Hour Board,
Is it vain and shallow to hire a professional photographer to shoot my online dating profile picture? I'm not a photogenic person. Also, most of my recent photos are in group settings, which are not ideal for online dating purposes. Now, I'm not talking about getting linkedin headshots or excessively photoshopped photographs. I'm a guy and the profile will be on usual LDS dating sites. Thanks!
I don't think it's vain or shallow, but I also don't think it's necessary.
I can't claim to be an expert at online dating, nor have I tried any specific LDS sites, so there's a distinct possibility that my limited Tinder experience wouldn't be applicable. But online dating tends to rely on quick decisions, with people deciding over the course of a few seconds whether they're interested in someone. Your photos are a crucial aspect of that, not only in terms of attractiveness, but in establishing personality. Professional photos may come across as too stiffed or forced.
I'm not photogenic either, nor do I end up taking that many pictures of myself. The newest picture I have on my Tinder profile is more than six months old, and the oldest one is from 2015. In my mind that's still a fairly recent picture, and I don't look particularly different, so I get by. Therefore I think getting professional photos solely for online dating is probably overkill, especially for a man. You're welcome to do it if that's what you want, but I don't think women will be analyzing your photos that extensively.
I don't think that's a bad idea, though it might cost more than you want. If you do end up using a professional photographer, I'd be upfront and honest with them as to the purpose of the pictures, and I think that would allow them to make stylistic decisions that would fit your purpose.
Also, you might find this article by the New York Times interesting, called An Inside Look at Your Favorite Dating Sites. One interesting excerpt is from Meredith Davis, the head of communications at a dating app called The League. She discusses the importance not only of photo quality, but of how you present yourself.
I have the same League profile in New York and San Francisco. It’s the same photos, but my New York self performs a lot lower simply because of the ratio. There’s a lot more women than men in New York, and the competition for high-achieving, ambitious women who have great photos — I don’t say “pretty” or “hot” because it’s not about that, it’s about how you market yourself — is a lot higher...
[Regarding how users can make their dating profile the best it can be] On the League, you have six photo spots. This is basically six advertising templates.
If you have a dog, put a dog in there. If you play instruments, put that in there. I don’t know what it is with Machu Picchu; everyone has photos with Machu Picchu.
Show one photo with your family. If you don’t have children, don’t put your baby cousins or your nieces. If your best friend is super-attractive, more attractive than you, think about that. No sunglasses. It hides your identity and people can’t relate to you when you have sunglasses on. You’d be surprised how many ex-girlfriend and ex-boyfriend photos we see.
No selfies. I see so many car selfies. You can literally see the seatbelt. No Snapchat filters.
Get feedback from friends. If you’re a guy, ask a good girlfriend, “Can you look through my Facebook photos?”
Friends are a good source of information. Not feeling it? You could also seek input on your current dating photos from Photofeeler, a free service which exists explicitly to provide feedback on people's pictures for business, social and dating situations.