Guys often complain they get very few (or no) matches on Tinder and 99.9999% of the time, it’s because their pictures suck.
What does a good Tinder photo look like? Here’s my guide on what you should be aiming for, with a huge collection of examples from elite guys.
I set up a female Tinder profile using one of my fuckbuddy’s photos & together she and I went through over 1000 male Tinder profiles in order to put this article together. It took me about 2 weeks, working on it for 5 or so hours a day. I found that so many guys just repeat the same mistakes as each other, and I was about to distil it down to about 14 mistakes everyone keeps repeating.
So similar and samey were 99% of the profiles, that I found myself starting to go insane from having to see the same crap over and over and over again; it really gave me a hell of a lot of insight into what girls have to go through. Every now and then I’d come across some guy who just STOOD OUT, and that was a breath of fresh air.
No wonder girls respond so well to polarising profiles like mine.
Don’t stress if you’re making a lot of these mistakes – that’s normal at the start. And they’re all fixable. Over time as you improve your pics, you’ll naturally make less and less of these mistakes, leading to a better profile overall. I’ve ordered these in rough order of how often I see them, from most-common to least-common. Everything in this article assumes your goal is to get laid or find a girlfriend (otherwise, why would you be on this site?)
- Mistake #1: Bad Lighting
- Mistake #2: Poor Quality (Blurry/Out of Focus/Excess Noise/Pixelated)
- Mistake #3: Extreme Closeup Selfies of Your Face
- Mistake #4: Bathroom/Bedroom Selfies
- Mistake #5: Lack of Variety/Depth
- Mistake #6: Several Photos of You in the Same Location
- Mistake #7: Awkward or Uncomfortable Smile/Pose (or too Staged/Stiff)
- Mistake #8: Bad Angle/Too Far Away
- Mistake #9: You’re the Only Person in All your Photos
- Mistake #10: Too Much Silliness (Including Silly Facial Expressions)
- Mistake #11: Several Pics of You Wearing the Exact Same Clothes
- Mistake #12: Only One Picture
- Mistake #13: Memes/Quotes
- Mistake #14: Animals (Without You in the Shot)
Mistake #1: Bad Lighting
By far the worst mistake to make, photos where it’s too dark to see your face should be a dealbreaker… but for some reason this is the most common mistake on this whole list. Pretty much 80-90% of Tinder profiles have multiple pics where you can’t even see the dude, usually shot while lying on their bed in a dark room. Not to mention, the darker the lighting, the more grainy the photo will be. It’s like most guys can’t even be bothered trying to get laid.
Brighten them up in Photoshop (if you don’t know how to do that yourself, I’ll help – I offer a very affordable Photoshopping service) or throw them out and take better ones. Generally speaking, photos look much better taking during the daytime – not at night.
Do not upload shitty dark photos, no matter how cool you think you look in them. Re-shoot the same photo with better lighting.
Another common mistake is standing in front of a super bright light source (eg a window, or standing outside in the middle of the day with a super sunny light source). The camera will either blow out the sky and make it pure white, or darken your face so you’re completely dark and hard to make out. Harsh outdoor lighting also sucks because it forces you to squint, which never looks flattering.
Instead, do one of these things:
- Shoot on a cloudy day, or in the shade – get away from that harsh sun. Shadows will be much softer and your face won’t come out dark as hell.
- Shoot during the “golden hours” – sunrise and sunset. The light will be much less direct and less harsh – not to mention nice and golden/red which always looks awesome in a photo.
- Learn to use a DSLR camera with a proper off-camera flash or use a reflector – both will even out the dark areas in the photo.
- Brighten yourself up in Photoshop (I’ll happily help). Note that if the photo is too dark, there’s not a whole lot you can do to save it; best to reshoot the photo in better lighting conditions.
- Wear sunglasses (just don’t wear them in every photo).
And finally we have what I call “serial killer lighting”, where the light is coming from above your head, pointing straight down. This casts dark shadows underneath your eyes, giving that scary “horror movie” look. Never take photos in a room with overhead lighting, on a street at night, etc.
Mistake #2: Poor Quality (Blurry/Out of Focus/Excess Noise/Pixelated)
This one comes up all the damn time; you’d think every guy on Tinder is still rocking a shitty phone from the 90’s with how bad the quality of their pics is. With smartphone cameras being as awesome as they are these days, and DSLR cameras being hella cheap, there’s no excuse.
Cropping a photo (to zoom in on yourself) obviously results in a more pixelated, shittier looking image, yet guys do this a tonne on Tinder. Don’t crop your photos or use a shrunken version of your photos.
Other bad examples I’ve seen are blurry images (camera wasn’t being held steady while taking the pic, or subject was moving), out of focus images (person didn’t take half a second to make sure the shot was in focus), or images that are full of excess “noise” (the “grainy” texture that happens when you take a photo in low-light). Images shot using an old phone tend to give shitty photos too (especially in low light).
Don’t just grab an old photo of yourself and crop it down, or it’ll be low quality. Take the time to take a proper quality photo.
You either need to grab a DSLR camera so your photos are high-quality, borrow a friend’s DSLR, or use a semi-recent smartphone which takes awesome pics (grab one that automatically blurs the background to give you that DSLR-look known as low depth of field).
Mistake #3: Extreme Closeup Selfies of Your Face (Unless You’re REALLY Attractive)
Selfies (especially closeup selfies) look boring when you’re a guy. Unless you’re ridiculously good looking (and if you’re reading this article you’re probably not), you’re not going to get laid from your face alone. Girls can get away with selfies; guys need something more.
A sub-genre of this is photos with half your face cut off. This is something girls do a hell of a lot, but they can get away with it (because everyone wants to fuck them). As a guy you can’t be doing retarded things if you want any sort of success on Tinder. And cropping out most of your face is pretty retarded.
Selfies are something you should avoid in general – it is always better to hand your phone/DSLR camera to a friend or a random stranger and ask them to take a few pics. Ask them to stand nice and close (most people take pictures from waaaaay too far back). Tell them you want the subject (you) to fill the entire frame (don’t have useless background filling up most of the picture).
If you’re not happy with the photo, ask them to take a couple more (or ask another stranger).
Mistake #4: Bathroom/Bedroom Selfies
Low effort, a tonne of guys use them, and it looks like you don’t care whether you get laid or not. It makes it look like you half-heartedly snapped a photo of yourself right where you were standing and thought, “Fuck it, that’s good enough.” (Caveat: a possible exception is if you’re ridiculously jacked and lean; even then, you’d be better off getting a better, less “staged” shot of your physique. A shot at the beach, or hiking somewhere pretty, even the gym, or rockclimbing, or at a pool party, etc.)
I could show 500 more examples of this – it’s an extremely common mistake guys make. It just screams “I can’t be bothered putting in any effort”. If you don’t take yourself seriously, why the hell should any girl take you seriously? Would you give a job to someone who rocked up to an interview wearing dirty sweatpants and an old faded tshirt, clearly putting in zero effort? Or would you give it to the guy who bothered to dress in a suit, groom himself well and wear awesome cologne?
It takes no effort to leave the house, hand your phone to a friend (or a random stranger on the street/in the gym) and ask them to take a handful of photos of you.
Mistake #5: Lack of Variety/Depth
It always looks lazy when you have 8 photos of you at the gym, or several photos of you with your mates, or a bunch of photos of you doing the same thing. Don’t make the excuse of “But I’m in different locations in each of these photos!” if they’re all showing off the same aspect of your personality/looks.
The point of your Tinder profile is to have a variety of photos showing you off to be a cool, masculine, sexy guy – not a one-dimensional loner who only has 1 interesting side to him.
You only need one or two photos of you at the gym, one or two photos of your dog, one or two photos of your favourite sport, or a couple photos of you standing in front of famous landmarks. Don’t fill your entire profile with one aspect of your personality, otherwise you’ll look like you couldn’t think of any other ideas for photos. Read this if you need some suggestions.
Mistake #6: Several Photos of You in the Same Location
If a number of your pics are in the same location, it makes it look like you just went out one day to snap a bunch of photos for Tinder. It looks like you couldn’t be bothered gradually building up a portfolio of good images over time, and instead just wanted to rush it in an hour. It also makes it look like you have no sort of life, and only hang out in that one spot.
When you go out to take some photos for Tinder, only use one photo from each location – no matter how good the other shots are. Pick the best one, then go somewhere else (with different clothes!)
Mistake #7: Awkward or Uncomfortable Smile/Pose (or too Staged/Stiff)
Photos where it’s very obvious you’re posing for a photo always look awful. It’s always better to look natural, as if the photo was incidental and the cameraman just happened to (almost accidentally) take a great snap of you while you were just going about your business.
Basically, you never want static posture (standing completely stiff and still). Either take a dynamic shot (where you’re moving – try walking towards the camera whilst looking slightly off to the side of the camera, and have your cameraman quickly snap a bunch of shots as you walk). Or completely relaxed posture – lean against a wall, or relax your body a bit. It might take some practice, but it’s not that hard once you get it.
The only way to look natural in a photo is to take hundreds of photos and you’ll “accidentally” have some that look completely natural.
Mistake #8: Bad Angle/Too Far Away
Holding the camera down below your eye level and facing it up towards your face always looks terrible. It automatically makes you look fat (even if you’re not); it’s not a flattering angle.
Instead, hold the camera at roughly eye-level (a tiny bit above or a tiny bit below is fine).
Another mistake guys make is being way too far away in the shot, so they’re only a small part of the entire photo. This shows off less of you and distracts with all the background clutter. It also means the background won’t be as nice and blurry (out of focus) compared to when you stand close.
Generally speaking, you want to fill the frame – make sure you take up most of the frame. The photo will be a lot more impactful the more you’re actually in it.
Obviously this is a balancing act – don’t get so damn close you break rule #3 above (extreme closeups of your face). Just don’t be standing so far away you’re barely even in the photo.
You’re aiming to eliminate as much empty space above, below and to the sides of you. There’s a saying photographers have: Get as close as you can to the subject, and then get even closer.
Mistake #9: You’re the Only Person in All your Photos
If every one of your photos features only you, with no friends, you’re going to look like a bit of a loner; especially if you’re not even doing anything exciting in any of them.
It’s not a complete dealbreaker IF you’re really attractive, or have really kickass hobbies to show off. But even then, you’d be much better off including other people in at least one or two of your pics.
Grab a friend and go to a bar/pub and hand your phone to someone to take a snap of you two. Grab a girl (a fuckbuddy/girlfriend, or a female friend) and ask someone to take a photo of the two of you together. Or include a group photo of you with mates (make sure you look good in it).
Hell, even a photo of you on the street with a few people in the background will do. Just make sure there’s some other humans in at least one or two of your photos.
Mistake #10: Too Much Silliness (Including Silly Facial Expressions)
I actually recommend having a silly photo as part of your Tinder profile (if you want to). It only becomes an issue if you have too many silly photos. Many guys have their entire profile full of nothing but silly photos where they’re making silly expressions. They’re doing it because they feel uncomfortable “taking this Tinder thing seriously”, and making stupid faces allows them to say, “I don’t care if I don’t get laid, I’m not even trying bro.”
If you want to get laid, you have to take it seriously and you have to be a little vulnerable, so don’t cover up your insecurities with goofy expressions.
I’ll admit I used to fall victim to this when I was first using Tinder/online dating. I’m a photographer by trade, and I have a tonne of silly photos of myself with all sorts of wild costumes, props, making silly faces, etc. My entire Tinder profile was made up of ridiculous photos of me doing ridiculous things, and guess what? Girls would regularly match with me to tell me how hilarious my photos were, but then go stone cold silent when I asked for their number. I didn’t get laid once using a profile full of silly photo.
Remember, you’re trying to look sexy and masculine in your Tinder pics, not be an amusing monkey for girls to laugh at. One silly photo is cool; but put it as one of the last photos in your profile.
Mistake #11: Several Pics of You Wearing the Exact Same Clothes
This one makes it really obvious you just went out to snap a bunch of photos for Tinder, but couldn’t be bothered going out more than once. It makes you look like a boring person who can’t really be bothered putting in any thought or effort into your Tinder profile. It looks like you just went out one afternoon to half-heartedly throw together a few pics and hope for the best. (Remember, you’re trying to market yourself).
Luckily this mistake doesn’t come up too much – most guys are smart enough to know it’s painfully obvious they’re wearing the same clothes in multiple pics. But when it does come up, it sticks out like a sore thumb.
Also included in this section is bad fashion sense in general; you need to make sure your clothes & style are awesome. If you’re clueless when it comes to fashion (I certainly was at the start), it’s something you need to fix immediately. Start following fashion blogs, go to trendy areas in your town and mimic what cool guys wear, or post on a reputable forum that can give you honest feedback & suggestions for your style. Good Looking Loser is my recommendation (I’m on there).
Mistake #12: Only One Picture
If you’ve only got one pic in your profile, I’m going to slap you. No guy ever got laid with an above-average girl using just 1 pic on Tinder. Even if your picture is mind-blowingly good and you look incredibly attractive and sexy, you’ll get thrown straight into the “this profile is fake” bin.
Not to mention, only having 1 photo means the girl has zero chance to know anything about you, or see what hobbies you’re into, or see that you have friends you hang out with. Would you meet up with someone you knew nothing about?
It also looks like you truly don’t give a fuck – uploading 1 pic means you’re not even remotely taking getting dates/getting laid seriously. If you don’t take yourself seriously, why should anybody else take you seriously?
Don’t be lazy. Take more photos. Aim for at least 4 solid (quality) photos to begin with, and then gradually add more over time. (But don’t add shit photos just to fill all your photo slots.)
Mistake #13: Memes/Quotes
Memes are a way for guys to say, “Haha, I’m not taking this Tinder thing seriously lol, so I don’t care if I don’t get laid much”. Instead, shut up and take this seriously. You’re on here because you want to get laid, not fuck around and waste time.
Unless you’re a female or a motivational speaker, don’t post any “inspirational” quotes either. You’re trying to get pussy, not be a pussy.
Besides, they don’t add jack shit to your profile. You’re trying to have sexual intercourse, remember – the valuable photo space shouldn’t be taken up by nonsense that makes you look like a goofball.
Mistake #14: Animals (Without You in the Shot)
Admittedly not the most egregious crime on this list; in fact, animal pics are a very good thing. Girls love ’em. But we’re aiming for elite, not mediocre, so make them even better by including yourself in the shot; don’t just take a lazy shot of your pet. A picture of you cuddling that cute kitten or dog is a million times better than a random snapshot of it.
If any of these mistakes seem like nit-picking, or if you’re tempted to use the excuse, “But Andy, most other guys have shitty pics, why can’t I get laid with mediocre pics too?”… Have some damn self-respect. Put in the effort and actually try to get laid. You’re not aiming for 1 date every few months, are you? Because that’s all you’ll get if your pics are as crap as the ones I’ve posted above.
As with everything else on this site, we’re aiming for elite – you want hundreds of matches a week, near-endless options, so you won’t have to settle. But getting to that stage requires awesome Tinder pics – you won’t get by with close-up selfies shot in the dark, or 10 lame shots of you in the gym, surrounded by sweaty men.
Want examples of great Tinder pics? Dive into my Tinder Pictures and Inspiration page for a massive list of elite-level photos.