Pictures: To post or not to post — that is the question

At lunch today, a single friend was lamenting the challenge of finding Mr. Right. In her early 40’s, never married, educated, intelligent, funny and beautiful, she wants to have a family and is feeling the pressure.

When discussing online dating sites, she said she doesn’t post her picture because she wants men to be attracted to her because of what she says in her profile, not what she looks like. She knows that it is easy to be swayed by looks and doesn’t want to someone to be attracted just by her picture.

However, she isn’t finding a steady stream of qualified men beating a path to her door. I understand her desire to find someone who is attracted to her for her values and life philosophy. However, her no-picture strategy isn’t working for her.

To be successful in anything one has to continually evaluate if what they are doing is helping them get what they want. If not, they have to be willing to try something new. My friend would probably see a dramatic increase in contacts if she posted her picture. Yes, that means having many men contact her who aren’t good prospects. But she would enlarge her pool dramatically and be able to choose to connect with those who met her criteria.

Are you sticking to something that isn’t working because you’re afraid to try something new? Just try it and see how the new strategy works. You can always go back to the old way if the new one is worse!




4 responses to “Pictures: To post or not to post — that is the question”

  1. ER Avatar

    If your friend doesn’t want to post her picture then she probably shouldn’t have a profile on a dating site. Or if she does is she ok with receiving emails from male profiles with no pictures?

    What we have inside, as well as what we have outside, defines who we are. I can understand your friend’s desire for her inner beauty to shine through her witty and humorous profile, but all she’s doing is limiting her dating pool, and also increasing the probability that the guy will be disappointed when he finally gets to see her.

    So what starts out as a poly to date with minimal pain, turns out to far more pain in the long run.

    I’d go with DG on this one. Put a picture up for all to see. Not password protected where the guy has to contact you first before you to send the password. I don’t think women understand the trouble this causes men with online dating.

    Do you realise how many profiles there are out there that I read and go “Hmm, yeah…maybe.”, or “Wow, she really seems to ‘get it’. We see things the same way.”?? And so what am I to do? Contact each profile and start building the email exchanges? Only to then see a picture of the person and then determine that she’s outside of my dating range? Then what? Either I do my famous “Now you see me – Now you don’t” disappearing act, or else I have to come up with some elaborate email to say that we aren’t a match. In both cases I’m the loser. I’m the guy who is choosing to call off a potential relationship simply based on looks.

    Whereas if there was a picture on each profile I could gauge more easily if the woman was physically within my dating range. Isn’t it better that someone goes past your profile is they know that you aren’t what they are looking for, rather than causing everyone embarrassment later on?

  2. Gatti Avatar

    I’m with you on this one ER, people find attractive what they find attractive and I want to see a picture first. There’s always that sinking feeling when someone who sounded interesting finally posted a picture and you think…No, I couldn’t… It’s not a nice feeling. Also I like beards and am not a “hairist” (i.e. bald can be OK), so what a man might consider a drawback could be a plus with me.

    Then there’s deciding exactly what photo to post. What are some men thinking?? One guy had sunglasses on in all four of his photos. One hid his face with a hat. The scowls…, my dear! And then there are the out of perspective webcam photos with the big noses. Also I really dislike photos with too much skin, beach shots and, worse, “boudoir” shots. Guys, before I see your chest I want to get used to looking at your face!

    From the men I’ve spoken with the comments have been about 10 year old photos, head shots that hide the fact that the body doesn’t match the “slim” in the profile, and glamour shots that look nothing like the reality.

    My dates have told me (wonderingly at times) that I look just like my photo: friendly, intelligent, approachable and lovely (that last their word). So DG’s friend might reconsider her position.

  3. Elena Avatar

    What happened with your friend on this issue? It’s been six months since you originally blogged about this. Did she change her opinion about posting her photo online and has she been happy with the result?

    Ten years ago people could get away with not posting a photo but these days it is totally inexcusable. No photo raises red flags. For veteran online daters, no photo means that the person is Quasimodo ugly or married. The only legitimate reason I can think of for someone not wanting to post a photo would be a public figure or a very visible person in their community. For example, imagine a politician, school principal or doctor. I imagine people like that, especially if they are female, may be reluctant or uncomfortable posting their photo online because they don’t want anyone in their professional or social circle to know that they are looking for love online. Can you imagine the ridicule a high school principal would face from his or students if someone discovered their photo and profile online? That has got to be tough.

  4. Dating Goddess Avatar


    I guess I need to have lunch with her to catch up! I don’t know what she did. She is beautiful — nearly stunningly so — so her lack of posting a pic isn’t about being Quasimodo ugly.

    I have a dear friend who is a doctor and doesn’t want to post her pic because she doesn’t want her patients to see her online.

    And while I think posting a pic is critical, as I review the 73 guys I’ve gone out with, 5 of them didn’t have pictures posted, although they all provided pictures once requested. And while I would most likely have skipped over them if their pic had been posted, I ended up going out with four of them multiple times.

    So, if their profile and initial emails are compelling enough, the lack of pic isn’t a deal breaker. But it does set off some yellow flags.