Tuesday, November 1, 2005

How to take dating photos like a professional


By Gordon Gooch

Millions of people are online dating and every one of them knows that their profile picture has an enormous impact on the number of responses they get. Online dating companies tell their subscribers that profiles with a picture are 15 times more likely to get a response than profiles without a picture.

Therefore, many online daters feel it is better to have a less than flattering picture than no picture at all, even if that poor picture results in disappointing responses. So, online daters upload poor quality images (out of focus, too dark or blown out), group photos, where you are left to wonder which person goes with the profile, or worse cropped photos where "extra people" are cut out, leaving amputated body parts.

"There is an untapped market of millions of individuals who require quality digital photography."

In general, if you ask online daters about their online photos, many will tell you that they don't like their photos or worse -- that their photos don't even look like them anymore.

Why would millions of online daters upload poor images of themselves when they know how important their photos are to their online profile? There are three answers:

  1. Most people don't have appropriate portraits of themselves. The last time they sat for a portrait was high school;
  2. Online daters are not aware of the options available to them, like professional photographers specializing in dating portraits; and
  3. Many people are intimidated by the technical specifications needed to upload photos to their online dating service, such as resolution, file and image size.

What does this mean for the professional digital photographer? It means that there is an untapped market of millions of individuals who require quality digital photography. In order to serve this market most effectively, a photographer needs to understand three key elements: the technical specifications of the images, the mentality of the client, and the final output.

The importance of the primary picture

First, a little background for those of you who have never visited an online dating site. Online dating "profiles" are made up of three parts. The first part is the primary image, which is displayed in search results.

The second part is the group of 4 to 25 secondary images, depending on the online dating company, used to round out the individual's portrait portfolio.

The third part is the written profile and questionnaire that an individual fills out in order to describe who he or she is and what he or she is looking for in a match.