Okay, so you’ve got all these pictures of yourself.
Some are from Facebook, some are from Instagram, some are really old, and some are selfies you’ve taken for the sole purpose of posting on your dating profile. Which one will make the best profile pic?
There’s a super-easy answer to that question, but it’s probably not what you think.
A recent study found that the very worst person to choose a good profile picture is…
You should NOT pick your own profile picture. You cannot see those pictures objectively.
A man on an online dating site is a complete stranger. He knows nothing about you.
So when he sees a picture of you, he forms an immediate impression. Not only does that first impression include how attractive you are, but it also includes character traits like trustworthiness and competence.
But when you look at a picture of yourself, you’re not forming a first impression. You see yourself in the mirror every single day. You already know what kind of a person you are.
So you’re looking at that picture with a lot of preconceived notions about who you are and how you want to be seen. You cannot see it like a stranger would.
The study recommended that you get total strangers to pick your profile picture. They’re better at picking the photo that will make you look more attractive, trustworthy, and likable.
And there are even websites that will help you do it, like Photofeeler.
How much of a difference can choosing the right profile picture make?
A LOT, apparently.
Research has found that how attractive people perceive you to be depends more on the picture you choose than how attractive you actually are.
We underestimate how much different photographic conditions change our appearance. YOU know that it’s your face in all of those photos, but a stranger may not. Different photos can make you look like a completely different person.
A study found that not only can “the same person … look very different in different photographs, [but] photos of the same person often look more different than photos of different people.”
So the stakes for choosing the right profile picture are pretty high. You want a photo that makes an amazing first impression, but, to find out that information, you can’t ask anyone who already knows you…
You’ve got to ask a stranger.