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Online dating profiles

The right photo

Passport photo, group shot or a snapshot from your skiing holiday? When you’re choosing pictures for your Parship profile, it’s a matter of decisions, decisions, decisions. Here are some tips on getting the best out of your photos – and on what to avoid.

The right photo

Not a good look

If you are a man, do you really look at ease in collar and tie, looking somewhat guiltily full-on into the camera? If not, then an official passport-style shot is probably not the best choice – and you shouldn’t consider scanning your security pass from work and putting the image on your profile. You’re not looking to make a positive impression on the agents at Interpol, but on a prospective partner. It’s also not advisable to choose an old photo … whether it’s you as a baby, or ten years younger or twenty pounds lighter than you are today. And adding ‘instructions for use’ probably isn’t going to help a great deal – “Imagine me without the beard” or “My hair’s parted on the left these days”. It doesn’t create the best impression, even if you are trying to avoid your date getting a surprise when (and if) they first meet you. Another no-no: don’t consider a picture of you and a group of friends or colleagues or with your children … Remember that every member’s photos get checked by a member of the Parship customer services team, and it is only solo shots that will get past the screening. What matters is you an individual.

Show your face

Pictures taken at parties can be a lot of fun, but a shot where you are tipsy or pulling a funny face is best reserved for friends you know already. It could create the wrong impression for someone who is seeing you for the first time. If you want to use a section from a photo with other people, make sure that no disembodied arms and legs are to be seen, and don’t use a shot of you with another person with their face blacked out. The assumption will be that the other person is your ex and that you are bringing some emotional baggage with you – and in any case, that kind of picture is unlikely to receive approval to go live on the site. If you are the sporty type, try and resist using full-length shots taken from some distance and showing you abseiling, or photos of you wearing a cycling helmet or sunglasses. The important thing is that in your main photo your face should be easily recognisable. Swimwear shots might be misinterpreted as a come-on – the same applies to pictures where you are sprawled on a bed.

Presenting a good picture

You can place up to nine photos on your profile. Photo No 1 is especially important since it is visible – albeit in a blurred format to preserve your anonymity – to all your recommended partners. The best choice is an up-to-date photo showing you with a friendly smile, in a natural pose and in your normal surroundings. You have eight other pictures to show different sides of yourself: head to toe, perhaps dressed up for an evening out, playing your beloved guitar … Of course the photos should be clear and sharp. It’s worth avoiding photos taken from a low angle, since they have a tendency to be unflattering. Think about getting a trusted friend to help you choose the shot. If you really don’t find anything suitable in your photo albums, arrange a photo session with someone you know has a good eye for a picture. Taking pictures of yourself with a timer is likely to produce a shot where you don’t look at your most relaxed.

The professional touch

When you are being photographed, turn so that the light source is in front of you – that produces a flattering effect. If you are going for a head-to-toe shot, choose a picture taken slight from one side rather than square-on. Contrasts work well, so if you have dark hair, find a plain, light-coloured background. If you like to try special effects, which can have a certain appeal to like-minded people, you can take a photo of yourself in the mirror or make a collage (though this is not advisable for the photo that appears in the blurred preview format).

Next steps

In your ‘My Parship’ area, under the header ‘Edit profile’/’About me’ is where you can upload your photos. If you don’t have a digital camera or a scanner, you can get pictures scanned at a copy shop.

Once your photos are on your Parship profile, it’s up to you when – and to whom – you show them: you ‘release’ the photos on a one-to-one basis. Many members of the service prefer to get to know each other a little first before exchanging photos, while others make the decision to release a photo along with their initial contact request. Don’t feel under any pressure to release your photo – and remember that it isn’t until you meet someone face to face that you really know whether there is a spark – and some prospect of falling in love.

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