How to take the perfect Tinder photo, according to right-swipe science Science is once again helping you get laid. These Tinder profile photo hacks are scientifically proven to get more right swipes.

Since its launch in 2012, the mobile dating app Tinder has grown to become one of the most popular new platforms to make a personal connection. Its quick setup, easy-to-use interface, and handy ability to find other nearby users have enabled anyone with a smartphone to start making matches within minutes – about 26 million per day. With 50 million users, the shorthand of swiping left (for disinterest in another’s profile) and right (for interest in talking to them further) has entered the cultural lexicon.

Clearly, Tinder plays a significant role in the romantic lives of many people – so what are some of the factors that lead to greater success with other users? We decided to find out. With a sample of 600 profile pictures spread across London, New York City, and Berlin, we surveyed several hundred people to determine which features of a profile picture made them more or less likely to approvingly swipe right. Which background locations are associated with the most appealing profiles? Which facial expressions found the most success? Is there such a thing as an ideal profile image that garners the most approval? The differences we discovered were surprising and fascinating. Keep reading, and find out all the ways your profile pic could be making an even better impression on Tinder.

Right-swipe science summary: the formula for how to take the BEST profile picture

As to what to avoid? Here’s the formula for how to take the WORST profile picture:

So according to the data, this is the best kind of photo that would work for dudes:

If you’re a dude, then you should take a photo of yourself at the beach, with a clear view of just your face, smiling. Maybe throw another in there of you in your bathing suit so they can see those muscles. Never bathroom selfies.

For women, it would be something like this, but in a restaurant and maybe with formal wear:

People swiped right on women more when they were wearing casual or formal wear with full-body, single person shots, restaurant settings .

Methodology for our Tinder study

We collected 600 random Tinder profile pictures, 200 of which were from London, 200 from New York City, and 200 from Berlin. Of each geo-tagged group of 200 pictures, 100 were pictures of women and 100 were pictures of men.

We had 600 Amazon mTurk workers tag each picture based on a rubric that examined the picture’s location, the number of people in the picture, the picture’s area of focus, the subject of the picture’s facial expression, and the subject’s clothing. We then separated these pictures by gender and ran two more surveys on whether respondents would “swipe-right” on the subject’s Tinder profile or message the subject’s Tinder account. To account for the subjectivity of “attractiveness,” we had four mTurkers respond to each picture, and to account for sexual orientation, we limited participants in the women’s survey to those reportedly attracted to women, and participants in the men’s survey to those reportedly attracted to men.

Into the nitty gritty

With the data collected, we were able to get an overall look at the factors that can combine to make a Tinder profile photo more or less successful. Women and men were both most likely to receive a response when they were the only person in the picture and when they made sure to smile and show their teeth. Women got more right swipes and messages when in formal settings, as restaurants were the most successful photo location and formal or casual clothing were the best choices of attire. For women, a full-body photo attracted more responses, but for men, a closer focus on the face was best. At the same time, bathing suits had the highest response rates for men, as did beach or water locations.

There are also certain features that may negatively impact interest in a Tinder user’s profile. Photos without any sort of smile were seen to be the least appealing for both women and men, as were profile pics that included three or more people. Cars were the worst location for women to take a profile photo, while bathrooms were the least successful setting for men. Face-only pictures of women didn’t perform as well, and neither did full-body shots of men. Wearing a bathing suit in a profile photo was associated with reduced response rates for women, while men got the worst results from pictures with formal attire.

So how did these findings break down for men and women across all of these categories? Our in-depth analysis reveals just how strongly each of these features can influence your success when trying to make a match.

Before looking at the specific features present in Tinder profile pics, we made sure to establish a baseline of how many pics in our sample would spark interest in swiping right or sending a message. A right swipe is a positive gesture of approval, and the key mechanism of Tinder: Once two people have swiped right on each other’s profiles, they can start chatting with one another.

For women, 54.3% of profile pics were rated as likely to receive a right swipe – yet only 35.3% of men would receive this positive swipe. Similarly, 48.5% of profile pics from women in our sample were likely to receive an interested message, compared to 31.7% of men’s images. It’s important to consider that this doesn’t necessarily mean that men’s profile pics were more likely to contain features that tended to make them less appealing. Instead, the greater proportion of approving swipes on women’s profiles may simply be a result of men swiping right on Tinder three times as often as women do – a strategy aimed at increasing their chances of making a match.

Location of profile pictures

The profile pics in our study fell into five basic categories of locations: pictures taken in a car, a bathroom, a bar or club, at the beach or by water, or at a restaurant. And while both men and women made use of all these settings, they showed noticeably different patterns when choosing a location for their photo.

Women were most strongly represented among profile pics taken at restaurants: 57.4% of these photos were from women’s profiles. They also held a slight majority of pics taken in bathrooms, with 52.5% from women. However, for beach and water locations, men narrowly edged out women 51.2% to 48.8%. This gap was even greater for photos taken in a car, with 59% of such pics coming from men’s profiles. And pics from bars and clubs were the most closely associated with men, whose profiles made up 63.1% of these images – a ratio of nearly two men for every woman who used a profile photo taken in a bar or club.

Visually, it looks like this:

The setting of a profile pic can make an extraordinary difference in the likelihood of a Tinder user receiving a right swipe or message. Women’s profiles received the highest swipe-right rate, 62%, when their photo was taken at a restaurant, followed by 60.4% for profile photos at a beach or water location. Similarly, women received messages at the highest rate – 59.3% – when their photo was taken at a restaurant, followed by 54.1% for beach and water photos. Notably, while bar and club photos were relatively uncommon for women, these were still associated with a 59.4% rate of swiping right and a 52.4% rate of sending a message – not too far off from the response rates of restaurant and beach settings.

Unlike women, men saw the highest rates of right swipes (44%) and likely messages (38.9%) when their profile photos were taken in beach or water locations. For men, restaurant photos were the runner-up, associated with a 36.9% likelihood of a right swipe and a 33.1% rate of messaging.

As shown in the baseline rates of right swipes and messages, women are clearly more likely to receive both than men overall. But even among women, certain photo locations are associated with a significantly decreased likelihood of receiving a swipe right or message: women’s bathroom photos showed a 37.9% rate of right swipes, while photos taken in cars generated the lowest swipe-right rate at 26.1%. Interestingly, this was reversed for men, whose profile photos taken in a car had a 33.3% rate of swiping right, and bathroom photos had a 27.8% likelihood of a swipe right. Altogether, one trend is clear: Restaurant photos are the safest bet for women, and beach or waterfront profile pics are the most successful for men.

Unlike women, men saw the highest rates of right swipes (44%) and likely messages (38.9%) when their profile photos were taken in beach or water locations. For men, restaurant photos were the runner-up, associated with a 36.9% likelihood of a right swipe and a 33.1% rate of messaging.

As shown in the baseline rates of right swipes and messages, women are clearly more likely to receive both than men overall. But even among women, certain photo locations are associated with a significantly decreased likelihood of receiving a swipe right or message: women’s bathroom photos showed a 37.9% rate of right swipes, while photos taken in cars generated the lowest swipe-right rate at 26.1%. Interestingly, this was reversed for men, whose profile photos taken in a car had a 33.3% rate of swiping right, and bathroom photos had a 27.8% likelihood of a swipe right. Altogether, one trend is clear: Restaurant photos are the safest bet for women, and beach or waterfront profile pics are the most successful for men.

Number of people in profile pictures

Not every Tinder user’s photo shows an exclusive focus on themselves. More women than men use profile photos featuring only one person: 53.4% of photos with one person were from women, while 46.6% were of men. As more people appear in a profile pic, this gap widens. Out of photos with two people, 57.7% were from men, and among pictures with three or more people, 77.8% of these were from men’s profiles.

Across the board, women and men were more likely to receive both right swipes and messages when their profile pics included only themselves. It’s also possible that our survey participants were unsure about which person they were evaluating in images with two or more people, and would be less willing to risk the possibility of making an apparent match on the basis of a mistaken identity. There was some variation in the effects of adding more people to a profile image: Women’s rates of receiving a right swipe dropped from 58.4% to 55.9% when a second person was included in their photo and fell further to only 42.2% when three or more people were present. The impact on rates of receiving a message was even starker, falling from 55.3% for a solo focus to 48.3% with a second person present, and a dismal 25% for photos of three or more people.

Despite being less likely to receive right swipes overall, men’s photos showed a pattern similar to women, with swipe-right rates declining from 37.2% to 35.1% with a second person, and merely 25.1% when three or more were in the photo. Surprisingly, there was a gap of less than one percentage point for the message rates of men with only themselves in their photo (34.4%) versus two people (33.5%). However, the addition of a third person – or more – brought this down to a mere 22.7%. When it comes to generating meaningful interest in your profile and making connections, it seems to be best to keep things clearly focused on yourself.

Focus of profile picture

The framing of a photograph can be just as important to a profile as other factors. We sorted the profile photos studied into two categories: those featuring only the user’s face and those including their full body. Close-up face pictures were relatively balanced across gender, as 49.1% were from men and 50.9% for women. However, full-body shots showed more of a gender gap: 55.1% were of men, and only 45% were of women. As we’ll see, the interaction of gender and the framing of a profile photo can be quite significant.

When looking at the specific figures for response rates, a clearly sex-divergent pattern appears. For women, full-body profile pictures are associated both with higher swipe-right rates than face-only photos (66.4% vs. 58.1%) and greater interest in sending a message as well (60.2% vs. 53%). Yet men’s photos showed the opposite trend: Their face photos received a 38.6% swipe-right rate compared to 30.5% for full-body pictures, and message rates were likewise 34.5% to 24.4% in favor of face-only pictures.

Facial expressions in profile pictures

In addition to the framing and setting of photos, we also took a close look at the facial expressions used in profile pictures, classifying them into three groups: smiles with teeth shown, smiles without teeth shown, and expressions other than smiles. Women make up the majority of profile pictures with smiles, constituting 53.5% of smiles with teeth and 57% of smiles without teeth. However, among photos without smiles, men take the lead with 59.3%.

Facial expressions can make a small but noticeable difference in the response rates to a Tinder profile. Overall, smiles with teeth were associated with the highest swipe-right and message rates for both women and men. Among women’s profiles, swipe-right rates dropped from 60.5% for smiles showing teeth to 56.7% for smiles without teeth and 55.6% for other expressions. The difference was slightly more pronounced for men: Those with profile photos of smiles with teeth had a 40.6% swipe-right rate, followed by 37.7% for closed-mouth smiles and 34.1% for pictures without a smile.

For women, message rates did not significantly vary based on facial expression. 55.3% of their profile pics of smiles with teeth would receive messages, with 53.9% for non-smiling photos and 53% for smiles without teeth. However, for men, this did make a greater difference. A smile with teeth was associated with a 36.1% message rate for men, declining to 33.1% for smiles without teeth and 30.4% for other expressions.

Clothing in profile pictures

Finally, we examined the clothing choices seen in profile pics – a particularly important decision for Tinder users who opt to use a full-body photo. Looking at four general categories of attire, we found that about 50.7% of photos with casual clothing were from women. Similarly, 51.4% of pics with business-casual dress were also from women, while men comprised 53.9% of pics featuring formal wear. The most substantial gender split was seen among photos where the user was wearing a bathing suit or other swimwear: 63.9% of these profile pics were of women, and only 36.1% were of men.

When it comes to the likelihood of getting a right swipe, women and men showed almost completely opposite patterns. At a 62.4% response rate, women found the most success with a pic featuring formal wear, followed by 60.3% for casual dress and 57.5% for business casual. And while women were the most strongly represented among bathing suit photos, this may not be the optimal choice – profile pics including swimwear received a right swipe only 41.7% of the time, a drop of over 20 percentage points from the performance of formal-wear photos.

On the other hand, perhaps more men should be opting to show off their swimwear: These were the most likely to receive a right swipe, at 53.3% for men in bathing suits. This response rate dropped sharply to 40.1% for pics with business-casual dress, 36.9% for casual clothes, and 32.9% for formal wear.

For women, the likelihood of receiving a message follows a different trend from the likelihood of getting a right swipe. Here profiles with casual clothing placed first with a 55.2% response rate, followed by 52.2% for business casual. Unexpectedly, formal wear dropped from first place for positive swipes, all the way to third place for messages at 44.9% – only slightly ahead of bathing suit photos at 43%. Men, however, showed near-identical patterns for both right swipes and messages. Bathing suit photos again pulled away from the pack, being the most likely to attract a message (41.7%) compared to runner-up business casual (34.6%), casual attire (31.7%), and formal wear (28.7%).

Related: 10 red flags that kill your chances with women

PS: Did you know you can encrypt all your online traffic with the highest rated VPN for as little as $2.75/month? Check out NordVPN.

Contributor.

avatar
  Subscribe  
newest oldest
Notify of
trackback

[…] This is vile and gross. Also, there’s a reason why we put the photo related DONTS first and that’s because we’ve actually already done actual science on what works and what doesn’t in our piece How to take the perfect Tinder photo, according to right-swipe science. […]

trackback

[…] Related: How to take the perfect Tinder photo, according to right-swipe science […]