Am I ugly?

reddit online-dating photos advice


Lately I’ve been reading loads of threads from Redditors and Quorans who couldn’t understand why they receive no more than 2 likes or matches in a month on dating apps. The most recurring complaints and worries that came up were “I’m ugly and I got the confirmation from Photofeeler”, “Am I really that ugly?” and “Women on Tinder say I don’t look good in my photos”. Have you ever thought that maybe the reason for your failure is not you but the photo you posted? Dating is already hard enough, why are you sabotaging yourself by posting bathroom selfies, mirror selfies at the gym or random photos where you’re shirtless? It takes a moment to decide if swiping left or right on your photos, that’s why you should aim to show the best version of yourself.

At the beginning of 2020 DATEnhance interviewed Nicholas Goodden, Guy Milnes, Lucy Williams and Lynn Hammarstrom-Craggs, professional photographers who also take care of online dating photography in London and the surrounding areas. They gave us interesting advice about what you should absolutely avoid on dating apps and told us their thoughts about selfies and the key elements that make a good photo. 


Online dating profile

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- What’s the most common mistake when creating a profile?

Lucy Williams: “Not to invest in your profile. If you were creating your CV or LinkedIn profile for a job you'd (hopefully) spend the time to write the very best things about you, your skills, your experience, your unique selling points, etc. You'd aim to have professional or professional-looking photos that show you in your very best light to attract potential employers. It's exactly the same with dating. In a way, your dating profile isn't about you but is more about attracting someone else. Invest the time (and money if necessary) to create a profile that will shine when your dream date looks at it”.


- What’s the most common mistake people make when choosing their online photos?

Lucy Williams: “People often choose photos that they like of themselves and feel attractive in, without considering what that photo communicates. In reality, your dating photos aren't for you but are for your dating app audience and it's really good to consider what they see in your photos. I'd recommend having a professional dating photo shoot where your photographer can help you with that. Or asking a trusted friend for their advice on choosing your profile photos. If possible, someone of the gender you are hoping to attract”.

Guy Milnes: “Definitely choosing photos from years ago. Remember that the end goal is usually to have someone meet you (and fall in love!), so do ensure that your chosen photos look like you. We all get attached to the image of our younger selves but resist the temptation to do it! Many prospective daters hold on to photos from years ago and have unrealistic expectations that people will overlook this on meeting. They probably won’t!”

Lynn Hammarstrom-Craggs: "I think the thing that people get the most disappointment from, when meeting someone they’ve met online, is that the person in question is using an old photo of themselves, or one that’s been heavily filtered. The last thing anyone wants when meeting someone is to find they don’t look at all like their photo. Natural, well-lit and up-to-date photos are essential even if you love that picture of yourself from 6 years ago!"


- Can you give us an example of what you should not post on your online dating profile?

A set of photos with your face not fully visible i.e. sunglasses, hats, too far away and so on.

Photos with you in groups of people, where it's not easy to pick you out / or you don't stand out.

Miserable-expression photos.

Poor quality photos.

A set of photos with your pet/children/car/boat in every shot.

Photos that are not how you currently look.

Bathroom mirror selfies!

Bare chest selfies, however buff you are.

Political opinions.

And it sounds obvious but... sexist, racist or prejudiced comments!

- 3 tips to stand out from the crowd?

Guy Milnes: “I give tips for taking and using good portrait shots on my website, but these are my top 3…

Look approachable: Be happy and choose photos that scream out for people to ‘swipe right’.

Avoid poor quality and low-light selfies: There are so many of these on dating apps, so stand apart from the crowd and do something different.

Use a good variety of photos: Include your best head shot first as your main pic, then a full length, one doing an activity you enjoy and even a selfie (the above tip excepted) if you like it! Show your character and that you can have fun. But don’t put up all extreme close-ups showing just your face, as people will think you have something to hide!”


Selfies yay or nay?

What It's Actually Like to Take a Selfie as Told by GIFs | by Tori  Robertson | Medium

- What’s your position on selfies? Do you think they should be present on a dating profile? Do you think they’re a form of narcissism?

Lucy Williams says “Statistics suggest that selfies do badly on online dating apps so, for that reason alone, I'd advise not using selfies. Selfies certainly have their place on social media but on dating apps they can come across as inauthentic. Selfies are always posed so they don't look natural, the camera is only ever an arms-length away, the quality isn't always great, and they can look like you haven't made a lot of effort. I think the only time selfies can work on dating apps are when you are somewhere where only a selfie is possible and where the background is the centrepiece, e.g. you being part of an experience, like a festival or sky diving or whilst travelling. These can be really useful as conversation-starter photos towards the end of your set of dating photos. By then your potential dates have seen lots of photos of you and when they come to your selfie they'll want to know more about where you are and the experience you're having, rather than looking at you in the photo.”

According to Guy Milnes “Selfies serve a purpose, and it was only a matter of time before their potential as an art form was realised. People were taking selfies before the term was coined and prior to digital. I can remember having a film camera and turning it round on myself and a friend to get us both in the photo, but never did this on myself alone. Social media’s emphasis on image is largely responsible for that. On dating sites, I think good selfies are important for many reasons. Some people may not have anyone around to take their photo and they can also experiment and try out different things until they take some that work on their profile. Phones make this much easier now with the front facing camera. So, selfies are a fact of life that are here to stay and the fact that they are being recognised as an art form is a good thing. Over time, it should go a long way to raising overall quality and make people want to do better. Let’s make the Internet a more aesthetically pleasing place! However… I do strongly object to selfies taken in the mirror, particularly if the flash is in shot too!!”

Nico Goodden: “Even if at times I think something isn’t to my taste I don’t go to people and tell them that. There is enough hate in this world for me not to add to it. I try instead to encourage and inspire people when it comes to photography. So, if selfies are your thing, go for it! I think if you look closely some of those shooting the most selfies aren’t necessarily the most confident at all, instead they need reassurance from others, hence why they post them. You mention narcissism, but aren’t we all a little like that anyway? Don’t we all look in the mirror a bit more than we should? I’m not a guy you’ll see posting selfies much, maybe one every 6 months, just in case people wonder if my face has dramatically changed in the past half year”.

Lynn Hammarstrom-Craggs: "I think everyone would agree that the very first thing people look at when online dating is the photo. Someone might be the love of your life, but if all you have to go on is a badly lit bathroom selfie, you may never swipe and know!" Speaking of selfies... "Unless you have access to very good lighting, a l-o-n-g selfie stick and a lot of reflectors, you’re never going to look as good in a selfie as you would in a photo taken by a professional. Selfie shots tend to distort the face somewhat, so lens correction would be an issue as well."