June 4 ,2016486 Views Never judge a book by its cover. That’s what they taught us in school, right? Well, if you want to succeed on online dating sites like Match or Zoosk, I’m afraid you’re going to have to put a shiny new dust jacket on that book, otherwise it’s going to sit on the shelf for a very long time. No, you don’t have to look like Channing Tatum or Scarlett Johansson to achieve online dating success, but you do have to make a serious, concerted effort when it comes to your photo selection. It’s all about separating the eye candy from the poisoned apples. Thankfully, we have some specific trend data that gives us a better understanding of what works and what doesn’t. I wish I could give blanket advice that would work equally for both sexes, but alas, we are different creatures, men and women. There is one rule that does apply to both sexes, however: Your first and primary photo should always be a close-up. We want to immediately see who we’re dealing with, and we can’t do that if you’re standing 50 feet away from the lens and waving at us from beneath the Eiffel Tower. As you’ll notice in the chart above, women receive the most responses when looking right at the camera and giving the flirty face, also known as “making love to the camera.” While women receive far more responses when looking directly into the camera, the opposite is true for men. As the chart illustrates, it is immensely more effective for a man to look off-camera without smiling. My theory is that a straight-forward perspective resembles a yearbook or LinkedIn photo, and there’s definitely nothing sexy about that. Photo #2 – Full Body Shot You need to include at least one image with a full-body perspective. No, that doesn’t mean you need to take your clothes off (please don’t); it just means that we need to see you clearly from head to toe. If everything below the shoulders is a mystery, we can’t help but assume the worst. When you add a full-body shot, make sure that it tells a story. If it’s just you standing against a white wall, it’s probably a pretty boring photo. You want to pique people’s interest and inspire them to reach out and learn more about you, and you’re not going to do that if you pose like a lifeless mannequin against a generic background. Photo #3 – Be Involved in an Activity You Enjoy For your third photo, you’ll want to actively showcase your hobbies and interests. What do you like to do? Whether your favorite activities include dancing, cliff diving, hiking, or playing the drums, you can generate interest among potential dates simply by demonstrating your passions. Photo #4 – Social Proof Do people like you? Do you have friends? These are not trivial questions. If you’re standing alone in all of your photographs, people may wonder if you’re the Unabomber or a crazy cat lady. You know that’s not true, but perception is everything at this stage of the interaction. The photos that you include—or fail to include—can send subtle, inadvertent, and even misleading messages about who you are, so make sure to fully represent your best self. Oh, and one more thing: When selecting a photo to highlight your social prowess, don’t use any images in which your super-hot friend is present. Trust me on this.