We live in a world where appearance is very important and anybody who has ever subscribed to an online dating site knows that the first impression – based on the profile photo – is often what determines whether or not interest is sparked. As a consequence it seems only natural that one would ponder on the best way to make a good impression with a picture.

As everyone knows, professional photographers take much better pictures than the average person fumbling with an amateur camera.  Professional photos can make us all look like movie stars – younger, thinner and more glamorous than we could ever hope to be in real life – and thus they are extremely tempting for anyone looking to make a noticeable first impression.

However, when looking for your beshert, someone you hope to meet for real at some point, and maybe even someone you hope to be spending the rest of your life with – in sickness, in old age, on bad hair days – using as your profile picture a beautiful photograph which only remotely resembles you is not a good idea.  The last thing you want when you end up meeting your prospect on a date is for him or her to be disappointed.  This may happen anyway as a photograph – any photograph – only gives a minimal glimpse of what the person is really like.  But the chances for disappointment are of course much higher if the first impression was based on a bit of deception to start with.

So this is what we would recommend doing if you are on a site where subscribers pre-select their potential partners based on pictures:  choose a few pictures of yourself taken by friends (no selfie) in different types of settings and outfits.  For example you can choose a portrait, a picture of you dressed up for a party, a picture of you doing a favorite activity, a picture with friends and family, etc.  You will, of course, upload the photos which show you in the best light.

Remember that everybody does the same thing and that all the pictures you see on the site are flattering representations of the subscribers.  They can be good or bad photos but how much do they actually tell you about the person?  How much do the photos of you say about you?  Do the pictures show your intelligence? Your kindness? Your fun side? Your charm? Your culture?  Do you think they are a fair way of judging you?  Of judging whether you would make a good life companion or not?

At Simantov we don’t think so.  And this is why we never let our clients see the pictures of the candidates we want to introduce them to before they actually get to meet them, in person or on Skype.  We select the candidates very carefully, based on our clients’ needs and expectations, but we do not believe that a photograph alone is a good representation of any one person.  We believe you need to talk to someone, to see the person’s facial expressions, to observe his/her body language, to ask questions and get reactions, etc., before you can decide whether or not you are interested in knowing more.  A photograph is both insufficient and too illusory to base such an important decision on.  And that is true whether the picture is good or not!