The Odd Effect Selfies Have On Your Chances Of Finding Love (And How To Take Better Profile Pics)

Photo: Getty
Woman taking selfie for dating profile pictures

Before you post another selfie, say, looking like an adorably freckled dog, on your OkCupid profile or upload it to one of your favorite dating apps — be it Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, or so on — the folks at Plenty of Fish gathered some interesting data about how different types of selfies affect the way people see you, and, as they say, "how a self-portrait can make or break your dating game."

Believe it or not, they found some fascinating information about how selfies affect your online dating experience.

First, of course, you must relax. Yes, there are ways selfies can negatively impact the effectiveness of your dating profile, but there is also a wealth of different ways selfies actually enhance your online dating experience if you know how to take a good one.

How Selfies Help You Find Love

  • 91% of singles have a selfie on their dating profile.
  • 86% of singles are more likely to message someone who has a selfie on their dating app profile.
  • 73% of singles believe selfies can be great conversation starters.
  • 60% of singles believe a selfie on someone's dating profile shows they're confident!
  • 51% of singles do not use filters, believing their own face is strong enough on its own!
  • 53% of singles take anywhere from 2-5 shots to get the perfect selfie, so (somewhere around) the third time's the charm.

I don't know about you, but these findings made me feel better about the wealth of selfies I have taken in the span of my relatively short life.

Show me someone who doesn't have a veritable graveyard of selfie outtakes on their phone, and I will show you a liar. Or, at the very least, I'll show you someone who is awesome at remembering to delete their pics and empty their trash folder.

If you feel guilty about using a selfie as your profile pic, these findings should be super-reassuring, since it turns out that most people do the same.

When you think about it, this information does make a lot of sense. After all, it's not exactly the easiest or most comfortable thing in the world to ask a friend to take a photograph of you that you can use in order to find the man or woman of your dreams.

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In addition to uncovering all of these things that make selfies perfect to use in dating profiles, there are definitely some selfie sins people commit that could risk banishing you into the category of "totally undate-able," and at least one of them should not surprise you in the least.

How Selfies Decrease Your Chances of Finding Love

  • 67 percent of singles have taken a bathroom selfie.
  • The biggest selfie pet peeve (at 26 percent) is duck lips, followed by low image quality and a messy room in the background.

Guys, there's just no reason to do it. Most smartphones these days can be set up in such a way — via timers, mounts, selfie sticks, and the like — that you should be perfectly capable of taking the perfect shot without giving us any of that "I needed the mirror" nonsense.

Plus, if you're looking for privacy, there are roughly one million other locations where you can take a photograph that won't make potential partners feel a sudden need to go wash their hands.

I have to admit that I personally might actually believe that posing with a duck-lipped pout is a more unforgivable self-portrait crime than taking a bathroom selfie. We now live in an age when everyone knows what duck lips are, so there's literally no excuse to think you can get away with those sort of silly, and frankly, unflattering shenanigans.

To sum it all up, you won't find me or anyone else in the online dating sphere complaining about how so many people post selfies. In fact, it looks more suspect if you don't have one anywhere on your dating profile!

RELATED: A 4-Step Guide To Creating The Perfect Dating Profile (Says Study)

How to Take Good Dating Profile Pictures

1. Smile genuinely.

Photo: HTeam / Shutterstock

Aside from making yourself appear like a happy, well-rounded individual, many studies have found that smiling in your dating profile picture makes you more approachable. But when you use photos of you smiling, be sure they are genuine smiles — perhaps from a candid photo taken by a friend.

There are also certain ways to smile that make you more or less attractive. For example, a study by Coffee Meets Bagel found that women with their head tilted while smiling were 71% more likable, whereas only 5% of men found a woman smirking in her profile picture to be likable.

2. Show off your creative side.

Potential matches aren't interested in someone who doesn't have hobbies or creative outlets. Mixed in with your other profile pictures, it's essential to include photos of you expressing yourself, whether it's through painting, drawing, writing, or other artistic outlets.

One study determined that, for men, photos that showed creative self-expression — painting, poetry, and photography — were associated with the number of sexual partners attained. In a separate study, the activities deemed to be most creative and attractive included photography of artsy photos, recording music, and playing in a band.

3. Pay attention to lighting and angles.

When deciding which photos to use of yourself for your dating profile pics, pay close attention to the lighting in the photo, as well as the angle from which your photo is taken.

Lighting: Rather than using flash in your photos, opt instead for softer light, as this will hide blemishes and make you appear naturally attractive. For instance, take photos outside instead of in a dimly lit location.

In a survey from OkCupid, it turns out that the best time to take a photo outdoors is during the Golden Hour: right before the sun sets, or just after sunrise.

Angles: Believe it or not, we all have a good side. But for dating profile pics, your left side might just be the perfect angle for you. Studies have even determined that there is a stronger preference for photos showing the left side of your face, not the right side.

4. Steer clear of sunglasses.

Want to post a nice photo of you from the beach, or cruising along in your car on a nice day? Be sure you aren't wearing sunglasses in your photos!

It turns out that photos that hide your eyes make you appear untrustworthy and much less likable, which can significantly decrease your chances of a match. Be sure that all your dating profile pics include your eyes, unobstructed by sunglasses.

Photo: Look Studio / Shutterstock

5. Don't use photos with alcohol present.

While it may seem like you're letting potential dates know that you have a fun side, posting photos on your dating profile with alcohol beverages in the frame might actually hurt your chances of a match. Why? Because it makes you seem less intelligent.

Known as the "imbibing idiot effect," it seems that because alcohol causes impairment, both mentally and physically, daters are more likely to perceive you as less smart. So, perhaps just skip the photo of you sipping your Long Island iced tea.

6. Include a photo of you wearing red.

No one can deny that a little black dress or fashionable outfit will catch a match's attention, but science is here to tell you the most important color to add to your dating profile pictures: red. Whether you're a man or a woman, wearing red makes you appear more attractive!

Because the color of our blood is red, science says attraction is based on this, as it is related to fertility. So bust out your favorite red shirt or red lipstick, and wait for those matches to come pouring in.

7. Add a full-body photo.

To complement your other pictures on your profile, consider adding a photo of you that includes your entire body. Not only can you show off your proportions, but if you get the perfect angle and lighting, you'll appear even more attractive.

Remember to be confident in this photo. Perhaps it's a picture from a friend's wedding, or maybe it's a shot where you're truly feeling yourself. No matter the reason, just be sure you don't have anything in the background of the photo to act as a distraction.

Photo: KK_face / Shutterstock

8. Add some variety.

Rather than including five of the same type of photo — whether it's a shot of you in the mirror, using the same pose, or a photo with a pet — variety is the spice of life! And it will let potential matches see how versatile you are.

Include a photo of your face, of course, but consider also including pictures with your friends, doing some kind of adventurous activity, or even a professional headshot. The point is to show other daters that you don't just have one good pose.

9. Leave potential dates wondering.

Just like you don't openly share everything about yourself on a first date, the same goes for your dating profile pictures. It's essential to create some mystery about who you are and your interests. Doing this will make you seem more intriguing, and have potential matches wondering more about you.

One study found that creating mystery in this sense is because we are attracted to non-conventional interests, and are determined to learn more about this particular person. A great example might be to share a photo of you performing an odd task, like juggling, or in an environment that's not so common, like Stonehenge.

10. Ditch the filters.

The most important part of dating and adding picture to your profile is to always be yourself. Forget adding filters that make your eyes bigger, your skin blemish-free, or adding the presence of dog ears.

Not only are filters annoying, but they're easily detectable, and will only make potential daters believe that you're lying about who you truly are.

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Rebecca Jane Stokes is a freelance writer and the former Senior Editor of Pop Culture at Newsweek with a passion for lifestyle, geek news, and true crime.