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The Dos and Don’ts of Dating App Profile Pictures

Not sure which dating app profile pictures to use—or if you should even include any at all? These tips will help you stand out from the crowd.
Editorial team
September 1, 2023
June 20, 2024
min. read
Table of Contents

Creating a  profile with no pictures is a little like trying to fish with bare hands. You might catch that firm, wet body you’re after, but only if your focus, timing, and grip game are on point.

Your odds of securing a catch will skyrocket when you put some bait on the hook. With an assortment of pics and an equally appetizing bio, whole schools of fish will be swimming up your stream before you even know it.

Tips for creating a tap-worthy profile

Ready to hook some hotties? We’ve put together a list of best practices to help you out.

1. More is... more!

If you only have one or two pictures worth sharing, start there. But if you’ve got it? Flaunt it. Upload as many pics as your online dating site of choice allows. Grindr lets you add up to five profile photos, just enough to show the different sides of your personality (and body) without going overboard.

2. Show some skin (but not too much)

Speaking of bodies, we’re as into sexy selfies, self-pleasure, and erotic movies as the next guy. But those pesky app stores have rules about what qualifies as pornographic content, and it’s impossible to get consent from every user who scrolls past your photos on their grid.

Does that mean you can’t share your favorite shots from gray sweatpants season? Please—we’re not monsters. You can even show off your bare ass in your Grindr profile pic (within reason).

We can’t speak for other dating apps, but as long as there’s no explicit nudity and you answer yes to no more than one of the following questions, Grindr moderators will likely give your pics their stamp of approval:

  • Is your pose sexually suggestive?
  • Is the image in a private, intimate, or sexual setting?
  • Is there more than one person in the image or props that need to be considered?
  • Is there a focus on genitals, even if clothed?

3. Retire the RBF

Are you looking for a good time? Or a date to your great-aunt’s funeral? You might be able to find both on a dating app, but assuming you’re hoping to have some FUN... try not to look completely miserable. That doesn’t mean you have to be smiling in every dating app picture—serious can be totally sexy! Smiles are hot, and they make you look approachable. But if you’re dead set against offering up even a subtle smirk, the least you can do is watch some reruns of ANTM and learn how to smize.

4. Make sure you’re the star of the show

It’s OK to include a picture with some friends. And it makes sense for two partners looking for the third piece of their throuple pie to post photos together. But if you’re flying solo, be sure to include pictures of you on your own so viewers know who you are. Nothing kills an ego boner faster than learning that the hottie you’re chatting with thought they’d been talking to your friend the entire time.


5. Be genuine

You want to find a catch, and so do the people you chat with. But there’s one aquatic creature no one in their right mind wants to hook: a catfish. Go easy on the filters, and include at least one full-body shot. Make sure you’re not wearing sunglasses and a hat in every photo so people don’t think you have something to hide. The right person will find the real you attractive, so don’t go full Facetune fantasy and make your selfies look like you’re someone you’re not.

6. Show some personality

There’s not much space to describe yourself in a dating app bio, but the best profile pictures can fill in the blanks. Why post the same old shirtless bathroom selfie when you could look hot and selfless framing a wall with Habitat for Humanity? Why show another (trust, we don't need more than one) post-gym mirror pic when you could show how brave and well-traveled you are with a candid shot of you crossing a suspension bridge in the rainforest? Sure, sex sells. But you can deliver it in a way that still gives viewers a taste of who you are (and leaves them wanting more).

Profile picture dos and don’ts

You don’t need to hire a professional photographer for your dating profile pics. For most people, a mix of selfies and candid shots from your friends will do. But before you start snapping pics, consider these tips:

  • DO strike sincere, engaging poses that reflect your personality.
  • DON'T pose like you're in a perfume ad. Drama is good; overacting is tragic! (Ignore this advice if you're an actual perfume model)
  • DO include pictures where you're dressed to the nines. Suit up and show off that drip hunny!
  • DON'T make yourself look like a professionally styled model in every pic unless you want people to think you’re a bot.
  • DO a (literal) background check to ensure your surroundings enhance your good looks instead of distracting from them.
  • DON’T pose in front of a mound of dirty laundry or a raised toilet seat.
  • DO show off your athleticism with hiking, skiing, or running pics.
  • DON’T out yourself as that guy by only sharing thirsty gym selfies.
  • DO give them a peek at your social side with a picture of you with friends at a nice restaurant or another tasteful spot.
  • DON’T give off frat-boy vibes with a pic of you doing keg stands.
  • DO share a headshot with a flirtatious twinkle in your eye.
  • DON’T stick your tongue out or give duck lips. This is the real world, not Jersey Shore.

Perfect your online dating skills

Need more ideas for your profile pic? With more than 10 million monthly active users, Grindr is a great place to turn for inspiration. Get the Grindr app or browse the best dating profile examples hands-free with Grindr Web.

After you're done fishing for a rendezvous, explore the Grindr Blog for first-date question ideas, outfit inspo from our favorite queer clothing brands, and all the info about the different types of kinks and sexualities you need.

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