If there is one that that majorly affects your chances of getting responses for your online matrimony profile, it is your matrimonial profile photograph. Here are some facts behind how important your matrimonial profile photograph is.
Matrimonial profile photograph and first impression
According to Princeton psychologists Janine Willis and Alexander Todorov, it takes just 1/10 of a second to form an impression about the person we meet! This was the conclusion from their research titled “First Impressions“. When someone is searching for matching profiles, the first thing they see is your photograph (unless you are anonymous). Once they make up their mind, it is very difficult to change their perception. This translates to your profile getting ignored right away.
Your profile photograph is way too important!
Here is an informal study of 300+ respondents in a dating site.
It brings out three major issues, all pertaining to the profile photograph. Poor quality photos that look grainy (low resolution), not having enough photographs and posting old photos that don’t really represent who you are now are cardinal sins that you should avoid when creating your matrimonial profile.
Don’t treat your profile photograph casually
Another research study by Rory McGloin (Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Connecticut) and his colleagues has shown that people, in general, prefer “enhanced photographs” – the ones with better lighting, hair and makeup.
According to McGloin,
You look at a picture of someone and all of a sudden you’re making judgments about what their personality is like, what their values are, whether or you want to go on a date with them or even maybe spend the rest of your life with them.
You can read more about this study here. This finding is especially important when almost all the leading matrimony sites have now started offering a smartphone app where the profile photo takes centre stage in the search results.
You will need more than one profile photograph
One of the world’s largest dating sites analysed their database to find out which profiles got the maximum number of responses and here is what they concluded. People that uploaded 4 or more photographs got more responses from prospective matches compared to those that had less than 4 profile photographs. Also, profiles with photographs are 9 times more likely to get “express interest” / “interested” communication from matching profiles.
17 tips for your matrimonial profile photograph
Now that it is clear that you will need a handful pf great profile photographs for matrimony sites, the next important question is how do you go about taking your profile photographs. We have picked out what experts have had to say on this topic and lined up 17 tips that can help you take a winning matrimony profile photograph and get more responses to your online matrimony profile.
1. Include at least one headshot
Including at least one professional headshot is a must. This should be your primary profile photograph. But make sure you don’t include four different headshots and nothing else as it conveys the impression that you are hiding something. Not including a proper headshot in your profile also doesn’t give the other party a good sense of who you are. According to Roman Griffen, author of Internet Dating: Tips, Tricks and Tactics,
When the picture you post was taken from across the street, the purpose of posting it—letting people see what you look like—is defeated.
2. Include multiple photographs that showcase your personality
A great way to enhance your credibility and attractiveness will be to include multiple profile photographs along with your headshot. You can use these photographs to showcase your personality. For example, if you are an avid cyclist, remember to include a photograph that shows you on a bicycle. Multiple photographs that showcase your full body along with your headshot will dramatically improve your credibility.
3. Let the light shine, but not too much
You will certainly need proper light to get a good profile photograph, but direct sunlight is a bad idea. Sunlight is harsh and can make you look older! According to Improve Photography,
Normal lighting in a house or during the heat of the day is not flattering on the skin; however, once light passes through a window, it is very soft and diffused. Consider placing your subject next to a window so the light hits the model at an angle (not looking straight out the window). Without much effort, you’ve created beautiful light which studios strain to copy.
4. Outdoor photographs are great
If you can find a park, beach, or a bed of flowers anywhere outside your home, make use of the natural scenery to take a few nice outdoor snaps. According to Digital camera World,
For the most striking portraits, it’s often best to keep things simple, so try to shoot against uncluttered backgrounds such as the sky, a wall or foliage. This will help your subject stand out.
Also, avoid outdoor shots between 11 am to 1 pm as the sunlight is probably the harshest.
5. You will look confident if you feel confident
Your photographs look good when you are confident. The best way to radiate confidence is to make sure you wear a dress that fits you well. Pick the dresses that have won you compliments from your family and friends. Of course, if you are planning to take multiple profile photographs for your matrimony profile, make sure you wear different clothes. You don’t want different photographs with the same dress. It’s very obvious to the viewer and you will create an impression that you are desperate.
6. What is your good side?
Yes, there is indeed a good side to your face and that’s your left side! We are not kidding. According to PsychCentral, humans exhibit a greater intensity of emotions on the left side of our face and a research study has found that humans perceive the left side of the face to be more pleasant compared to pictures of the right side of faces.
7. Try smiling
When you take profile photographs, try different expressions. A great big smile, a gentle smile, a neutral pose, or any other shade in between. Then look at the photographs to see what is more attractive. Smiling always conveys an image of confidence and it’s a great way to showcase your good teeth!
OKCupid has published some interesting findings on the difference between the profile photographs of men and women. You should read their blog post as well to get some new ideas.
8. Using your smartphone?
if you are depending on your trusted smartphone to take pictures for your matrimony profile, try downloading specialised apps that will give you greater options to get better photos. According to this blog, Apps like Camera+ (iOS) and ProCapture Free (Android) have additional features alongside the normal phone settings. Others have more specialised functions like Slow Shutter Cam (iOS), Night Cam and Pro HDR (iOS, Android).
9. The rule of thirds
The rule of thirds is a guideline that professional photographers use when composing images. Any good photograph will have all key elements at the intersection of imaginary grid lines that divide the photographs into thirds. Here is an example from Wikipedia.
10. Do you know how to squinch?
Squinching is the act of making your eyes more compact. According to Gizmodo, Professional portrait photographer Peter Hurley suggests you squinch next time you have your picture taken. Hurley explains squinching as the “action of squinting your eyes in such a way as to portray confidence and self-assurance as opposed to the fear and uncertainty that you project when you stare wide-eyed at the camera.”
Here is an example.
11. Mastering the sitting pose
According to this blog, men and women should use different techniques if their profile photograph requires them to remain seated (for example, if you are a King or Queen sitting on your throne!). Here are some tips on how to master the sitting pose:
“For men, to look bigger than you are, you can always spread your knees widely to inhabit a lot of space and angle your whole body towards the camera.”
“For women, assuming you’re sitting at an angle, always cross the back leg over the front one. There’s less thigh this way. Second, for an even cleaner and leaner look, opt to cross your ankles instead of your knees.”
12. Avoiding the double chin
Apparently, models are trained to keep their tongues pulled up behind their front teeth to automatically tighten the muscles of the neck! Check out this video to see how this idea works and then thank us by liking and sharing this post 🙂
13. What should we do with our hands?
This is a tricky thing to understand. Men don’t know what to do with their hands and the women end up overshadowing the face when they start posing with their hands. Check out this instructional video by an expert photographer, Lindsay Adler, that tell you precisely what to do with your hands when posing for portrait photographs.
14. The standing pose for women and camera angles for men
This video by Tiffany Hendra has very simple tips that can help women master the standing pose for online profile photographs.
Called the “S pose”, women need to swivel the hips away from the camera but pull their shoulder and face so that they don’t end up with only a side profile. According to Hendra, men can look better with a camera angle that is at or above their eye level.
15. Tilt your head
Staring dead straight into the camera may make people wonder if you are possessed by an evil spirit. Slightly tilting your head down and angling your eyes upwards can create a much better photograph.
16. Don’t ignore the background
Paying attention to the background is often the difference between a great photo and a good photo. A dangling telephone wire, a bad patch of paint on the wall, an open cupboard revealing all its messy contents or even a misplaced book can ruin a perfectly good profile photograph otherwise.
17. Professional photographer or not?
We will certainly recommend using a professional photographer for your matrimonial profile photos (if you can afford one). Walking into any of the photo studios in your town or city randomly is not a great idea as you never know the quality of photographers they may have. Please ask your friends for a recommendation. Facebook or Google search can point you to credible photographers that have demonstrated their work.
We asked Alex Schult of PhotographyTalk.com to share his insights on some common questions people have when taking a profile photograph for marriage biodata or matrimonial sites.
Any recommendations for taking a profile pic when you have a dark or brown skin?
When photographing a person with dark skin tones, using even lighting is essential.
Diffused light (like a flash with a diffuser) brings out the natural tones of the skin and highlights its details in a beautiful way.
Also look for opportunities to highlight darker skin tones by placing the subject in front of a lighter background. This will help create contrast in the image that sets off the skin tones of the model.
What kinds of makeup could ruin a portrait photo?
When taking a portrait or self-portrait, it’s important to go easy on the makeup because a little goes a long way.
Using foundation to smooth out the skin and give it more even tones is a good idea, as is using a little blush to bring some colour to the cheeks and help define the cheekbones.
Avoid flashy colours of eyeshadow because they can quickly look out of style. Instead, opt for eyeshadow that’s one shade darker than the foundation, and pair that with black mascara to define the eyelashes.
For the lips, again, avoid using flashy colours like bright red as it can look cheap. Opt instead for a shade of lipstick that’s one shade darker than the foundation for a consistent, natural look.
Any tips on using smartphones to get the best possible portrait photos?
The best tip for shooting a portrait with a smartphone is to seek out a location that offers plenty of natural light.
Even the best phones on the market today don’t have the greatest flashes, so capitalize on the brightness of natural light to get a high-quality shot.
If shooting indoors, position yourself or the model near a window and diffuse the light by hanging a white sheet or another light-coloured fabric over the window.
If shooting outside, find the shade of a tree or a building in order to avoid high contrast and deep shadows.
If taking a selfie, set your phone on a tripod or lean it up against something, set the self-timer, and take the photo that way, NOT by holding the phone out at arm’s length!
You can read more tips on taking awesome profile photos here.
Bonus tips from Joe Sinnott
Joe Sinnott is an ace photographer and a faculty member of the school of visual arts in New York City. Here are some practical tips from Joe that should help you take your own awesome matrimonial profile photograph (with some help of course!).
1. Avoid direct sunlight. Cloudy weather is always great as photos look good in diffused light. Direct sunlight can cause shadows and that’s not good.
2. Try to take your photographs from a slightly higher angle. Portrait photographs look better if photographed from above the eye line.
3. Women shouldn’t try to tuck their chin in and men should avoid the folded hand with a tilted head pose.
4. Try to focus the lens on the face and blur out the background. Of course, this depends on the background!
5. Keep your eyes on the camera lens. Don’t stare into space as the person viewing your photo will wonder where you are looking!
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