In theory, profile pictures should be simple: You pick a couple shots that show off your face, your hobbies, and—let’s be honest—your body.
Yet new research shows we have no idea what the hell we’re doing, especially when a stranger can pick a more flattering picture of ourselves than we can. And if you think that’s surprising, wait until you hear some new stats from a recent report from Hinge.
Researchers studied 1,000 user photos, assigning photo tags (35 in all) to each. They ran the gamut from guys taking selfies to women posing with their hair up. The researchers then ranked the tags to see which type of photos get liked more (and, therefore, who gets more matches) on the app.
Here’s what men should be doing, according to the most-liked pictures:
- Smile without your teeth. You’re 43% more likely to receive a like. (We interpret this as “master the charming smirk.”)
- Look straight ahead. Your odds of getting likes jump a whopping 102%. (No poetic stares into the mid-distance.)
- Stand alone. Your photos get an 11% boost in likes. You also make it easier for her to discern who you actually are.
- Choose a sports photo. Did you play soccer in college or just like pickup basketball on the weekends? If so, make it your profile pic. It’ll enhance your odds of nabbing a like by 45%. (Note: This is not the same thing as a gym selfie in the mirror.)
- Opt for a candid shot. Of all the pics she scrolls through, about 80% will be posed. Candids are more refreshing, and increase your chances of getting a like by 15%.
- Make it black and white. Filters can be tricky. But black and white is classic. Surprisingly enough, they’re also 106% more likely to receive a like.
- Here’s what men should not be doing:
- Selfies. No one gets a thumbs-up for selfies. In general, selfies 40% less likely to get a like. And if you’re posing in front of a toilet in your bathroom? Your odds plummet by 90%. (Editor’s note: Why would you do that? You’re better than a toilet selfie.)
- Ditch the beach photo session. Your six-pack might look killer, but men are 80% less likely to receive a like on their beach photo. Whether she thinks you’re vain or not, save it. Let the six-pack abs be a welcome surprise, y’know, later.
- Tweak your profile. And when the likes start rolling in, use these real-woman-approved conversation starters.