Dating can be difficult: It’s complicated, emotional, and often a complete disaster. Sure, the rise of social media has helped a bit, but it isn’t perfect—messages from people you don’t like, and requests from people you don’t know. Although possible, applying social media to the dating world is awkward, given that so much of it is published publicly, and no one wants to be that bruv using Match.com in their 20s. But then came Tinder. 

In many ways—for better or for worse—Tinder has revolutionized the way people date. As of 2015, the platform sees an estimated 50 million users, and admittedly, the “yes or no, swipe left or swipe right” method of selecting potential dates is pretty entertaining. Recently, it integrated a “swipe right limiter”, requiring users to get unlimited likes by upgrading to Tinder Plus for $10 per month. 

Tinder is almost like a science, but the formula is very simple: Take a photo, fill out a bio, and hope that someone thinks your profile is hot. However, the key word in here is photo. You won’t get matches if your photo isn’t appealing, but if you’re not portrayed accurately, you will end up on a very disappointing first date. Here are some tips for capturing the perfect Tinder headshot.

Actually take a photo of yourself

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Seems obvious, right?

 

There’s nothing wrong with an adorable pet photo

 

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Your furry friend is an excellent ice-breaker, and gets you bonus points for all the pet lovers out there.

Don’t take photos with other people

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Your Tinder headshot should be just that—a headshot, with no one else in the frame. Otherwise, you may get someone who thinks they’re hitting on the person next to you.

 

Don’t upload a shaky, pixelated or out of focus photo

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Again, this one seems quite obvious but you’d be surprised. Not only does it seem careless, you can clearly see that it’s blurry and or pixelated. Why upload it?

 

No disembodied photos, please

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Try to have someone else take the photo of you

Worst case scenario, take a front facing photo on your phone and admit defeat. If there are people around you say to them, “Hey, I need a good photo for my Tinder profile. Can you please take a photo of me?” I’m sure your friends will be willing to lend a helping hand.

 

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If you can afford a professional photographer, hire one

Considering that there are photographers now specializing in Tinder headshots, you’d be doing yourself a disservice by not inquiring if you’re serious about your Tinder game.

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If you’re really serious about your Tinder game, invest in a cheap DSLR and light meter

High quality, DSLR photos will set you apart from everyone taking photos with their iPhones. Not only will you look great, you’ll appear serious and committed. Camera’s such as the Nikon 3200 or the Canon t4i are cheap but solid offerings for dSLR camera’s that will get the job done.

If you don’t mind waiting a few weeks, investing in the Lumu Light Meter would be a sound idea. The light meter, which plugs into your iPhone’s headphone jack, works just like a traditional light meter with the added convenience of being small, compact and affordable. Using an external light meter can be helpful in that they can pick up on light nuances that your camera’s built in meter can have difficulty discerning at times.