If I had a pound for every conversation with a new client that starts with “I hate having my photo taken“, then I would probably be able to retire tomorrow.

The discomfort is real.

In a world driven by instant photography, where your camera is literally in the palm of your hand on average nearly 5 hours a day (App Annie, 2022), it’s quite unfathomable that so many of us really still hate having our photo taken and the discomfort is blatant in the choices made when you are asked to put together a selection of shots requested by your matchmaker.

A good selection will ideally showcase you, your life, and your hobbies and interests so that you present yourself in the best way you can. The final last step in helping to attract and connect with a new potential suitor, who in reality, is a complete stranger who doesn’t yet know you.

Here are some real-life scenarios that our matchmakers have recently experienced and how they address these:

1. Avoid the mindset that any photo will do

When you make the decision to start to date again, you’ll go through a multitude of thought processes, feelings and emotions. Do I have the time, am I ready, how will I tell my friends and family, etc. For some, low on the priority list is how they will look to the outside world. When you come in with the mindset that your profile photo is not really that important, it unfortunately sends a somewhat negative message to anyone considering dating you.

Matchmaker’s response: “Mindset is key – make good quality photography a priority from the start in your dating journey”

2. Don’t use a cropped-out photo which originally was taken with other people

Low quality photography whereby you’ve cropped yourself out of a previous image sends a message to the viewer that you are not serious about meeting someone, which we of course know is not true. The only thing worse than cropping out friends, family, or coworkers is cropping your ex. This is not something we would show your truly amazing potential future life partner. Why would we do such a crazy thing!?

Matchmaker’s response: “Use clear, full face, smiling images and full body shots of just you in the original photo”

3. Minimise the guesswork by sharing clear photos where you are visible

It’s ever so easy to fall for this one, that fabulous trip away in the Maldives where you were captured frolicking in the sea by your 10 year old. Sure it brings back such wonderful and warm happy memories – which is lovely – however, the lucky guy or gal who you’ve yet to meet, WASN’T THERE! So let’s start afresh and focus on how lovely the new memories could be of your next couple’s (and kids if appropriate) holiday.

Matchmaker’s response: “If you are too close or too far away from the camera, it’s difficult for your potential match to see a true representation of you”

4. Use recent photos for a true representation of who your date will meet

We still struggle with this one on a weekly basis. You looked fab then but you look EVEN BETTER now. Be confident, be authentic, and be proud of who you are today because we sure are and that’s why we are working with you! We recommend using images that were taken no more than 6 months ago. This means ideally updating your shots at least once during your membership, or if you are online dating, at regular intervals.

Matchmaker’s response: “Authenticity is so important in photography and your match wants to get excited about who they are meeting, as I’m sure do you”

5. Refresh your photos as often as you dramatically refresh your look

Similar to the previous point, if you’ve gone grey or chopped off the mohawk, that’s who you are now, and your match wants to know that too. Your images should be representative of what you look like today. Smiling, facing the camera, and imagining you are looking deep into your next lover’s eyes.

Matchmaker’s response: “Drastic changes from photo to reality, only create doubt from the start, which is usually completely avoidable”

6. Don’t worry about your weight, your teeth, your smile, your ears

If you feel unhappy about any aspect of yourself, it’s important to address the problem before you start dating as dating is not going to make it go away – it’s only going to make you feel even worse and feed into the negative stories that you tell yourself (which FYI are generally simply not true).

If it’s something that can be changed, then definitely address it first. If it’s a permanent feature that you struggle to accept, our in-house coaches have a wealth of expertise from wellness to dating to something deeper and helpful to work through the unresolved. Let us help you start your dating journey strong and confident!

Matchmaker’s response: “Worrying about how we look is something we all do, but if it’s really starting to impact how you feel, then speak to one of our coaches to help overcome the fear”

7. Face it. Literally. We really have to see your face, so no hats or sunglasses please

Dressed down casual weekends are great and really do show off our other side to a business suit or dinner party attire. These shots usually involve things like a baseball cap and shades, regardless of the weather. It’s great to see you know how to chill alongside a more serious persona. You can add these as an additional photograph, but only when you have a minimum of 4 good quality clear full-face ones. Please, leave the sombrero at home, ;-)!

Matchmaker’s response: “Attraction begins when the other person can read your face, your eyes and your smile, so try not to hide and avoid any shots where the viewer can’t see who you are”

8. Avoid unphotogenic clothes

You love skiing – we do too along with lots of other activities that come with unflattering outfits. Having shots of you doing sports is great to help create your story if you are an active person and hoping to attract the same. Your salopettes and visor however don’t need to be the main event – you do. This also goes for scruffy, un-ironed outfits or unfortunate footwear that was comfy to go on tour around Europe, but not coming across that great in your initial shots.

Matchmaker’s response: “Consider how well your outfit comes across”

9. Take notice of an unusual background

Is that a tiger you are cuddling? Oh you like hotdogs at the game? Oh you went on a trek with 20 people to Machu Picchu (let’s get the magnifying glass out). Unusual backgrounds are distracting. If you’re unsure about choosing the right backdrop for your images, our in-house photographers have all the talent you need to get it right.

Matchmaker’s response: “Try to have a clear background or a natural setting that doesn’t distract from the main feature, YOU”

10. Everyone needs a good photo

You might think “oh, they should just love me from my profile”. We could not agree more with this statement! However, in the visual world that we live in, attraction often starts with an image, and we know that this is usually wrongly processed in our brain, because the research tells us. Regardless, this is why it is even more important to start well from the beginning – true, authentic, confident and happy within, with a little bit of effort made to present yourself in the best way possible, and whilst also considering how the other person may be thinking and feeling.

At Maclynn we specialise in dating, relationships and sound advice giving. If you are struggling to choose your photos then do speak with your matchmaker, or even book in a session with one of our in-house coaches to talk it through. We work with some phenomenal photographers, stylists, and wellness coaches to support you at the beginning of your dating journey, so get in touch!

Hopefully we can help you change your mind from “I hate having my photo taken” to ‘I love myself in this one!’