I came across a great little story in Psychology Today about a survey done by OKCupid.com. And it inspired me to share some thoughts on taking great photos for your online or Facebook pages that will help show you in your best light.
Use your picture to your authentic advantage!
For the survey, OKCupid asked millions of users to rate other people’s attractiveness based on their photos, and then analyzed the settings of the cameras of the photos themselves. How cool is that, right? Which means that armed with information on things like what time of day the pics were shot and with which lens, etc., they noticed some trends.
Here’s my take on some of what they found as well as my own thoughts: overall, four great tips to taking a photo that will help attract your half-orange.
1. Take photos in late afternoon sun or early evening twilight. Psychology Today notes that the lighting at that time of is more flattering, and it’s true: it creates soft shadows which creates more a slimming effect. It’s different than the harsh shadows created by bright sunshine. If you want to take a photo on a bright sunny day, just try doing it in a soft shadow of a tree or patio umbrella to create softer shadows.
Me (far right) with my gorgeous girlfriends. I took this from that "slightly-above angle."
2. Take the photos from a slightly-above angle. This is a tip of mine that works every time. Now, I don’t mean holding the camera above your head, but if you have your friend hold the camera at, say, their forehead level and tip it down toward you…hello gorgeous! It creates a slimming chin definition that takes away those double chins and hating your neck like Nora Ephron does. And there’s something about how your eyes end up looking slightly up at the lens rather than straight on—kind of adorge. I do this with all my shots of my friends, and I’ve been crowned the “staff photographer” for the flattering pics we get because of it. That picture (at left) is a perfect example.
3. Post a happy late-night photo. The OKCupid study found that late-night photos got stellar ratings from viewers. They couldn’t pinpoint exactly why that is, but consider the fact that many late-night photos are taken either with or when you’re among friends, which puts you in exactly the state of mind you want to be in with your half-orange. And, sure, sometimes you’re a cocktail or two into a night, which relaxes you more and probably brings out a much more natural smile—and as I talk about in Meeting Your Half-Orange, it’s that natural smile, the one that makes the corners of your eyes crinkle up, which feeds information to your emotional brain that you are truly happy, which affects the energy in and around you. And that stuff gets picked up in a photo, boy. So consider that: If you are trying too hard to get a flattering photo in the daytime, get someone to take a snap of you at night.
4. Be real. The three tips on taking a good photo are all about planning or altering the angle of the shot so you look your best. But even then, a photo won’t mean squat if it isn’t reflecting the real you. The way I see it, a fake-ish photo is not only setting you up for disappointment (because you may be disappointing your date if you’re not really the person you sold yourself to be), but it also isn’t building you up in the right way. You should be proud of yourself for who you are, not who you wish you were. If you don’t ski, for example, posting five shots of that one trip you rode on the ski lift three years ago isn’t so straight up, is it? And if you have a few smile lines or wear glasses, posting the one shot of you that’s kind of far off at that fancy event where you once wore contacts with your friend cut off at your side…again, that’s not the real you, is it? If your potential dates don’t like you for who you really are—your likes, your dislikes, your desire to have kids, your freckles and glasses—then you don’t want to be dating them anyway!
So post the most flattering shot you can of the real you in a happy state of mind, and you’ll be one step closer to your half-orange seeing you for the awesome partner you plan to be.
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Real Love is Not a Catalog Shoot