It's the part of your dating profile that can be the difference between success and failure with online dating and yet it's remarkable how little attention we often pay to it.
Your profile picture. Given the very visual experience of browsing a website, having a good photo is an essential part of attracting another user's interest in you. Naturally, the more interest your profile receives, the more likely you're going to be contacted by someone.
With the advent pf digital photography most people have access to the facility to take photos on a range of devices and importantly, the ability to edit and change them afterwards.
Being able to crop, enlarge and change the colour of photos radically alters what we can do with them without having to rely on the services of a professional.
There is an element of skill in taking a good photo, and at the same time it's very easy to take a bad one. Here are a few simple tips to help you take eye-catching, attractive pictures to improve your online dating game.
Know what your camera can do
Even the cheapest compact cameras will have a variety of settings on them to ensure that you can take a good photo, but if you mean serious business, then look into getting a digital single lens reflex (SLR) camera. The depth of field on a camera with this sort of lense will yield the best results.
Take advantage of the portrait setting. The latest smartphones take a decent picture as well, but otherwise avoid using a mobile phone or laptop camera. Remember that their tiny aperture means that the quality will be poor, especially indoors.
The long arm of the lonely
Get a friend or family member involved. A photo of yourself taken by you is always going to look horribly forced and makes you look a bit lonely. With someone else behind the viewfinder, you’ll feel more relaxed. They may also be able to tell you what physical features should be emphasized.
Let there be light
The most important aspect of photography is light and getting as much of it as possible. Try and get outdoors, especially if it's nice and sunny. Shoot your picture with the sun on the subject, not behind it. A photo of you outdoors suggests you lead a healthy and active lifestyle, which will look good on your dating profile.
If you're going to take a photo indoors or at night it's important to note that the automatic setting on a compact camera cannot control the level of flash, which can result in pictures that are often far too overexposed.
Many now have a "night mode" which shoots the picture at a slightly slower shutter speed, reducing the level of light from the flash, although you will find that the picture will be ever so slightly blurred. Sometimes putting a bit of translucent tape over the flash will help diffuse it, resulting in less overexposure.
Keep it simple and close
Straight forward portrait photography is about getting as close as possible to the subject without the shot becoming blurred. All dating sites will require a head and shoulders shot of you looking directly at the camera, so ensure that this dominates the composition. Keep the background of the shot to one colour to really ensure that you stand out.
Take lots of pictures
Digital cameras allow us to take as many photos as possible, so really take advantage of it and even if you feel you have too many, keep them in reserve to be uploaded onto your profile at a later date.
Dating sites will allow you to have a gallery, which you should populate with a variety of different photos of yourself.
It's always worth having a full body shot, one with friends celebrating, and shots of yourself enjoying the activities that you've mentioned on your profile. So, if you like travelling or playing sport, back it up with appropriate shots. Avoid photos of you standing next to someone that might look like an ex-partner.
Crop and edit
The secret to a great photo is often in post-production. There are a variety of simple editing programs available to download for free and most computers come with a basic one - MS Paint for example.
Cropping is a great way of making a bland photo look good, but remember to make sure that you set your image quality high enough to allow this.
Making the photo black and white can often turn a shot with relatively little colour into something more artistic and also striking, which is what you want to achieve. For the more serious-minded, http://www.gimp.org/ is a powerful and free program that is the equivalent of the professional’s choice Photoshop.
Post a photo of yourself 10 years ago unless you have up-to-date ones alongside it.
Men - avoid the "body" shots - it's likely that they'll be deleted anyway by the site's admin.
Post photos of yourself without sunglasses - people want to see your eyes.
Remember to smile! It's for a dating site, not a passport application.
Try these tips on your profile. Join iafrica.com Dating now!