How Many Photos Should You Post?

Some people just put one picture up… others believe the more, the merrier. Learn what number will get you the kind of replies you want.

By Kimberly Dawn Neumann

o you've decided it's time to show your face to the dating world! Do you post just your favorite shot from your sister's wedding... or your entire photo album since fifth grade? Do more photos equal more responses? Or vice versa? We decided to examine the pros and cons of three different posting styles. Read what the experts and online daters have to say... then upload appropriately for online success.

Approach #1: Posting one or two photos
Posting just one or two photos is the bare minimum, but for some online daters, that's more than enough. “I think posting just one great shot is all you need as long as you are happy
Posting just one or two photos is the bare minimum.
and relaxed, and the photo looks just like you at your best," says Jacquie, 43. "Two photos can be good for accuracy if the shots show different sides of the person, as in nicely dressed and casual or contemplative and carefree. Anything more than that seems like you're trying too hard to me."

This approach works well with the time-crunched. "Too many photos can be overwhelming [for some people]," says Bev Bacon, author of Meet Me…Don’t Delete Me! Internet Dating: I’ve Made All The Mistakes So You Don't Have To! "Most people don't have time to go through dozens of photos, especially if they're on a dial-up connection! And we all have these itsy-bitsy little attention spans these days."

Sometimes when a profile sports only one or two photos, people think the poster is concealing something. "There are people who'll pass up a profile that doesn't post full-body shots because they assume the person has something to hide," says Bacon.

How to make it work:
If you're most comfortable only posting one or two photos, then make sure they're accurate representations of yourself. "Show a nice face shot and a 3/4-length shot," says Bacon. Bacon warns that whatever size you are in your photo, you should still be wearing that size when you walk through the door. Otherwise, you've entered the realm of deceiving your date. "This is the number one complaint I hear," says Bacon. "It's so much better to start off on the right foot!"

Bottom line, you can get away with posting just one or two photos, but you must keep them updated. "Use recent ones, people! I'm not sure why there are individuals who put up their high school prom photo alongside one where they're bald, but they do! If your photo doesn't look like what you see in your bathroom mirror, don't use it," says Bacon.

Approach #2: Posting three to five photos
Ready to divulge a little more about yourself? Photo displays in this range can encourage individual expression. "Ideally, I like to see three to five photos because you can see quite a bit of personality in that number," says Jennifer, 34. "Fewer photos than that, and you don't get a sense of the person beyond just physical attributes. I like seeing photos of a person in different settings or doing something they love."

With the addition of a couple new photos, you can really amp up your profile. And if the photos support what you've written about yourself (i.e., you mention you like soccer and then show a photo of yourself racing down a field after the ball), it can make you even more intriguing to
Upping your photo count with less-than-stellar pictures may actually lower your probability of getting a response.
potential dates. "The main photo should just be you," says Bacon, "but the others can show you with your pet or you fly-fishing." Just remember not to post any photos that could rub potential matches the wrong way, cautions Bacon—"for instance, if you're a guy, don't post that photo of you surrounded by sexy cheerleader types."

Upping your photo count with less-than-stellar pictures may actually lower your probability of getting a response. "For me, a guy has a better shot if he just sticks to a couple photos," says Joelle, 35. "I've seen some initial photos where I thought the guy was good-looking, but then by the fourth or fifth photo, I've decided he wasn't handsome at all and moved on." She explains that if she hadn't seen the other pictures, she might have started communicating with him and opened the door to dating.

How to make it work:
"Four photos works best in my experience," says Ron Geraci, an online dating consultant in New York City. As a standard, Geraci recommends posting a clear, well-framed, flattering face shot as the primary photo and a full-body shot as the second. Then add a third and fourth photo which reveal something about your life. "Skiing if you're a ski nut, on vacation with your children if you have them, playing with your black lab—though maybe not a pet shot if you have a cat and you're a woman... there's that 'crazy cat lady' stereotype out there," Geraci says. "You want multiple photos to give the reader reassurance that there's truth in advertising here."

Approach #3: Posting more than five photos
For the sake of full disclosure, some online daters choose to post a plethora of pictures. "Personally, I think the more photos, the better," says Molly, 34. "I know you shouldn't only judge based on looks, but I've had many instances where I showed up for a date and it was clear that the photos used were from several years back and more importantly, altered." With more photos, Molly explains, the chance of "dater deception" diminishes.

Getting a little picture-happy shows that you're confident with your appearance, and let's face it... for most people, physical chemistry matters! It can also show that you're very comfortable with who you are. Also, when a person posts many photos, they often provide a portrait of their life and values. For example, if the shots reveal the profilee traveling around the globe or bonding with the kids, you'll come away with a good idea of what makes this individual tick.

Posting every photo in your digital file can smack of an oversize ego to some daters. "The folks that post more than five photos strike me as narcissistic," says Molly. Jennifer adds, "If someone puts up 14 pictures and 12 of them are all really similar, then what's the point? Either show me multiple sides of yourself—or show me fewer photos."

How to make it work:
Geraci considers more than five photos to be overkill, but if you do want to post more, he suggests an offbeat approach for the additional pictures: Shots that don't have you in them. Consider a photo of your favorite piece of art or a memorable vacation destination. "Choose things that someone can comment on when they see your profile. It'll help ease them into what to say in an e-mail response to you"—a great way to jump-start some online communication.

Kimberly Dawn Neumann is a freelance writer and performing artist in New York City.
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