Want to put your best face forward in the world of online dating? It all begins with your personal profile photos. But choosing picture perfect images is not as simple as one would think. In fact, some would say there is a science behind it. So to help make things a little easier for you, we interviewed Gordon Gooch, the expert behind Dating Headshots.

Q: What is the number one mistake people make when it comes to selecting their personal picture?

Using a group shot as a main photo.  Prospective daters have to guess which person you are.  If you want to use a group shot, use it as a secondary photo to round out your portfolio.

Q: What is the right number of pictures people should include in their profile without going overboard?

Online daters should have at least two photos: one portrait or close-up of the face and a full body or 3/4 body shot.  Online dating companies use thumbnails of your main photo for the search results, therefore your main photo should be a close-up of the face so that your face isn’t too small in the thumbnail.  If people can’t see your face, they often won’t click your profile to learn more about you.  After that, you can supplement with photos that show a little more about you.  Be sure not to go overboard, the online dating site is not a Facebook® Fan Page, so don’t post more than five photos.

Q: How often should I change my main profile photo?

You should change your main online profile photo at least once a week.  The online dating companies will deem you to be an “Active” user and will put your profile at the top of the search results.

Q: The provocative body shots may get more clicks but why would you advise against posting photos that are too revealing or inappropriate?

For sites like Online Booty Call, the provocative photos may get you the clicks you want.  However, provocative photos on other dating sites probably won’t get the quality responses you’re looking for, but instead will result in tons of inappropriate comments.

Q: Please tell us about the funniest photo makeover you’ve done for an online dater?

We actually had a client that changed into his tennis whites, complete with headband and racket for some of the photos.  He wanted to make sure that people knew he was athletic and fit.  If you really want these sporty pictures to be a part of your profile, it’s best to have a friend take photos of you when you are on the court; otherwise it’s cheesy.

Q: What can people expect when they sign up for a professional service to do their headshots?

DatingHeadshots.com only works with professional commercial photographers.  This is what they do for a living, so they know how to get a great photo.  Our photographers understand that online dating clients want natural, non-posed photos.  The photographers often try to take photos outside, when weather permits and work to make the clients feel comfortable.

Q: Any stats you can offer to prove how adding pictures to a personal profile is critical to online success?

Online dating companies continuously claim that profiles with photos are 10-15 times more likely to receive responses than profiles without photos.  In fact, most online dating searches are automatically filtered to only show profiles with photos.  Without photos, your likelihood of being seen goes down dramatically.  We have surveyed our clients and of the respondents, 85% claim an increase in quality responses to their profiles and more dates.

Q: Should single parents who are dating include family pictures with their kids?

No, it may discourage potential daters from learning more about you.  This information should be part of your written profile, but it shouldn’t be the focus of your photos. 

Q: What tips would you give to single boomers who often find it challenging to upload and manage photos?

For those that are technically challenged, I would suggest creating a single folder on your desktop and place only the photos you want online in that folder.  That way you only need to locate one folder to choose and upload your photos.

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