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The Ultimate Eight Tips to Create Kick-Ass Dating Profile Photos That Attract Awesome Dates

03/09/2015 12:31 BST | Updated 02/09/2016 10:59 BST

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Have you noticed something different about online dating? There's a shift happening on dating sites and apps where people's photos are starting to get better and better. Companies have known for years that the easiest way to market themselves is by using high quality, enticing visuals and now, finally, online daters are catching on and stepping up their game.

OK Cupid undertook some research recently, which showed that 90% of what people think about your dating profile is focused on your photo. Finding the love of your life is one of the most important things you're going to do in your life so this isn't an area to skip over.

People who want their profiles to stand out and grab attention are turning to pro photographers specialising in dating photography to help them out. As someone who kick-started the dating photography genre, I want to share my top tips for transforming your dating profile photos from blah to kick-ass.

People are going to pick up all sorts of clues about you and your lifestyle from your dating photos, so make sure they are the sort of clues that support who you are and align with the messages you want to share about yourself.

1. Get in the zone

The one thing that can make all the difference to your photo and over which your photographer has absolutely no control, is the amount of self-love you're rocking. Get on the case, do what it takes but amp up that self-love. Put on your best heels, grab that sexy leather jacket, get your hair cut, repeat affirmations, ditch the take-aways, nurture your skin, indulge in a manicure, get some exercise, but dig deep and do what it takes to get in the right frame of mind to rock your photo shoot.

2. Choose your photographer

Choosing the right photographer is crucial because every photographer has a different approach and style and you need to make sure you're going to love the end product. The best way to do this is to check out their portfolio and see if their portraits appeal to you. Also check out their testimonial or praise section and see what clients and dating experts are saying about them. Aim for a portfolio with lots of natural, relaxed, outdoor shots. To avoid naff shots, stay away from studio shots and anything too posed and formal.

3. Express yourself

The more your photos reflect who you are as a person and the more clues they give about you, the more compelling they will be. Figuring out how to express yourself might feel a bit challenging, but try following these tips:

Plan your outfits

Clothes are the easiest way to showcase your personality. Go through your wardrobe and choose clothes that you love, that you feel confident in and that are totally you, but you on a good day. If you're feeling uninspired, it might be time to treat yourself to something new.

Head somewhere that suits your personality

Make sure the shoot location adds value to your photos by choosing somewhere that feels like you. Do you love going to the park or visiting public gardens, are you more into having a coffee by the canal, do you like the edgier part of town with quirky street art? Think about where will suit you.

Grab something to hold

Having something to hold can help you look more natural in your shots as well as give people more clues about who you are. My favourite props include big headphones, 99 ice-creams, glasses, books, newspapers, colourful clutch bags, takeaway coffee cups etc. What works for you?

"Always dress for your dating photo shoot as though you're going to run into your ex" -

Saskia Nelson

4. Get your hair and make-up done professionally

One of the best things you can do for yourself is get your hair ship-shape prior to the shoot. Hair is the one thing that can go wrong really easily and ruin all the shots. If your roots are showing or the ends are in bad condition, chances are, no matter how good your photographer, how awesome your outfit and no matter how good you're feeling about yourself, you'll still hate your photos. Getting your make-up done professionally, if make-up is important to you, is a great idea as it increases confidence and ensures you're looking great on camera.

5. Be the most important thing in the shot

Lots of dating photos have other people in the shot, messy backgrounds or other things in shot which weakens the impact of the photo. You have a matter of seconds to catch people's eyes and make them click on your profile, so you need to make it easy for them to see you. Make sure you're the most important thing in the shot and that you're in focus, well lit and looking hot.

6. Be cool

The vibe for a dating photo shoot should be 'carefree'. You're aiming to end up with a set of natural, relaxed, happy photos so follow these 3 tips and you can't go wrong.

Avoid unnecessary stress

Choose a day when your diary is fairly clear rather than one where you have to give a presentation to your boss. Prepare in advance what you're going to be wearing and give yourself plenty of time to arrive.

Have a laugh with your photographer

If you choose your photographer well, they will make it easy for you to relax and just have a laugh with them.

Think about something funny, calming or sexy

The best way to show carefree expressions on your face is to think about people, situations or things that make you feel relaxed, carefree, flirty etc. So rather than focusing on the camera in your face, train yourself to think about about things that make you smile.

7. Fake it 'til you make it

Confidence is the single most attractive quality in a dating profile photo. If you can nail this, you'll stand a much better chance of rocking your photo shoot. Put your game-face on and head out to your photo shoot telling yourself you're going to own it. Remind yourself why you're doing it - to find the love of your life. Listen to music that fires you up, think about that one person who inspires you. Think about what they would do and how they would handle it.

8. Choose your photos well

Yes! The hard work is done but make sure that you choose your final selection of photos well. Get a friend to help with this as it can be quite hard to choose your own photos. Get some full on smiling head-shots for your main profile photo but also choose some from those 'in between' moments that look natural and spontaneous. They are just perfect for dating photos. I would recommend using 3 good quality photos and perhaps mixing in one of your holiday snaps or a selfie (if you're a girl). Change up your photos every month to keep your profile looking fresh. Now go rock those dates.

If you want to dig a little deeper, head to my website and sign up for my free eBook, 8 Simple Steps to Transform Your Dating Profile Photos.