Photos that Fail

Your main photo on a dating app is so critical to get matches, but some many people seem to kill their chances by putting something on there that will just either scare people off or just get ignored. Your image is going to be looked at for just a second, so you need to make it count. Here are some of the typical mistake I’ve seen when picking my way though Tinder, POF and other sites. As I’m a male looking for women, it’s very much geared towards women’s pictures, but many of the mistakes would apply to men’s pictures too.

Distant Shot

dating5_1OK, you may be stood in the most picturesque setting in the world, but I’m not here to look at the scenery. I’m trying to see you on a 13 cm phone display, so a 1 cm tall version of you isn’t going to show me much. I can probably just about make out you’re a human, but not much more.

Bad crop

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Do you have a mouth and nose? You do? So why not show them? Some crops are arty, some are just crap photography. Either way, it would be good to see your whole face. I’ve also noticed a tight face crop is popular with the larger lady, to try and hide as much as possible. This is a shame, as there’s plenty of men who love women on the cuddly side, so don’t be shy to show that.

Body only shot

dating5_3 OK, you’ve got the Mitchell brothers tucked into your skimpy top and a tummy flatter than Holland, but why the decapitation?

Crowd of people

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So which one are you? Do I need to look at your other photos to work out which one you are? Or do I take the gamble you really are the hot one in the photo and not the one that gives me nightmares?

With another man

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So who is this man you’re with? You husband, boyfriend or ex? Even it’s just a friend or brother (which in some parts of the world doesn’t stop them being the boyfriend too), I want to meet someone where I’m the main man in your life.

With your child

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I’m a parent, and don’t mind dating women who are parents too. But if I want to think of romance and sexy things, children are a serious turn-off. Is our first date going to be in an indoor soft-play area?

Not even you

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You might love horse riding or have a few cute dog, but I’d actually rather know what you look like. Unless you really do look like that, then I suggest a more specialist website. Even worse is a photo of some location you’ve been to, or some stupid ‘inspirational’ quote.

Back turned

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I do admire a shapely derrière, but I would like to see some face to go with the bass.

Mobile phone obstruction

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I know taking selfies can be tricky, but try and keep the thing away from your face if using a mirror. You can still make it worse by having the flash go off too, so end up resembling the nativity star.

Shades

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OK, I know we tend to take more photos while on holiday and on sunny days, so you’ll have your sunglasses on. But they hide half your face and the eyes are the most important part of it. Maybe hiding a slightly alternative fact when it comes to your age maybe?

Not enough pixels

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Cameras on phones these days have plenty of megapixels, and we’re not needing to compress our JPGs down to 1k any more. So how did you photo appear like it’s been taken by a 1950s early NASA mission? Or is it just a cut-out of some photo of someone else you found online?

Duckface

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This is trend that’s been going for a year or two now. Is it a Kardashian thing (whatever they are)? Anyway, it makes you look stupid, not sexy. I like ducks, particularly with hoisin sauce.

Crown of flowers

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Another trend, which I suspect is from Snapchat (not a user myself), where a GCI crown of flowers is plonked on your head. Not only that, the ‘enhancement’ tool also does something weird to your eyes, so you resemble the lovechild of a zombie and Pokemon.

 

 

 

 

 

I’m sure there’s plenty of other types of bad photos out there, but these are the ones that I’ve seen repeatedly over the past few weeks. I don’t think anyone expects professional studio quality photos, just one which shows your whole face without any distractions, adornments or modifications. A full body shot is fine too, as long as it’s close enough up and of a good enough quality to show your face clearly too.

As for facial expressions, I personally find a smile most appealing, but don’t mind other expressions as long as it’s natural and you don’t look angry or upset. If you’re made out of Lego, then the choice of expression can be rather limited.

It’ll be interesting to hear of any other types of typical photo failures out there. Do men have different bad habits when it comes to their pictures?

Women are Like Buses

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No, women aren’t big and red, emit noxious fumes and get ridden a lot. What I actually mean is that, like buses, you wait ages for one to turn up, and when it happens two appear. Yes, I’ve finally had some sort of success on the online dating game, and found some women who seem to take some interest in me. I’ve had a few matches, but most of those didn’t really progress past the first exchange of messages, but two did actually progress into meaningful conversations. Not only did they progress to online conversations, but into real life meetings!

Before I go onto more gory details about these two, I’ll rewind a bit and describe how the searching and matching has been going.

Which site provided the most success?

So, I’ve been registered with POF, Tinder and happn; all for pretty much the same period. All three allow a certain amount of regionality to your search, so I picked similar sized areas for each. While each site lets you know about matches (i.e. you’ve ticked someone who’s also ticked you), POF also lets you know who is interested in you (whereas happn and Tinder keep in you in the dark unless you also like them). So this is quite a useful feature with POF, as it at least gives you an idea to how many women like you and what type of women you attract. On Tinder and happn you haven’t a clue, so I may have hundreds of women liking me, but they are also ones I don’t like.

So far, after about 6 weeks of activity I’ve had this number of matches:

  • POF: 3 mutual matches and 55 ‘they said yes’ (i.e. they like me, but I haven’t ‘liked’ them).
  • Tinder: 5 matches.
  • happn: nothing, zilch, nada, not a sausage (not that I’m looking for sausages!).

With the matches, I’ve started a conversation on all of them, and 2 of the POF ones matured into someone more, whereas only on the Tinder one has really got into any sort of meaningful conversation.

So I would say POF has been the most fruitful in terms of finding women I like, who also may also like me. Very disappointed with happn though; I would have hoped for maybe one match on that.

Getting to know my matches

So two of the POF matches actually started to have a conversation with me. They both started at a pretty similar time (within a couple of days of each other), and both were easy to talk to online, with some shared interests and nice conversation. With both, they soon moved to communication via Whatsapp, so moving outside of the dating site, which made things easier and also I felt some progress was being made. At this early stage I was still expecting to get blown out at some point, so didn’t want to pick one over the other. Both women had similarities and differences, but I couldn’t pick on over the other without having met them. After all, I’d read about so-called catfish, and wanted to make sure they were really who they were in the pictures. Also, as so many first dates become the last dates, I didn’t want to turn one down only to find the other one isn’t interested too.

Being a single parent that works full time means finding time for a date is pretty difficult. The two women also worked full time, so this didn’t help (however, at least I knew I was dealing with reasonably self-sufficient women, which is a plus). However, after a while I managed to fix up first dates with both, within a couple of days of each other.

The first dates

I don’t really want to go into two much detail here, as there’s also the chance the women concerned might come across this blog and realise I’m talking about them! I met up with the first woman, and she seemed to match the woman in her picture (to be honest, her photo wasn’t a very good one, so it was pretty difficult to tell!), and seemed attractive to me. It was a good date, we chatted freely, had a laugh, and it all seemed to go well. After the date, she contacted me to let her know she got home OK, and to check on me which was nice. So there was a good feeling about this one; although the pessimist in me knew not count on it being a done deal quite yet.

The date with the second woman was a couple of days later, and I was a little more nervous about this one. Her photos in her profile were pretty stunning, so I was very wary I was being duped. How can anyone that attractive show an interest in me? Well, as it turned out, she turned up to the date on time and really was the woman in the photos. Not only that, she looked even better in the flesh (I say flesh – she was fully dressed, but my imagination was ignited!)! At this stage I was expecting her to take one look at me and do a runner, but no, she was down-to-earth, chatty and soon made me feel more relaxed (I really had butterflies, it was like being 17 again). Just like the first woman, the date turned out well and she contacted me afterwards which was a good sign.

The dilemma

So I’ve now had first dates with two women, and against all odds, they both take an interest in me. Both have carried on talking to me since the first dates, and I’ve even had second dates with both. I’m now in a tricky situation:

  • Do I now choose one over the other?
  • Are they both convinced about me yet?
  • How many dates do I have before I know I’m in a relationship with one?
  • Are they having dates with other men? Both were very coy about this, and I can’t believe the second woman hasn’t got a hoard of suitors after her.
  • Do I focus on one, and keep the other on the back-burner?

I can’t even pick a favourite between the two at this stage, so I pretty torn. But I suppose it’s better to have to have the choice of two than none at all. I’m still expecting to get blown out by both of them at some stage, so maybe I may never need to make the decision.

Apps & Sites

On-line dating isn’t new to me, I’ve done it before with varying amounts of success (largely failure, but it’s had its moments); but a few things have changed since I last took it on. As smartphones are now ubiquitous, apps seem to be dominating over conventional websites; though many of the websites do have apps of their own. The big daddy of the apps is of course Tinder – the favourite of the media, where everyone is swiping right to jump directly in to bed with a new hottie every night. Of course, the truth is rather more staid with most people just wanting to meet someone who they might bond with for some sort of meaningful relationship. Tinder’s appeal is its ease-of-use and that it’s effectively free. Yes, you can pay for extras, but there’s enough there to contact someone for nothing. For those who having been living on the moon for the last couple of years, Tinder feeds you a series of mugshots you swipe right (hmm, she’s nice) or left (is it even human?) on. If someone else swipes right on you, and there’s a mutual match, you’ll be informed and you can contact them.
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There are other well established sites and apps out there. Plenty of Fish (POF for short) is a relatively conventional dating website, with the added bonus that it is mostly free. Everyone writes a profile with some pictures, and you can search through the various attributes you desire (age, body type, race, kids, etc.). Like Tinder it also allows you to contact people you like without payment. There’s a few extras you can pay for, but they aren’t essential. POF has Tinderised (my new word for the day!) somewhat with its ‘Meet Me’ section which provide a yes-maybe-no series of mugshots which can be quite fun to rifle through. Like Tinder, if you get a mutual match on this, it lets you know, so you stand some chance of starting a conversation without being ignored. POF also has an app, so you can carry on your hunting while on the move. So when you’re on a crowded train your fellow passengers can look over your shoulder at your selections.

Another app that’s recently come across my attention is happn (yes, it hasn’t got a capital letter), which is sort of Tinder-like in that it show’s you whose around your area. However, the location aspect is far more revealing than Tinder, in that it tells you where and when the person shown was last near you. So it almost seems like a stalkers paradise. I’ve had it on my phone for a couple of weeks now and there’s a couple of single women who seem to live only a couple of streets away. Sadly they’re not my type, so I won’t be stalking … I mean contacting … them. If I go for a day out in London, the app fills up with lots of new women, often around the route I travelled in and out of the city. I can see its appeal, but it seems like it hasn’t quite yet got the user base to give a enough diversity of potential singles for my liking.

Match.com and OKCupid are a couple of other big hitters, both of which require quite detailed profiles, and as far as I know need payment if you ever want to contact anyone you like of there. I’ve never really bothered with these as I’m vary wary of paying a subscription for something like this only to find it’s impossible to cancel and you end up with a debt that would make Robert Maxwell blush. Plus, I’m don’t like paying for things when there’s no guarantee of success, and the world of on-line dating is a series of constant failures with the occasional success when the planets all align.

So I’ve decided to try both Tinder and POF, with a odd sprinkling of happn, as they are all effectively free and seem to have plenty of people on them. Let’s get swiping!