Why You Should Look at Photos LAST

Photos aren't everythingBy Laurel House

This is what you (and most other online daters) are doing WRONG:

You’re scanning the thumbprint online dating pictures of potential matches trying to decide who is worthy of a more in depth examination, clicking their photo and perusing their profile. But before you read their “about me" or even scan their basic stats, you click to see more pics. BIG MISTAKE!

Sure, swipe features on apps like Tinder and the Zoosk Profile Carousel, which adjusts match suggestions according to past swiping patterns can be fun and addicting, but can you really write off a person by just viewing one image?

So what’s wrong with that picture? You completely skipped the essential pre-qualifying steps of reading their basic written information before letting your eyes glass over as you become entranced by their sweet smile, chiseled body, and fun demeanor. Unless, of course, you truly aren’t in this for a relationship and what you’re actually looking for is a good time.

At the end of the day, looks don’t matter when it comes to true love. I know

but you need that initial hit of attraction and that catch of chemistry. And you believe that the best place to see if there’s a spark is in the online dating pictures. But aside from photos there are many more relationship sustaining needs that can be truly and deeply sexy- like, say, how they make you feel, if you’re a priority, your stimulating conversations, and the fact that you feel like your best self when you’re with them. Sure, those things might be more difficult to determine during a 3-second visual scroll of an online dating profile. But you should be able to gather hints of the possibility of those needs being fulfilled if you take a few extra moments to peruse the words they write in the descriptions of their likes, dislikes, favorites, and daily habits.

The best online dating profiles that work include ample, but not over-the-top, written insight, letting you into their life, making you want to join them on the journey. So what makes a good online dating profile? Filled out basics stats, an “about me" section that allows their personality to pop off the page (and not feel generic and canned) including mention of life-changing moments and markers that show just how interesting they are, plus listed favorite books, movies, and hot spots- including a short description as to why it’s a favorite. And remember

be specific.

So why exactly should you look at photos last?

Each element of someone’s character and characteristics should be weighed appropriately. When it comes to lasting love, do looks really rate higher than core values? Or are you too entranced by face to see the glaring red flags? Be honest- what are your long-term relationship partner priorities? Do you need someone who is financially secure, well-traveled, learned, witty, well-educated, leads a healthy lifestyle, has similar religious or political beliefs, wants/doesn’t want/has children, lives nearby? Put your needs in an ordered list. These are your personal dating standards (PDS).

Once you know your PDS, train your eyes to "map" each potential partner's profile in the same order so that you compare each person equally. X them out immediately if they fall short. Your standards will help keep you on track and on-purpose. If your main criteria isn’t fulfilled

delete. Ex: If you have a certain standard of living that you are looking for (ie: money), and he checked the box that says that he doesn’t make much. X him out immediately. Why be so shallow? It’s not shallow, it’s being honest with yourself. Sure, you might know you want a rich guy, but you go on several dates with the poor guy, and after a month, you simply aren’t getting what you want so you have to break it off. But you knew that already

even before you accepted the date. Same goes for the desire to have kids, smoking, career, religion and location proximity. There are certain must-haves and won’t-stands that you have to stick to.

And FINALLY you start looking at their online dating pictures

The photos can be surprisingly revealing if you allow yourself to see more than just their face and body. Your goal is to analyze the photos from a more finely focused perspective- looking at their activities, trying to get a read on their lifestyle, and attempting to glean if they look nice, happy, fun, like a player, intellectual, outgoing, an adventurer, homebody, family oriented, wealthy, low key, outdoorsy, sophisticated, a pet person etc. Before examining their face, look past them, almost removing them from the photo. This way you just might get a visual glimpse of what their life really looks like. What kind of clothes they are wearing, their watch and shoes, the car or a house in the background, their body language, their activity, what’s in their hands, who are they with and what types of people are they?

Many dating sites allow users to display between 4 and 12 photos so that they can really paint a clear picture of their lifestyle and surroundings. Make sure to move past the primary profile photo and peruse all options before making a judgment call.

You’re right, this online dating strategy takes a few extra moments of your time. But wouldn’t you rather “waste" them on the front end while reading their profile and examining their images, as opposed to “wasting" time in real life, meeting face to face and knowing within 5 minutes that this person isn’t a match? But it’s up to you

waste your time, or online date smart and strategically.

Interested in finding out more online dating strategies to increase your chances of success online? Check out my thoughts on how to filter through the hundreds of singles and focus only on the potential dates that best fit you.

Laurel House

About Laurel House

Laurel House is an International Dating Coach and Online Dating Expert, and she has been a featured expert on The TODAY Show, E! News, Good Morning America, Nightline, Glamour, AskMen, and dozens of other print, online, and television outlets, with her dating advice videos receiving over 20 million views on YouTube. Her 5th book "Screwing The Rules: The No-Games Guide to Love” was published in December 2014 with Running Press. Learn more about Laurel.



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