Let’s be honest, here. As much as I want to know your life story (and I do… eventually), the first thing I’m going to look at on your online dating profile is your pictures. (Notice that I said pictures. Plural. We’ll come back to that later.)

Most online daters are looking to answer to questions about you when they look at your profile: 1. Are they attractive? and 2: Are they interesting?

Of course, people find lots of different things attractive and interesting, but if a person hasn’t answered “yes” or “maybe” to at least one of these questions within the first 30 seconds of looking at your profile, they’re going to move on. If they do find you either interesting or attractive or both, based on your pictures, then they will read your profile and find out that you are also witty, charming, stable, fascinating, etc. But if you don’t tell your story in pictures first, potential dates will never find out how awesome you actually are.

If you only have one picture, even if it’s a GREAT picture, potential dates are likely to think things like,“Yeah, but how do I know if they’re really that good looking?” or, subliminally, “How do I know they’re a real person?”

Telling your story in pictures means putting yourself in context. A person ought to be able to tell A) What you actually look like and B) something about what you value in life before they read a word of your profile. You should be able to do this in 3-6 pictures. Relax. It’s easier than you think — I’ll show you.

(For simplicity’s sake — and to prove that I practice what I preach — I used my own HowHookup pics as examples.)

1. A Recent, Reasonably Good-Looking, Clear Picture of Your Face

If you don’t have one, just use Hipstamatic on your (or your more tech-savvy friend’s) iPhone. It’s a free app and it makes everyone looks really good.

2. Another Reasonably Good-Looking Picture of Your Face That’s Perhaps a Bit More Interesting

Here’s one of me. Listening to music. In a kimono. Don’t you feel like you know me better already?

3. Look! I Have Interests!

See? I play the guitar! Or at least hold a guitar sometimes. And I like to laugh! Probably not at myself and I obviously didn’t take this picture myself. That means I must have friends.

And so on. The point is, put up at least one picture of you doing something you enjoy whether it’s traveling, painting, hiking, cooking, spending time with you family, or bow hunting.

You could easily stop at three pictures, but, really, why stop now when there’s so much more to say!

4-6. Look! I Have Other Interests, Too!

See? I also like to play cards. And drink seltzer. I’m a well rounded person with multiple interests JUST LIKE YOU.

What am I doing here? Officiating a wedding or something? Maybe you should ask me about that now that I’ve piqued your curiosity and given you something to message me about.

And what’s going on HERE? Are those tights? Not telling. And yes.

As illustrated above, if you’re careful with your picture selection, you’ll find that you really don’t have to say much in your profile at all. Just cover the basics and save the rest for the first date. Have fun!

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