Photos are everywhere. Smart and dumb phones alike carry cameras. We have the ability to capture a moment, put a filter on it and disperse it worldwide.
Along with the instant gratification of pictures has come the advent of the self-portrait. I have friends who change their Facebook profile pictures at least once a day. I see more self-portraits (and have been known to indulge in taking one or two myself) on social media websites and on ChristianCafe.com than I can count. Not only are we obsessed with capturing our lives instantly, we’ve become enamored with snapping pictures of ourselves.
Don’t get me wrong: I love looking at pictures. Well-taken photos truly are an art form. However, where I get confused is when I’m on ChristianCafe.com and I see some of the profile pictures people choose to display. Because, to be honest, it is the good, the bad and the weird out there in online dating land.
For the record, I’m sure that some people have looked at my profile picture and wondered why on earth I chose the photos I did. I have two photos up, and I picked them based on what I wrote in my profile. I love people, so I posted a picture of my best friend and me, clearly notating who is who. I also talk about my love of travel and posted a picture of myself from a vacation to the East Coast this summer. I wanted to show men that I’m a generally happy, active person.
I know that my way is just one way of thought in choosing a photo for your profile. There are many pictures on the Cafe that are engaging and interesting. However, there are some clear categories of photos emerging that baffle me the more profiles I peruse:
1) No photo at all. Huh? You’re on a dating website, and you’re not going to post a photo? I find this confusing. We’ve talked about appearance a lot here at Boundless, and while it can be a sensitive subject, I think we can all agree that it plays a part in establishing a relationship. Therefore, if I can’t see your face, I won’t look at your profile.
2) Artwork. I can appreciate a creative man. It’s something I look for, actually. However, unless you’ve painted the “Mona Lisa” or “Starry, Starry Night,” I’d rather see your face. Save the art hobby as a conversation starter in an email or something.
3) The “I’m-taking-this-picture-in-a-mirror-with-a-cool-expression” photo. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen this picture on the Facebook profile of my high-school-aged brother and his friends, but I just can’t take someone with this kind of picture seriously. And most of them seem to be taken in bathrooms. I don’t understand.
When I look at profiles, I look for pictures that clearly show the guy’s face and a smile — something simple that doesn’t look like he’s trying too hard. I know pictures and appearance can be a tricky subject, so I don’t want to be callous or insensitive. Online dating is so much about that first impression which is your photo. No photo or a strange photo can be an instant deal breaker for many people.
I wrestle with this aspect of online dating. Appearance is important, but what if the person with the goofy picture is amazing? I get uncomfortable when I feel like I’m judged for my appearance, yet I find myself exercising judgment every time I look at a profile. I think you can become attracted to someone the more you get to know him. On the other hand, if his picture is a turn off, why bother starting a conversation?
So that’s where I’m wrestling right now. What about you? Online daters, I’d love to hear about what pictures you’ve used for your profiles. What is it about profile pictures that catch your eye and make you want to read further? How important is a good photo? How much does personal preference or knowing what you’re attracted to play into the profiles you look at?
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