Figuring out how to choose the best pictures for your dating profile is easier said than done. Whether you're selfie-obsessed and simply have too many to choose from, or you're camera shy and seriously dreading taking some dating profile-friendly photos — it can be quite the process if you're serious about putting your best face forward online. (Which, btw, you should be: it's not a secret that, when it comes to dating apps, people tend to swipe first and ask questions later.)
But like any true Millennial knows, all problems are Google-able, and this time it's relationship-focused dating app Hinge coming to the rescue. Hinge released a Profile Picture Report that reveals exactly which kinds of pictures will be a guaranteed hit (or miss) on dating profiles. Hinge data scientists assigned 35 unique photo tags (like: hair up versus hair down) to a random sampling of a thousand photos, then they analyzed how often the photos were liked by other users.
“Since Hinge profiles are designed to show off our Members’ personalities, we want to help them put their best foot forward with their photos,” Hinge spokesperson Jean-Marie McGrath tells Bustle. “Now we can tell them which photos they should share and which they should probably keep to themselves.”
So if you're unsure whether certain pictures will help (or hinder) your online dating game and need a little push in the right direction, look no further. Here's how to pick the best photos for your dating profile — because first impressions do matter.
If you're normally not the sporty type, no need to fake it but, according to the Hinge data, photos of people participating in sports performed 75 percent better than the average photo.
Enjoy A Night Out
Photos of people having fun on a night out with friends got 74 percent more likes than the average picture, Hinge found. Bonus: now you and your friends have an even better excuse to snap a million hot Instas when you go out together.
Show Your Smile
Hinge found that showing your smile in photos makes them 23 percent more likely to be liked, so stop hiding your pearly whites (especially if your parents shelled out tons of cash for orthodontia).
Try A Black & White Filter
Even though Hinge found that only three percent of users' photos were black and white, those that were were 106 times more likely to receive a like than photos in color. Maybe it's time to get old-fashioned with our dating profiles?
Although 80 percent of Hinge users' shots were posed, the data reveals that candid photos are 15 percent more likely to receive a like. Either way, it can't hurt to throw in a cute candid among the posed photos and see if it improves your dating life.
But Do Not...
On the flip side, the absolute no-no's of dating profile pictures were: wearing sunglasses, using Snapchat filters (you're not a dog, sorry), posing with a possible S.O., beach photos, and selfies — particularly bathroom selfies... seriously guys?
Wear Your Hair Up
If you love ponytails or top knots, you're in luck: photos of women with their hair up were 27 percent more likely to get a like than their hair-down counterparts.
Smile With Teeth
No need to be afraid of cheesin' — pictures of women smiling with their teeth on full display were 76 percent more likely to get liked by other users.
Look Away From The Camera
I guess not everyone is into the direct eye contact thing, because photos where women were looking away from the camera were 74 percent more likely to receive a like. Hey, whatever works, right?
Let's be honest: there's nothing more annoying than trying to pick someone out of a group photo on a dating app profile. Apparently Hinge users agree, because photos where women were standing along were 69 percent more likely to receive a like.
Smile Without Teeth
Even though photos of ladies baring their chompers do better on Hinge, for men, the opposite is true. Soft smiles must be officially "in," because photos of guys smiling with their teeth out of sight were 43 percent more likely to get liked.
Making eye contact with the camera lens is the best move for guys: photos of men looking ahead were 102 percent more likely to get a like.
At last, something we can all agree on: being alone in your main profile photo is the way to go. Men were 11 percent more likely to receive a like if they were standing on their own in their photo.
Whether you're taking a break from your dating apps for Bustle's App-less April or going full steam ahead with your online dating, it's always helpful to have a guide on what pictures are most effective. It never hurts to get out of your comfort zone, change things up, and await the results.