Swipe-rightable branding: Making your best first impression online

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It’s the big V-day, so we’re taking a look at using your personal brand to find that special someone online. Part of whether Cupid will strike online is down to chance of course. That numbers game. But there’s part of it that’s down to what you can control: your personal brand.

Our guest blogger this month is Lucy Williams, founder of My Heart Skipped photography. Lucy is passionate about helping people to quickly transform their online dating experience with authentic portraits that attract amazing people. Here she shares her top pointers on how to get noticed online.

Here’s Lucy…

It’s estimated that 1 in 3 couples now start their relationships online. It’s where over half of us will meet our potential future partners by 2031 (eHarmony).  Whatever your thoughts on online dating you can’t ignore that it’s a great place to meet someone, but with over seven million of us using online dating in the UK, how do you make sure your online dating profile is one of the ones that stands out?

Here are three easy ways you can enhance your dating profile…

1. Professional Photos

As a professional dating photographer one of the questions I get asked most is ‘do people actually pay for their photos?’ Yes, they do, And with amazing results. I couldn’t quite believe it myself when I first started offering the service! If you are serious about a) meeting someone like-mined who you connect with, and b) not wasting hours and hours on online dating sites, then having professional photos is the top way you can boost your online dating profile.

A good professional photographer will go to great lengths to help you feel relaxed in front of the camera. I particularly love taking time and building a connection with my clients because I believe that is what gets the ‘real’ you across in your photos.

Professional photographers are also adept at noticing all aspects of your photos from what’s happening in the background to whether your outfits are sitting right. They’ll give you a range of photographs from headshots to full length, and most importantly they’ll give you a set of photos that are visually interesting and eye-catching. Photos that will stop potential dates in their tracks and invite them to click on your profile. We all know the phrase ‘you never get a second chance to make a first impression’ and nowhere is that more true than on online dating. You have literally seconds to have your photo clicked on, so make sure it’s a great one!

I already have photos but don’t know which to use…
Choose well-lit photos with you central in the frame and aim to use smiling photos that look friendly which are statistically the most attractive on online dating. Try to avoid selfies, photos where you can’t really see your face (sunglasses/ hats/ too far away etc) or ‘tiger-stroking’. 😉

If you are getting a friend to take some shots for you then choose locations that have good natural light. Make sure you check out what is happening in the background and avoid visual distractions like lots of people, trees/ lamp posts appearing out of your head, photo bombers, etc.!

A good tip is to use at least four or five pictures including a close-up or mid-length photo as your ‘opening’ portrait, a full length photo which shows your body shape, a mid-length of you in a different outfit or location, and a ‘conversation-starter’ photo like you doing an activity you love or amongst a group of friends (ensure you are visible in this shot and that you stand out).

I hate myself in photos
If I had a pound for every time someone has said this to me…

I do understand. Unfortunately, it’s a necessity for online dating so take a deep breath and trust that your photographer will take the time to make sure you are looking at your best and that the photos reflect who you are.

I need to…. lose weight / get fit / buy new clothes, etc. before I book a shoot
This is an entirely personal choice of course, though do bear in mind that it could also be a way of avoiding getting on with dating. Often, we never feel ready for photos, especially ones that are for attracting a date! In my experience your smile and how friendly you look are what will most attract those matches.

Where should I have my photoshoot?
Somewhere you love to go can be a great place to start. Consider the kind of person you’d like to meet, will they be someone urban, arty, outdoorsy, sporty, etc.? If so, choosing locations that may subconsciously speak to them can also make your photos more appealing. Natural light is often best for portrait photos so think outdoors with interesting or non-specific backdrops.

If you are having a professional shoot make sure you discuss locations with your photographer as they’ll have plenty of ideas of places that will work well for your pictures and give you lots of variation in shots.

Do professional photos look too professional?
Professional photos are well-exposed and visually attracting. They will look natural and help you stand out. I guarantee that potential dates won’t suspect (or care) that you’ve had a professional shoot, especially when it’s led to them finding you.

2) An inviting written profile

Once you have photos that are making potential dates stop and take notice, you’ll need to put together a bit of blurb that enhances the picture they are building of you. Most people find this difficult to do! On Tinder you’ll need just a paragraph, on other dating sites you may need lots of paragraphs. Do fill them all in.

My top tip for enhancing your written profile is to embellish.

Instead of writing ‘I like to cook, read books and do yoga’ consider WHY you like those things. Here’s where your personal brand can really come out.

‘I love cooking especially Italian food to share. In my spare time I like reading, the last book I read was ‘How to be more Pirate’ which gave me lots of useful insights!! Once a week I do yoga, it’s amazing how zen it makes me feel for the rest of the week’.

I just wrote that quickly, but you get the idea. Already it’s starting to tell a story of who you are, how you live your life, invites somebody in (who can resist sharing Italian food?) and, most importantly, gives a potential date lots of ways to open a conversation with you.

3. Update your profile regularly

After all that hard work putting your online dating profile together, it’s tempting to never change it…BUT online dating works best when you do! Changes indicate to the dating app that your profile is active so, even when you make small adjustments, the algorithms will ensure you’ll come up higher in new searches.

Changes can include swapping in one photo for another or altering words in your profile. Having a wide selection of images helps because you can use different photos across a variety of dating apps and also changeover photos on one dating app to keep your profile looking fresh and ‘up there’ in the searches. Some dating sites also give you questions to answer, if you can fill in one a day that will really help keep your profile visible.

Thanks Lucy! When it comes to online dating, perhaps a picture really is worth a thousand words!




Lucy Williams is a portrait photographer who offers eye-catching online dating photography and support with writing natural, engaging dating profiles. She founded My Heart Skipped photography in 2010 and initially photographed couples and weddings before falling in love with dating portrait photography.




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