Ten Things to Know About Selecting Photos
For Your Online Profile

A picture is worth a thousand words and can say a lot about you--even unintentionally. Here are ten things you should know about selecting photos to post on your online profile.

10. Not too few, not too many

Some people post no photos. This is the biggest mistake ever. Even if you don't think you're attractive, or if you don't think you photograph well, any photo is better than no photo. Some people post a dozen photos. While this is better than posting one (or no) photo, it's overkill. A good number is three; see below for more details on each.

9. The close-up

One of your photos should be a close-up so people can see what you really look like. Feel free to pile on the make-up if you're insecure about how you look.

8. The full-body shot

One of your photos should show your full figure. It's up to you whether you wear a bathing suit or a business suit--it all depends on the image you want to project. If you've got a decent body, flaunt it. Heck, even if you're not the most attractive, you'll earn bonus points if you show it and don't try to hide it.

7. The group shot

There's nothing more pathetic than a profile showing half a dozen photos of somebody by themself, even if somebody had to be there to take the photo. One of your photos should show you in a social situation, interacting with other people. The hidden message here is that you're outgoing and have friends, and you're not stuck in your parents' basement.

6. Don't crop out your ex

How many times have you seen somebody's photo in which they've obviously cropped or cut out their ex? Not only does it exhibit a lack of class, it also makes you look lazy. In this day and age where everybody has a camera on their phone, you couldn't be bothered to get a decent photo of yourself?

5. Use up-to-date photos

Tempting as it may be to use that photo from ten years ago, who are you trying to fool? When you finally meet somebody and they see you look ten years older than your photo, you'll have some 'splainin' to do, Lucy.

5. Put down the drink and nobody gets hurt

If I had a nickel for every washed-out flash photo I've seen of some half-drunk bone-head holding up their drink and grinning like an idiot...well, you get the idea. If you're going to use a candid shot of you in a bar or at a party, at least put your drink down or hold it at waist level. We all know what a drink looks like.

4. Learn to use a camera or find somebody who can help

Getting a decent, well-lit, nicely-composed shot isn't nearly as easy as it seems. You can do it yourself with a self-timer and a tripod (or a surface to rest the camera on) or you can get a friend to help you. It's especially helpful if your friend has a clue about how to compose a shot.

3. Smile

Unless you're a Goth, or posing for a rap album cover, you should be smiling in all your photos. Don't even think about using a photo in which you're not smiling and looking happy.

2. Feel free to retouch

If you have photo editing software on your computer, or know somebody who is handy with that sort of thing, you can correct many aspects of your photos such as cropping, lighting, and contrast.

1. Avoid red-flag photos

Red-flag photos are ones that seemed like a good idea at the time but which send up a big red flag when other people see them. Guys: don't pose in front of vehicles or holding weapons. Girls: don't pose with your cat.