Terrible Profile Photos and The Women Who Post Them

By eHarmony Staff

When a match opens your photo for the first time, they are drawing some important conclusions about whether you’re right for them. It’s your only chance to make a first impression. Some women, it turns out, aren’t great at understanding the types of photos that hurt their chances of meeting their match. So as a public service, we’ve collected a range of photos to help women understand what NOT to post on their profiles.

No Glamour Shots

Come on. Do you really think we're going to fall for that one? We've all seen too many makeover shows to believe that you look anything like this styled, photoshopped person before us. Please remember, we want to see what you're going to look like on our first date. In fact, you can even wear the same clothes, "Hi, here's my first date attire." Men like to move forward with solid information. Anything less feels disingenuous.

No Long Distance Photos

The landscape background for a photo can be very interesting. It can be fun to see that you went to see Stonehenge, or The Parthenon, or the Eiffel tower. But at the end of the day, the reason that we communicate with you is because your photo and your profile came together to pique our interest in you. That's it. If you are a tiny ant-like figure in the distance, you've given away your ability to make a visual first impression.

No Crowds

If this is the only picture posted on this woman's profile, her match is out of luck. Rather than rifle through your old class reunion photos, treat your online dating experience as a new and special adventure. Buy something nice to wear, if you need to. Take some new photos that are clear, brightly lit by natural light, and show you smiling. The more people in your profile photos, the more confusing it can be for your match.

No Sunglasses

Most people wouldn't wear a mask in a profile photo. (Although, it has happened.) So, why wear sunglasses that cover half your face? Men want to see your eyes. We want to gaze at your photo and feel attracted to you. Don't make it so hard on us.

No Costumes

We see this a lot and it is always confusing. Are you showing us that you're full of imagination? That you like to have fun? Halloween costumes generally come in 3 varieties -- ugly, scary and sexy. You've got a 2 out of 3 chance of failure. Exercise extreme caution.

No Frowns

Most human beings look more attractive when they smile. They also look happy, like they are having a great life, which makes them more attractive. Models and movie stars may be able to look attractive while pouting, but most of us need a big smile to look our best.

No Bathroom Mirrors

Here's what we learn from this photo: You don't have a single friend who could take you outside into the sunshine and take a flattering snapshot. Perhaps you're ashamed to be meeting people online. It also says, "I don't really care to look my best." Not traits that are promising when considering a new romantic interest.

No Bridesmaid Photos

Please consider the No Glamour Shots caption. It's the same logic here. When you go and get your hair done for 40 minutes, and have a professional do your make-up, and wear a formal dress, the chances are good that you will look completely different than when we meet at Starbucks on a Tuesday after work. Please, have mercy on us. We just want to know what you usually look like.

No Weenies

Maybe this isn't your old boyfriend. Maybe it's just a friend you went dancing with, but when we see a picture of you with a weenie, we wonder about your taste in men. The question at issue is whether it is a good idea to put this photo on your dating profile page. We're not asking you to destroy the photo, just don't use it to try and present your most attractive side to potential suitors.

No Bling

Can you count the expensive designer stuff in these photos? Gucci, Burberry, Chanel, Louboutin shoes, etc. I'm sure many women will argue, "Who cares?" But men are looking for signs as to the kind of person you are in your photos. If you put on a beautiful designer dress and stand on a grassy knoll, we just notice how beautiful you are. If you drape yourself in thousands of dollars in designer clothing and accessories, we start to wonder about your lifestyle and your expectations. Maybe you're one of those women that's only happy in the most expensive restaurant. Maybe you're one of those women that wants the best of everything -- all the time. Don't misunderstand. We're not suggesting you wear a burlap sack, but rather present yourself in a more modest way.

No Party Face

There's certainly nothing wrong with gathering your girlfriends and hitting the town. There's nothing wrong with getting a little crazy and asking the waiter to snap a photo. But that photo of you mid party-face squeal has no place on your profile page. The best assumption you can make when posting a photo is that your matches want to see you looking happy and attractive. Not tipsy. Not squealing. As a bonus tip, the less people in your photos the better.

No Extreme Close-Ups

We all know that the main purpose of the profile photo is to get a good look at your face and body. So, what are we to make of this photo? When a woman uses an extreme close-up the natural conclusion is, "She's probably hiding something." Also, this isn't a time for the big floppy hat and huge sunglasses. It doesn't make any sense to post a picture of your face that doesn't show your face.

No Old Photos!

No OLD PHOTOS! At the risk of repeating ourselves -- we need to know what you look like now! When you post a photo with a hairstyle from 1989, you're insulting our intelligence. You must think that we're not smart enough to know that no one looks like this anymore. Wrong. Also, we don't need to see photos of you as a child. You were cute and all, but we need current information to gauge our level of attraction.

No Forced Sexuality

Trying too hard. It's one of the most unflattering things a person can do. Some women make the mistake of thinking that profile photos are good places to be sexy, but it's dangerous territory. A smile can be sexy. A nice dress out in the sunshine can be sexy. Wearing too little and rolling around on the floor usually won't come off as sexy. It will come off as desperate.

No Cats

Have you ever heard the term "Cat Lady?" Maybe not. Well, it's a negative term men use to describe women that build a wall of cats around them. Women who often seem to love cats more than men. Whether that's fair or not is a good discussion to have, but the fact remains that putting your cat(s) into your profile photo indicates a certain amount of cat obsession. Many men will ask, "If she loves cats enough to put one in her profile photo, how many are waiting at home?"

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