Dating Photos Guidelines, for Women

Your dating photos are a critical piece of your profile. I suggest taking the time to take photos specifically for your online dating profile. And it’s fine to also use photos you already have if they are flattering, high-quality photos.

Below is a checklist you can use if you take your own photos or have a professional photographer take them. Your photos don’t have to be perfect; these are just guidelines. Have fun with it!

Getting ready…

Make sure you don’t have roots (if you color your hair)

Consider getting a mani-pedi (neutral color for your manicure)

Consider professional makeup/hair styling (some companies that offer professional styling: GlamSquad, DryBar, department store makeup counters, Mac Store, Sephora, your own hairstylist, etc.)



  •   I suggest a dress or two and some casual outfits as well (jeans are fine)
  •   Don’t wear anything businesslike – think “dating”!
  •   Color, color, color above the waist. No black, gray, beige, brown tops or dresses
  •   Choose feminine clothes that flatter your figure – nothing too loose or blousy
  •   Careful with short sleeves or sleeveless tops and dresses (when in doubt, long / ¾ sleeves)
  •   No high necklines or scarves – the neck dimple must be visible (it’s a body language thing)
  •   No blazers or “man collars” – Better is usually a scoop, square, or a v-neck
  •   No loud busy patterns – solids work best
  •   No masculine shoes. Consider a heel if possible
  •   No big clunky jewelry – keep it simple.
  •   Don’t wear sunglasses, and wear contacts if you can (instead of glasses)
  •   Light natural makeup
  •   Wear your hair down, and style your hair the same way you will wear it on dates. If you wear your hair straight sometimes and curly sometimes, it’s good to show both looks.




Where/when should you take your photos? 

Who/what should be in them? 

Who should take them?


  •   Use 5 – 6 photos on your dating profile
  •   Outdoor photos are ideal. Indoor photos must have excellent lighting.
  •   Cloudy days/shade are ideal. No direct sunlight or harsh shadows on your face.
  •   If you take a selfie, make sure it doesn’t look like a selfie. Your photos can be taken by a friend or a photographer or use a self-timer
  •   Make sure you take full body shots in addition to close-ups (not too close, you can always crop a photo)
  •   The photo quality should be clear and well lit.
  •  Ideally, your photos should be of you alone – without others. If you do include photos with other people in them, do so sparingly. And don’t stand next to your hottest girlfriend or next to your male cousin who men might think is an ex-boyfriend
  •   Don’t use photos where someone is cropped out and you can still see their arm, leg, etc.
  •   Make sure the background is either neutral or it tells a story that represents you
  •   Make sure the background doesn’t steal the show. Is the background distracting? Did anyone photo-bomb you?
  •   Be aware of your background – no bathroom or car selfies, telephone poles, or trees growing out of your head J
  •   Blurring the background can look great. If you have an iPhone, use portrait mode, and adjust the aperture to make the background slightly blurry
  •   Take photos from slightly above (but not too high)
  •   Edit/adjust the brightness if they are too dark
  •   Do not include your cat/cats in your photos (dogs are okay)
  •   Don’t have alcohol in more than one of your photos.
  •   Minimize props (no cell phones or distracting things in your hands)




  •   No crossed arms, legs, or ankles – nothing crosses the center of the body
  •   Neck, chest, stomach, and groin area are visible and unobstructed by objects, arms or legs
  •   Do not grasp your own arm or touch your face or neck
  •   It can be figure-flattering when your body is angled slightly away from the camera (don’t turn sideways – the angle should be slight).
  •   Your face should directly face the camera
  •   Your feet should face the direction of the camera
  •   Have “soft” hands (no severely bent, twisted, or extended fingers), Visible hands (not shoved in pockets. Thumb in pocket OK.
  •   You should look comfortable and relaxed (not twisted or stiff)




  •   You should have a big warm and natural smile, and smile with your eyes, not just your mouth!
  •   Look directly into the camera – really connect!
  •   Your personality should shine through
  •   It should look like you’re having fun in your photos




  •   No muffin tops or belly rolls
  •   No bra straps showing
  •   No panty lines (use Spanx if needed – they are a godsend)
  •   No lipstick/food on teeth
  •   Photos aren’t TOO sexy (too much cleavage, legs exposed, can see up her skirt, etc.)


THANK YOU, Michelle Jacoby, Founder of DC Matchmaking, for these suggestions.






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