Online Photos: Do or Die!

A picture speaks a thousand words. Your online profile photo is your #1 selling point, yet frustratingly many are out of date, poor quality or down right bad. Having good images of yourself online is probably the most important asset you have before people read your awesome profiles. Luckily there are solutions to this....

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And who better than to ask a professional photographer dedicated to exactly that. I met up with Saskia of Saturdaynightsalright, currently the only dating photographer out there.

Saskia, how did you get the idea to start Saturday Night’s Alright?

Hi. Well, when I was setting up in business, I read a lot of books and articles about marketing and learnt two things that lead me to set up the only dating photography business. The first was choose a niche and the second one was don’t copy others but figure out your USP and be authentic to who you are. So in figuring out what made me different and stand out from the crowd (I spent a good 7 years online dating), I was then also able to find my niche. I knew that generally people use any old photos to create their dating profile when in fact photos alone countfor more than 90% when influencing decisions about whether to date someone or not.

Can't people just take their own photos?
Well, they can and they do…. but if they want to stand out from the sea of profiles on any dating website, then coming to a professional dating photographer will significantly up their success rates of attracting potential dates. Dating sites are awash with poorly taken photos. They are very uninspiring and a little depressing.

What makes a great profile picture?

A few things. From the technical side, it needs to have the face in focus and be light and bright. Ideally the person needs to be relaxed and look happy in the photo (especially if it’s the main profile photo). The icing on the cake is if they can include some clues in the photo as to their personality. This could be via the clothes they are wearing, props they are holding or something they are doing.

Should you have just one photo or should you have more?
Ahh three is the magic number when it comes to dating photos. The ideal is to have one smiling main picture and a couple of supporting shots. I usually recommend that if someone is still dating 6 – 8 weeks later it can be a good idea to mix up your photos and swap in some new ones to keep your profile looking fresh.

Why are they important?
An online dating site did some research recently which concluded that the text, or what you write, represents less that 10% of what people think of you. What this actually means is that your dating photos count for more than 90% of what people think of you. It’s much like face to face interaction, body language counts for a lot more than what is actually being said.

Isn't it shallow that people need to get great photos? Surely it's about what's 'inside'?
Yes of course it is quite shallow - judging a book by its cover. We live in a very visual world relying on strong images to market and sell everything and this is definitely true for online dating. In addition to this, people will always maintain that looks are a big part of sexual attraction so things are unlikely to change on this score. In marketing terms, it's the strongest way to get 'a foot in the door', ultimately relationships are more than skin deep, but visuals is your starting point.

If anyone wants to use you, what would they need to do and what can they expect?
If anyone wanted to book a shoot, they could just head to my website and check out the work in our portfolio and our upcoming dates and locations for shoots. I’ll get in touch and get the ball rolling helping them to prepare for the shoot when they drop me a line.

I am used to working with people who claim to be unphotogenic or unconfident in front of the camera so they can expect to be handheld through the experience and enjoy themselves despite any initial misgivings. I offer a range of different locations around London. Streets, parks, canals, alleyways and river become the backdrop for their set of dating photos. My aim is for my clients to feel relaxed and happy, and also it’s something which is ultimately helping them find love.

Thank you Saskia for your time.

Thank you.

Saskia, is a wonderful bubbly person. I had a great chat with her and feel inspired.

In conclusion, make sure you take a critical look at your online photos, keep them updated, try and stand out from other profile photos by personalising them and make sure you have at least one smiley photo of yourself that is in focus. Good luck!

Have a great Saturday night - it's alright!!

Madeleine Mason Roantree

Dating Psychologist, The Vida Consultancy Ltd

Dating and relationship expert, with an MSc and BSc in psychology, pending counselling psychology doctorate, Cert. in Applied Positive Psychology, plus cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), person-centred and psychodynamic training. Madeleine offers personal coaching and counselling sessions as well as seminars and workshops. Having experience in marriage, divorce, dating and relationships, Madeleine is passionate about helping people to understand their own needs and getting successful results in their personal relationships. She was shortlisted for Dating Expert of the Year 2014 and 2015 at the UK Dating Awards, plus nominated best dating expert in the world at the 2016 iDate awards. She has worked with various publications such as TimeOut, Daily Telegraph, The Independent and continues to blog at LifeLabs. In 2016 she founded the UK Dating Fair, an annual event for singles to get dating advice and meet the best dating experts in the UK, she is open to collaboration and idea exchanges within the helping profession.