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Picking A Profile Pic? Ditch The Extreme Close-up!

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If a picture is worth a thousand words, a picture zoomed in too close to your face is worth a thousand missed opportunities. According to researchers at Cal Tech, online daters are actually less likely to want to contact other daters who have a profile picture taken too close to their face (in other words, one of those obviously self-taken portraits where the user poses cutely and snaps a photo courtesy of their smartphone).

Why? Cal Tech scientists say these close-up photos give other users the feeling that the person in the picture can’t be trusted. Their research also shows users think the person in the photo is typically less attractive and less competent.

“We found that photographs of faces taken from within personal space elicit lower investments in an economic trust game, and lower ratings of social traits (such as trustworthiness, competence, and attractiveness), compared to photographs taken from a greater distance,” researchers wrote in the study’s abstract.

The study asked people to compare several photos of 18 different people. The 18 people were each shown in two photos, one was a close-up the person has obviously taken themselves and the other was taken from a farther distance by someone else. The findings show a person was consistently judged as less attractive and more untrustworthy in their close-up.

If you think about it, these photos do scream a bit of neediness (and potentially extreme vanity). If all the photos you use on your online dating profile are self-portraits taken in front of your bathroom mirror, it could lead the person checking you out online to wonder if you’re a friendless, self-absorbed person who has nothing else to do, but take pictures of yourself? And who wants to date someone like that?

To ensure you never make this mistake on your online dating profile, follow my three simple rules to picking the best profile pics possible!

Rachel is JDate’s Community Manager. She’s here to break down the rules of dating, share first date tips and offer words of encouragement when dating gets tough. Hit up her Tumblr page for more insightful advice. Or, learn what makes Rachel tick by visiting her JDate profile!
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5 Comments »

  • JustEmerging says:

    I encourage of a variety of photos and facial expressions. Some post numerous photos but each has the same pasted smile, they’re interchangeable. I believe real life situations with captions below give a sense of the person. I generally love the comments of crtb in this thread, but I disagree on most comments about photos. Photos with kids give me a sense of the person and the family life. Old photos are okay so long as the date of the photo is identified and there are newer photos too. I have nothing against women holding cats. In general, have about five photos, I’d say. If the photos give context or a sense of who you are, all the better.

  • Nealio says:

    Good GAWD!

    Could you possibly come up with MORE complaints? Don’t answer PLEASE; it was purely rhetorical.

  • crtb says:

    Since I am female, I can only write from a woman’s point of view but after talking to many other women, who are also looking for partners, the following is a list of things that baffle us and don’t get replies or second dates.

    1. Pictures where we can’t see your face (blurry, too far away, hat and/or glasses.)

    2. Not interested in seeing a picture of your car or motorcycle. You know that saying, “Men who drive big fancy expensive cars are small in other areas.” immediately comes to mind.

    3. If a woman shared pictures of her cats, she would be labeled “Crazy Cat Lady”. Likewise, we are not interested in pictures of your dogs or the fish that you caught.

    4. Get rid of all photos that are over 5 years old. You don’t look like that any longer! You are setting us up to be disappointed when we meet.

    5. Photos of you without a shirt on. We understand that you are proud of your body and have worked hard at keeping in shape but that is a huge turn-off. We can tell what you look like with your clothes on.

    6. Photos of you with your ex. We don’t care if it is a great picture of you. It reeks of, “You’re not over her yet.” or it looks like you are bragging that you use to date a pretty young thing.

    7. Middle aged men (and older) who list the age requirements of whom they would like to date, 20 years younger than themselves. Really?

    8. Don’t post pictures of your children or grandchildren. That shows of lack of respect for their privacy.

    9. Pictures that you took of yourself using a cell phone in front of your bathroom mirror.

    10. A profile that has the minimum amount of writing or questions answered. You wouldn’t fill out a job interview application with minimal responses. There are thousands of men to choose from. Tell the reader about yourself so that you are chosen for something other than your looks, income or profession.

    11. Include several pictures of yourself: At least one of just your face, another of you in a casual setting and perhaps one of you dressed up.

    12. Never lie!! People hate to be deceived. Tell your real age, real income, your real body weight or size. Don’t say you look athletic when you are pudgy.

    13. Be honest about your interest. If you are a couch potato don’t say you go to museums, concerts, plays (etc.) when you haven’t been to any of these activities in the last 10 years. People want to meet other people with common interest. If all you do is work and watch TV then find someone who likes to do the same thing. It is not anyone else’s job to supply you with a life and entertainment.

    14. Kiss of death: Writing you like long walks on the beach and snuggling in front of the fireplace. Even if this is true, this shows total lack of imagination. It is a generic as a single rose and a box of drug store candy.

    15. Don’t push sex. You’ll get more with patience. First date: just offer a hug. If she want to do more, let her take the lead as to how far you can go. And who made that 3 date rule? People who are serious, put in the time to get to be friends first. That can sometimes take months. Yes, months! If they sleep with you on the first date, don’t you wonder how many other people they slept with so quickly?

    14. Always wear a condom. Have you lost your mind? Do you know how many men have made this a deal breaker? Getting tested only guarantees the other person is healthy at that moment. Doesn’t mean they will be healthy next week, next month, next year.

    15. Be honest. If you are seeing other people and want to test the waters before settling down. There is nothing wrong with that. What sucks are people who give the impression that you are the only person they are dating.

    16. Be polite. If there was no love connection, don’t just disappear afterwards. Send a short email stating that it wasn’t the right fit. Never tell a person you are going to call and then don’t Treat other people’s feelings like you want to be treated. Karma does exist!

    17. Don’t be so quick to throw people away. Give a person at least three dates. Everyone is nervous on first dates and don’t always make a good first impression.

    18. Get a hobby that you are passionate about. Interested people are interesting.

    19. Guys: learn to cook at least three good dishes: pasta, chicken and a fish/steak. We’re taking about boiling water and putting something in the oven for 30 minutes. Learn to bake a potato and make a salad. It is not that hard. Nothing more pathetic than a grown man who is helpless.

    20. Never bad mouth your ex. There once was something wonderful about this person or you would not have married her. Also don’t bash your children’s mother, even if she is a monster or crazy. It makes you sound bitter and not over her. People who have moved-on have forgiven.

  • Laszlo Dobbermann says:

    Pictures of extreme close-ups may be a sign of shyness, introvertedness, selb-upsorption as you say, but most likely it is a sigh of a demented mind suffering from an accented personality disorder, such as from borderline p.d.

    I also stay away from contacting women pictured with babies. These are grandmothers, as I’m 58 and I seek an age-apporpriate partner. Grannies with babies are depressed in old age depression, and their only solace is seeing their own offspring.

    I also stay away from old women who look glamorous in extremely nice homes. They have the spoils of their beauty, and I can’t compete with their Louis XIVth washbasin for attractiveness.

    I also stay away from people whose life stories are a string of trivial cliches. THIS IS A HUGE MISTAKE I MAKE. Because people who have cliches are normal; they have more urgent things to attend to BECAUSE THEY HAVE AN ACTUAL LIFE than to dream up an original text. If I had my ways, I would write a clicheed, trite profile for myself. I can’t.

    I also stay away from people who say one or two very shot sentences in their profiles under each heading. These appear to be women void of the joy of imagination. They don’t enjoy writing. The clichee writers of the previous paragraph might have a potential to enjoy writing, they just haven’t had the chance to experiment with opening their imagination. The short sentence writers are void of it, and disinterested in it.

    I also stay away from list writers. It’s not because of a negative opinion — my wife and best lover ever was a list-writer herself — but I just don’t have the literary capacity as a reader to go through lists and create a conceptual model of the list writer. A text-writer can provide that much easier for me.

    I also stay away from very good, funny, insightful, quippy, and smart writers. These women are the master of the trade, and almost always lady lawyers. Well. I fear that they and I would make a wonderful, brilliant union, on all levels possible, and excitingly and enthrusiastically and with our full force, too. But. One wrong move, like going out with a hooker, or grabbing their sisters’ behind, or flirting with their secretary, or making too large eyes at other beauties a the holiday party would not only finish our relationship or marriage, but finish it good. “Never cross a woman”, said a famous writer, “for hell knows no fury like a woman scorn’d.” I can’t keep my life scorn-free. I am a scorner. I was born to be a scorner, and also am a born-again scorner. I feel imprisoned and cornered I can’t act scornered.

    So smart, lively, funny, punchy and dynamic women are out. They will not only make me part with my house, car and kids, but also with my dignity, with my self-worth and self-respect, and with my inner self as well. Yikes.

    What remains? The professional and good writer, or/and the good looking woman, no matter what her other attributes.

    The writers reject me. I don’t know what it is with me, but I fell for two writers, totally, head over heels, and they rejected me on the first approach, and on the second approach. one of the two rejected me on the third approach, too. I really don’t know what it is in me that they see as a completley repulsive trait. Only the writers see that repulsive trait, and they can’t be smarter than lawyers.

    The good looking women… I never got to the date level, but I had a few exchanges of email with some. That’s the best I can show, for six years of internet dating.

    Truth be told… I cried over two women in the past on jDate. A writer, and a lawyer. The lawyer especially. She was the apple of my eye, my joy and inspirtation, my everything if I could only have her. She was like twenty years younger than I, but she was more mature, and definitely had better knowledge of people’s character. She was perfect, because she was INHERENTLY good, not a put-on goodness she had. She was very patient and able to diffuse conflict, come out of it as a winner, and make the other person not feel defeated, but feel as if a compromise has been reached. She was… goddess.

    She had two young kids, and she loved men. She actually got high on inhaling the pheromones of young, tall, muscular, well-built and athletic men. A relationship with an old man like me, was doomed from the word go, or would have been, if she had allowed it to happen.

    Only time could tell for sure, but with this lawyer woman I would never, ever, ever, feel like scorning her. It may be words as I write them, or maybe ’tis the truth. Only practice could tell, but my strong feeling is that I would…. lover her to much to do it to her.

    She was also five inches taller than I.

    I weep for her heart, her precious heart and for her precocious, diamond-bright and sharp, but not cutting mind.

    She was a giver, a good woman, and not at all a push-over. In fact, she was fearsome, but lovable, in her ability to preserve her dignity and that of anyone she was dealing with. A Wonderwoman. A Wonderwoman in human terms, not in comic-book or fantastic terms.

    She seemed like the best human being I somewhat brushed up to and crushed over in my entire life. A mother, a lover, an upright stander, a thinker, a knower, a feeler of people. A giver, most definitely, a dignifyer and a lover. Queeny.

  • Dru Richman says:

    Don’t worry about this article or a bout the recommendations. The JDate censors will be more than willing to strike any photo that they feel is too big, too small, or too anything else.

    Just my 2¢.

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