You know your photo matters more than it should.

Even on online dating platforms like eHarmony, which prioritize compatibility over looks, men spend more time looking at photos than they do reading your profile.

OkCupid found that text contributes to less than 10% of a potential mate’s impression of you.

Not only are men skimming over what you’ve written, but the average man spends just 58 seconds perusing each profile.[1]

So you’ve got just under a minute to give him a reason to look deeper.

What can you do make sure he likes what he sees?

Well… here are 3 lesser-known profile picture tips backed by science.

Profile Pic Tip #1.
Use the Rule of Thirds

Many people make the mistake of centering their face in the middle of a shot. Symmetrical images are forgettable, while asymmetrical images are eye-catching.

You can make sure your profile picture stands out from the crowd by cropping it according to the Rule of Thirds.

The Rule of Thirds is a principle that photographers use to compose a shot. It involves dividing an image into thirds, both horizontally and vertically. Photographers align their subject based on that grid.

You don’t have to get that precise. Simply envision imaginary lines dividing the image into thirds. Crop your picture so that your face is positioned along one of those lines. You’ll immediately notice the difference!

Profile Pic Tip #2.
Show Your Hands

You already know you should face the camera, take off your sunglasses and hat, and show your teeth when you smile. (A closed mouth smile performed worse than a neutral face in an experiment done by behavioral investigator Vanessa van Edwards. [2])

But did you know that showing your hands could make you appear more trustworthy?

It turns out there’s good science behind the classic photographer’s pose of placing your hand under your chin.

Keeping your hands visible makes a man feel as if he can trust you, and trustworthiness is a factor in his decision whether or not to contact you.

Profile Pic Tip #3.
Get a Stranger to Pick Your Pic

As crazy as it sounds, don’t pick your profile picture yourself. Ask a stranger.

That’s the conclusion of a 2017 study that asked students to choose a profile picture from a set of 12 images they’d posted of themselves on Facebook.[3]

Researchers then asked complete strangers to choose the best profile pic from the same set.

Finally, the pictures were rated for traits such as attractiveness, trustworthiness, and confidence.

It turns out that the pictures selected by the strangers—but NOT the pictures selected by the students themselves—were more likely to display positive traits.

In a way, that’s not surprising.

It’s hard for us to see ourselves clearly. We’re so used to our own features that we don’t see them in the same way as someone who doesn’t know us.

Our friends may be unable to see us clearly, either. That’s why you don’t want their opinion on your profile picture. You need a stranger’s opinion, because a man who views your profile online knows nothing else about you!

If you’re uncomfortable approaching a stranger to ask for advice on your profile pics, there’s a website that will crowd-source the best profile pic for you.

Photo feeler gives you feedback on whether your picture makes you look smart, trustworthy, attractive, likable, fun, etc. It uses a combination of human votes and artificial intelligence.

It’s also a great resource for image tips. For example, did you know holding the camera in front of your face distorts your facial features? Selfies can give you a larger nose or a larger forehead than you have in real life. Ditch the selfies and use a timer—or, better yet, get someone to take a picture of you.

Getting a great profile picture is an art. If you don’t want to spend the time and energy to get your profile pic right, consider asking a professional to take some amazing shots of you. You’ll want to choose someone with experience in shooting profile pictures, as the design considerations are different from headshots or studio shots.

Having a great profile picture gives you confidence. You may find that you enjoy online dating more, because you know your profile shows you at your best.

Which tips do you think you’ll put into practice, now that you know what makes a great profile pic? Let me know in the comments!


[1] https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20120207006032/en/Tobii-Technology-AB-Catch-Valentine%E2%80%99s-Eye-Online

[2] https://www.scienceofpeople.com/profile-photo/

[3] http://cognitiveresearchjournal.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s41235-017-0058-3