Worth 1000 Words: Making the Most of Your Online Dating Profile Picture

Along with your profile text, your picture is, really, all you are on line.  Your words are your voice and your picture gives you a face.  Zoosk has policies about prohibited photos (https://www.zoosk.com/photo_guidelines.php) and we require that you have at least one photo on your profile before you interact with other members; a clear picture of just you, showing your full (or mostly) face. If you think about it, that makes sense: without a face your messages are just a voice with no body!  You’re like a ghost:  Spooooooky!  So if you want to be not-so-creepy, you’ll want the best pictures you can get.  Now, in all honesty, I am not a photographer, but from several years working online I can offer you some good advice about what is a bad photograph!

The most common problem is the blurry shot.  Back in the day this was caused by poorly focused lenses and incorrect shutter speed, but no one uses such jargon when talking about digital photographs: what matters is called “resolution” or “pixels-per-inch” and when a picture gets blurry it’s called “pixelation”. Forget the lingo: what it means is that some pictures look quite nice very small but when enlarged they look horrid!  Here is a sample:

Notice that the smaller version looks ok.  When expanded to display size (as on your Zoosk datecard) the picture looses all clarity.  This is a bad choice for any photo and our moderating team will probably delete it.  The solution is to start with a larger photo:

If you have a larger photo to start with it won’t expand and so it will show in exactly the way you expect it to.  A blurry pic doesn’t say anything bad.  Other pictures manage to convey a message you mightn’t like however.

Don’t hide your face!  This sends a message, loud and clear, to the other Zooskers looking at your profile: “I have something to hide. There’s a reason I’m too embarrassed to show off my face!” Got a girlfriend already?  If you don’t want to look like some sort of creepy lurker, show your face!

One other problem affects other-wise perfectly good photos: the group shot.

Whose profile is this?  Yes, you might be able to piece it together from other parts of the profile or by pairing it up with other pictures, but what if this is your only photo?  We do ask that your primary photo, at least, be of you only: a clear shot of your face.  Imagine going on your first date in a candle-lit restaurant, would your fellow Zoosker know you from your photo?

Of course you could edit this picture so it was only one face or the other, but then you’d have a too-small picture that would show up blurry on the site just like our first example.  This is fated to be a second photo, but not a primary one.

A companion problem is pictures that are too dark.  These are usually taken with your computer camera – often with a light coming from behind.  This throws off what is called the “exposure” in the picture:

Natural lighting works best, but sometimes your computer may not want to travel outside! Cell phones are good if they take good photos and you can easily get the photo from your phone to the web.  If you have an Android phone or an iPhone/iPad, our Zoosk Apps (available for all three) will let you take a photo and upload it directly to your Zoosk Datecard!

There are some photo problems that seem to affect some users more than others.

Guys seem to take this picture a lot, and we’ve noticed that woman just don’t like it.  At all.  Not one little bit.  In fact, we get complaints about pictures like this and so it violates our moderation rules. We delete pictures like this whenever we see them. Why do guys take this picture over and over? This may be one of the great mysteries of the universe.  This says several things to other users:

You have no friends.

You do have a very big ego.

Probably not much else, however.

You wouldn’t know how to get a woman’s attention if you tried.

Trust me: you have friends!  One of them will help you take pictures!  Just ask – and if you do, indeed, have the sort of body that you can show off, a picture of you relaxing by the pool on vacation is way better than inside your bathroom!

What works best for a primary photo is a nice, smiling picture; the classic head-shot.  But what happens if you add a picture to your profile and instead of looking right it looks like the one below?

We’ve got you covered there!  Next to each picture uploaded on your photo page, you’ll find a blue button that says “Edit”.  Clicking there will help you make simple changes: you can rotate the picture and cut it to size.

There we go!

We do allow secondary photos on your profile, you can have a total of six different shots.  It’s best to show your readers things you enjoy such as you skiing or you in the Community Choir, or you relaxing on the beach with a tropical beverage (preferably with lots of fruit and an umbrella).

All pictures are seen by our moderation team and in the review process they may get deleted.  If a picture suddenly vanishes from your profile, it’s possible it was moderated and deleted.  There are some things that we just don’t allow and you can find out about that on our photo policy page, https://www.zoosk.com/photo_guidelines.php.  Those aside I hope this post helps you avoid not just “illegal” pics but also “bad” ones.  Feel free to contact customer support by email (mailto:support@zoosk.com) or by phone (888-939-6675) if you have any questions.