Thursday, December 31, 2009

How To : Taking the Perfect Online Dating Profile Pic

We all acknowledge the famous saying that "A picture is worth a thousand words", and nowhere is that more relevant than on your online dating profile.

Last week I examined how to write the perfect online dating profile, but what I neglected to mention was your primary photo, or selection of photos you are deciding to include. This article not only looks at what photos to include on your dating profile, but the simplest ways to take these photos.

It cannot be stressed enough that the primary photograph should be of you. Not of you and your friends, you and your dog, you and your car or you and the exboyfriend or girlfriend that you have scribbled out with Photoshop or Paint. Trust me, I've seen a lot of these and they are hilarious! Your primary photograph should only be a picture of you! It's fine to include a photo later on of you with your friends, but unless you are smack-dab in the middle of the photo, tell me which one you are!

There is enough technology in the world these days, that not having access to a camera is a valid excuse. Ideally, this main profile pcture will be a close up of your face. A clear photo of your face, in which your eyes and mouth and personality can shine through. Preferably smiling!
After that, feel free to take photos of you in action doing the things you love to do. Keep YOU as the main subject of the photo though and only select photos that are clear, rotated and resized properly, and have you looking your best. This does not mean naked or in partial stage of undress; this goes for men or women.

If you are unable to take this photo yourself, there is always someone who can. Don't be afraid to ask for help! If you really want to take your photo yourself however, here are a few tips and tricks that will help!

1. Use natural lighting
Try taking a photo outside in the natural light. Try to do this before the sun is at its peak and will cast unflattering dark shadows on your face. On a sunny day, take your photo before noon or after 3 pm or wait for an overcast day.

2. Use a tripod (tripod/timer combination)
Using a tripod that is adjusted to eyelevel will keep both your head in the frame and the camera steady so that your picture comes out as clear as possible. This goes for any camera! If you do not have a tripod, nor a camera with a timer, try and brace the camera against something sturdy (a wall, a railing etc) to take that terrific picture!

3. Wear a complimentary outfit or colour
Odds are, someone at some point will have said, "Wow, I really like that shirt or colour on you!" Take this advice to heart and try taking a photo wearing this outfit or this colour. Dress up for your photo, but still remain true to yourself. Don't dress up more than you would normally, but do make an attempt to look your best. Take off that ballcap, fix your hair, shave your face, brush your teeth and apply makeup if you are a woman. You'd be surprised at how much younger and fresher you look with a little bit of blush.

4. Avoid anything too revealing
For women, try to stay away from cleavage revealing sweaters or miniskirts. Save those for a few dates in with that special someone. Don't advertise ALL your assets upfront. For men, try and keep your shirt on in your profile pictures. Although you are proud of those 6 pack abs you've worked so hard for, putting a shirt over them leaves a little mystery for the woman lucky enough to see them in person. Be a little mysterious and leave something to the imagination.

5. Ask a friend to take the photo
Don't be nervous about asking a friend or coworker to take the photo for you. Try to take more than one photo so you can be selective about what images you like best. Ask someone who makes you feel relaxed and at ease so that your natural attitude comes through in the photos.

6. Don't forget to smile!
Perhaps the most important part of your online dating profile picture is! Be genuine, happy and approachable. Moody photos are fine if your profile reflects that you are serious. But, if you have touted yourself in your profile as fun and energetic, show it!

Good luck and happy dating!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

How To: The Online Dating Profile

Because this blog's title is: Feminine Wiles & Urban Survival 101, I feel that maybe I should include some dating how to's here. (God knows I've had my fair share of bad dates!)

I must admit I have online dated for a while...and although I no longer want to meet men online(I'm going to attempt to meet more offline!) I can definitely offer up some advice for profile writing!

1. Stay positive and upbeat!
You would be shocked at the number of dating profiles I have seen that have either outright slated women or questioned whether there are 'decent' women out there. The same goes for women..don't diss men as a group! Your dating profile should be about how wonderful you are, not about how horrible your dating history has been, save it for your girlfriends (or your blog. ;) )

2. Use proper English and good grammar.
Even if your English leaves a lot to be desired, you know that 'UR' is simply text-speak for You Are. Stay away from short forms and text-speak, even moreso if you are dealing with women/men over the age of 25. Have your online profile proofread. You wouldn't send out your resume without making sure everything was as it should be, same goes for your online dating profile.

3. Stay away from generic likes/dislikes.
Sure you like long walks on the beach, holding hands and comedy flicks. But really, who doesn't? Try and be very specific in your likes and dislikes!
If you've seen every Hitchcock film or think Canadian films rock...say so. If thrash metal is your thing and you once sprained your neck in a particularly awesome moshpit, I wanna know and odds are... someone else will really like the same thing!

4. Be honest.
Don't say you are of 'average' weight when you know you are thinner or heavier, don't say you have brown hair when you are bald. Don't say you are 6'2" when you are 5'9". Same goes for your profile picture, try to keep it fairly recent (ideally within the last 6 months) and update it frequently.
Being successful in online dating means meeting people...offline. So don't look like a stranger to the person you are meeting.

5. Know what you want: Be specific.
Have a pretty good idea of what you want. If you are not interested in dating a drug user, someone who is divorced or someone who has children, know it and don't be afraid to say so. It will help weed out the people who contact you and you'll avoid getting into any situations down the line that you don't want to be in. Don't be afraid to say what you are looking for either!
You want a man who can recite the alphabet backwards, flip pancakes and has one green eye and one blue....bring it up! You never know who is out there perusing your ad.

6. Go after what you want.
Don't be afraid to start your own communications with people! Send that first email. Be brief, be polite and definitely mention something about their profile that you found interesting and why you chose to write...oh, and don't forget to introduce yourself with your first name!

7. Go offline.....
Try not to make too much of your dating life 'online'. Get out there and actually meet the person at the other end of the computer within a short amount of time. Don't chat for hours online or on the phone without arranging to get together. If you talk for weeks on end, but never actually make plans to meet, something about that person does not ring true...listen to that inner voice in your head.

So there you are! 7 tips for your online dating profile. Not bad huh? Maybe I should give it another go.

What are your tips for writing an online dating ad?