18 Photos To Delete From Your Online Dating Profile Immediately

Since initiating myself into the world of online dating a year and a half ago, I’ve realized that you can’t discuss online dating without mentioning the photos. Oh, the photos. Despite countless articles about how to create a decent online profile (written by well intentioned writers like myself), I’ve noticed that guys continue to post the same hilariously terrible photos again and again. From the endless stream of shirtless selfies to photos that scream out “serial killer!”, it seems like a lot of men out there are still confused as to what kind of photos to include in their profile.

FYI. I am aware that women post ridiculous stuff online too. However, since I’m a woman who dates men I can’t really speak to what the ladies are up to without doing extensive research. If anyone would like to help me with this, let me know.

Because I’m here to help,  Joe the Intern and I have put together a list of 18 photos that should be deleted from your online dating profile immediately.

I’m all for “action shots” in online dating profiles. Whether you love hiking, camping, fishing, playing music, salsa dancing, scotch tasting, travelling to exotic locations or all of the above – photos of you enjoying your interests are a great way to show people who you are and what you’re passionate about. With that said, these photos must make sense. I once saw an online dating profile where the dude’s only photo was a blurry shot of him frying sausages in a dingy kitchen. All I could think was, “WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN?” That photo of you awkwardly nuzzling a snowman, riding a giant silver chicken or petting a hedgehog while you stare into the camera at a super awkward angle does not belong on your online dating profile.

The truth is, awkwardness is contagious. I don’t care how awesome that chicken ride was. If we can tell you feel awkward in the photo, we feel awkward too.


It’s not 2004 and you are not a 16-year old girl. There is absolutely no reason to have a photo of your face making sweet, mysterious love to a bathroom mirror. I don’t care how “soulful” you think your eyes look. DELETE. DELETE. DELETE!

This is a photo I see all. the. time. Am I supposed to be turned on by the fact that you’re surrounded by a bunch of random lady friends that it looks like you picked up at Margarita Monday? Because, I could just walk over to the local Chilis and meet those ladies myself.

Seriously though, I know you think showing photos of you with scantily clad women will make you look more desirable, but you’re just shooting yourself in the foot. Yes, we’re all adults with romantic pasts. However, until we’ve gotten to know each other I prefer to imagine you as untainted and like the kind of guy who would never even consider doing body shots off a hot blonde at Señor Frog’s (and if you did, would have the common sense to keep it to yourself. After all, what happens at Señor Frog’s, stays at Señor Frog’s.) It’s called romance. Please don’t kill it.

As someone who has been flashed in public more times than I’d like to admit, there’s something very unsettling about seeing a strange man with his pants undone, or in his underwear…and yet, people seem to think that it’s totally OK to post these kinds of photos on their online profiles. Yes, Creepy Single Dad I’m looking at you. I have a rule: “Don’t post anything online that you wouldn’t do or say in person.” If you wouldn’t walk into a Starbucks without pants on, you certainly shouldn’t be pantless in your online profile. Just like the morning coffee crowd isn’t interested in seeing your ample treasure trail, neither is the general online dating population. Put some pants on, bro.

These photos usually come with a caption like, “Just hanging with my friends” when really they should say, “I’m the one in the background looking dejected and giving you the crazy eyes.” There’s nothing wrong with including a few photos taken with friends. After all, it shows that you are a fun person with a social life. Just make sure that in the photos you actually look like you’re being sociable and having fun. No one likes a lurker. Choose photos where you’re upfront and centre, and for the love of jeebus, smile. 

One of the perils of living and dating on the West Coast is that you encounter a lot of photos of guys in wetsuits or scuba gear. That’s cool that you’re into aquatic activities, however just make sure you include some photos that show what you look like when you’re not in all your gear. However, more often than not I see profiles chock full of photos like the ones above with a tagline like, “This is me.” Well, that totally clears things up! (Not)

I’m always suspicious of anyone who has photos where their ex is noticeably cropped out, or worse, blurred out. Looking at your dating profile shouldn’t make me feel like I’m watching an episode of COPS. Also, If your most recent photo is from that time you took your ex to your cousin Artie’s wedding in ’98, it’s time for some new photos.

Once upon a time you looked like John Travolta from Saturday Night Fever and now you look like John Locke from Lost. Ain’t no shame in that game! However, what is shameful is posting super old photos in an attempt to get more dates. It’s a disservice to yourself because when we meet you in person, trust me…WE’LL BE ABLE TO TELL. However you look – own it. It’s way sexier.

No good can come of the  shirtless bathroom mirror selfie, yet like a bad case of bedbugs, it just won’t go away. This leads me to a very scary conclusion: some women must actually respond to them. It also makes me wonder what it would be like to go on a date with a guy who thinks taking a photo of himself in a cloudy mirror is a good idea. What exactly would this date entail? A trip to the local dog-fighting ring? Drinks at the Cactus Club followed by having sex while a UFC game played in the background? Am I just unfairly stereotyping these guys and most of them really just want to cuddle and discuss Proust by candlelight? My perverse journalistic curiosity almost makes me want to find out. Almost.

So, you’ve managed to graduate from the mirror selfie and take some solo photos – that’s great! However, what’s not so great is that you forgot to conceal the fact that you live in the human equivalent of a hamster cage. Pay attention to what’s in the background of your photos. If it looks like Axl Rose has been partying in your living room for the past 3 days, take a few minutes to straighten up. Pick up those old pizza boxes and empty beer bottles before you take a photo.

Once I stumbled across an online dating photo where the a guy and his “buddy” were both dressed in skirts pretending to hump each each other. Yes people,  this is what I’m working with. If you want to have sex with your bros – that’s great – all the more power to you. However, if you’re interested in dating women like your profile says, you might want to lay off the potentially confusing photos. As I mentioned above, there’s nothing wrong with including photos of you and your buddies, however the photos shouldn’t beg more questions than they answer. I also shouldn’t get the impression that you’d rather be dating each other.

I think it’s great that you’re a proud Dad of three, however photos of your kids shouldn’t be included in your online dating profile. The internet is a creepy place and kids have no place in the grown-up world of online dating, so leave them out of it. And no, that doesn’t mean you just need to blur out the faces of your kids/baby mama in the photos you do have.

If your kids are old enough to be left with a sitter while you take me out for a beer, those little brats are old enough to hold a camera and take some decent photos of their Dad where they aren’t prominently featured. Totally kidding. But seriously, internet safety concerns aside, if you’re serious about dating and possibly meeting someone, a few decent solo photos of yourself sans offspring will definitely help you put your best foot forward.

There are so many times when I stumble across a photo and think “I don’t know what’s going on here, but it’s definitely creepy.” The line between “quirky and original” and “creepy and totally awkward” is a fine one, my friends. If you get the urge to post a photo of yourself staring longingly at a washing machine, or of that time you filmed your friend in the shower for a “school project” – just don’t. Whether it’s a photo of a bunch of hot dogs or evidence that you once hacked a fridge to bits with a pick axe, when it comes to online dating, no good can come of this kind of photography.

Ah, the vague, anonymous group shot. These are usually presented alone and accompanied with a caption like, “I’m the one with the brown hair and the smile.” Thanks, that’s really helpful! Usually I’ll spend about 10 seconds trying to decipher who I am supposed to be looking at before giving up and moving on to the next profile. Note, if the only photo you have of yourself also includes 38 other people, it’s time to get some new photos.

To prove that these kinds of photos really exist, here’s one that I found the other day. This was the person’s ONLY PHOTO and there was no caption. I’m not sure which of these people are interested in dating me, but I’m going to guess the disco ball or the man in dressed all in black hanging out by the curtains.

I don’t care how long it took you to grow that moustache or how awesome your bearskin rug is (although, it’s more likely that you’re laying on a fuzzy blanket adorned with the image of a roaring tiger or the Canucks logo) the only person who is able to pull off the Burt Reynolds is Burt Reynolds himself….and guess what? He doesn’t need an online dating profile because he’s BURT FREAKING REYNOLDS. Do not attempt this one at home kiddies.

The other night I was out for drinks with a fellow single friend. When the conversation turned to the topic of online dating photos, my friend said to me, “What’s the deal with guys who just take photos of their body parts?!” No, seriously – what is up with that? I don’t care if you can GTL with the best of them, if the majority of your photos are of your muscles or worse, a close up of your junk – that’s a problem.The worst ones are the photos where even the guy looks uncomfortable, kind of like he’s tragically resigned to his fate, “Yep, this is me….a piece of meat.” Guys, we don’t want you to just see us as a sum of our various body parts. Don’t force us to do the same to you. You’re better than this. We all are. Now put some clothes on.

Oh hi, I almost didn’t see you there, giving me the crazy eyes like you to take me home and turn my skin into a really nice handbag. When it comes to online dating, the difference between looking like a normal human being and a serial killer often just comes down to a smile. If you’re not smiling in any of your photos, I’m going to assume that you’re a) not very happy b) a potential serial killer or c) both. Same goes if all of your photos feature you holding some kind of weapon. Women want to feel safe and comfortable with the person they’re dating. So, put away your guns, tone down the crazy eyes and smile like a normal person. Thanks, that’s better!

If you have anything that looks like this photo in your online dating profile, it needs to go. In case you didn’t get the memo, it’s no longer 1998 and you are not starring in your very own Jodeci video. Turn off the R.Kelly album that’s playing in the background, take off those wraparound Oakleys and for pete’s sake, do up your shirt. Trust me, it’s for your own good.

Do any of these photos look familiar? 

Thanks to the help of Joe the Intern, this post wasn’t tested on humans. However, I can’t take credit for these amazing photos of Joe’s “friends”. Most photos were found via Google + Flickr (links: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here & here)


  • Pawlo Seas

    I was really hoping you have found these photos in actual online dating sites. You know, there should be an app similar to bitstrip, but with do… action figures… Iternfier? Joefier?

  • Abby

    DYING laughing, even though it’s 6:30 am. It’s amazing to me that guys have no idea what repulses us. Also, they seem to want 25 photos of us, but it’s cool if their only picture is them on a bike with a bike helmet in spandex. The kids thing is tricky… I don’t mind ONE pic, MAYBE. But when it says you have kids, and then you talk about the kids, and then you show a picture of your kids, it’s like. Ok, I get it. You don’t have time to date. Because that’s what you’re trying to tell me, right?

  • Bravo! and wow..im soooo impressed with your giJoe skillz/collection! :
    also..just forwarded this to my little brother 🙂 xoxo

  • Divorced Kat

    All bathroom selfies are troubling. Are there no pictures on Facebook that you could repurpose? Do you have no friends? Or are you one of those weirdos who takes selfies all the time, just for fun? Both are bad news!

  • ShoeTease

    Oh my goodness, haven’t we seen them all? Selfies in profile pictures (online dating or otherwise ) are generally troubling (no friends to take your photo?!) but all in all, the bathroom or half-naked ones should go into the trash. ASAP! 1 picture with a kid can actually be cute & heartwarming. But max one, please.

    Absolutely hilarious read. Made my Saturday!!

  • Ris

    This list is great! You are missing one pic though, the Car Selfie. Taken while parked or at a stoplight, it usually has a seat belt strap, but not always. I don’t know if guys want us to know they have a car, or they think the lighting is great or what, but it is a super lame awkward photo.

  • Cogent Infinitude

    Saw your article on Business Insider and it was hilarious! West coast Canada and west coast California share the same face obscuring sports photos. Or better yet the one photo where they are sooooooo far away you can’t see any facial features.

  • I write online dating profiles for a living and, as a result, I tend to scour online dating profiles for blog feeder…um…okay that’s not actually true. I scour them because some of them are hilarious. I actually saw a man’s bathroom selfie where, in the background, I saw a bra hanging from the door knob (so many possibilities, so many reasons not to want to know!). Thanks for the fun article!

    • skinny_dip

      That’s a really interesting job! Would love to hear more about it…

      & you’re welcome! So glad you enjoyed the piece!

  • CLE Chick

    One more to add to your list…what is with all the photos of guys holding fish they caught??? Do they want us to know that they can bring home dinner? Hunting photos would fall under this too, however, the photos of guys with fish is WAY more common…at least in Cleveland. 😉

  • Pam Clark

    OMG you are AMAZINGLY funny!!!
    I have one, the guy who takes pictures while holding wads of money, or pictures of money and a gun lying on the table bed etc. I can’t say how many times I’ve seen those, what made it funny was a few times they were hoping a wad of one dollar bills. I have one more to add, it’s not a pic but a pet peeve, if I see one more profile of a guy saying he’s a rapper or thr CEO of his own company LOL

  • Scarlett Wonderland

    Hahahaha I love this!! So funny! xxx

  • Christina

    Where did you get those dolls? They’re awesome!

  • eze60

    You should do one from a guy’s perspective as well. 90 percent of the female photos I’ve seen at the most popular dating sites and apps show that the women are completely oblivious to the immediate impressions that most guys are seeking. Though I do understand the idea of bypassing sex appeal to show who one really is, men mostly do respond to that at first glance. Men generally do not look for a nice personality or one’s funny and down to earth tendencies in photos; they usually, look for sex appeal first and hope that the woman has enough of the other character attributes.
    While I did find your list funny and mostly accurate, there should be a little balance as women screw this up about as much as guys do. I think both men and women tend to communicate what they think is attractive as though they were appealing to the same sex in general. There lies the root of the problem.

    • skinny_dip

      I fully agree – there definitely needs to be an article that’s focused on what women are doing wrong. However, since I’m a woman who primarily dates men, I’m not an expert on the subject. Thanks for your comment!

    • Would you mind sharing some of your insights? I’d love to hear what mistakes you’ve found women doing and what suggestions you have. Also, what’s sex appeal versus too much? I know I’m throwing a lot of questions at you, but it’s just that you make a good point. Thanks!

      • eze60

        Sure kate, I’d be happy to.

        In general, even the nicest and most sensitive guy bluntly wants to see a raw element of sex appeal that shows not just beautiful or cute portraits. We are plainly physical and superficial creatures who respond at first glance mostly to visual stimulus. I believe a majority of guys are attracted to facial features; but if there isn’t at least two full body images to confirm that a woman represents a man’s specific physical type, he may be skeptical in suspecting that the woman is hiding something about her physique that would not attract him.

        The majority of the images I’ve seen when surfing some of the more prominent dating websites tend to focus on what i’ve interpreted and as often to be a woman’s careless perception of herself.

        I have seen: selfies with poor lighting, casual photos with dark glasses, group photos where I cannot distinguish who amongst the girlfriends is the featured person of interest, the ones with the boyfriend/date/male-buddy either fully in the photo or cut with the man’s arm still around her, the ones with a woman surrounded by multiple men, the one with a snapshot at a bar with a cocktail in hand apparently after more than 1 or 2 drinks, the ones with all face portraits, the ones with mostly hair and little features to discern, the ones where every photos have the woman completely insulated in a hats, coats or overall dresses, the artistic photos where you simply cannot tell who is represented in the image, upside down angles, photos that are at least 5+ years old, over and underexposed photos, bad selfies in general.

        There is still room for a variety of ways to present one’s sex-appeal. Each man has his own individual nuance about what that can be. Though I believe that these nuances are all elemental to showing physical and superficial features as first impression goes.

        Whatever the style may be, I would personally want to see portraits as well as full body photos that clearly identify a sense of the woman’s proportion. How provocative the chosen photos are may reflect what type of man or relationship the woman is seeking. But then again, judgement can be held until the physical meeting of the two people involved because no matter how much we interpret from a photo, a bigger picture is never complete until the meeting.
        Nonetheless, some degree of full feature sex appeal has to be projected.
        I would definitely want a photo story that tells me at first that the interaction is about her and myself alone. So the photo presentation does not have clothing that insulate the woman from being seen, former boyfriends and lovers, groups of girlfriends, and male buddies as a first impression type visual contract.

        I’d prefer to be introduced later to the friends if a true connection is eventually established. But to have the photos of others suggests that the woman may be rather carelessly self-absorbed and doesn’t really care about what story is being communicated to the man at first glance. If the woman is really serious, unless she has current fitting photos that are two years old or less, she would make an effort to get someone to photograph her specifically for the occasion. The photo session does not have to be professional model like shots similar to some of the Russian Bride websites. But it should show that she’s not just casually winging it without real efforts. I think much of this also stands with the guys appealing to women.

        That is my general view. I hope that it sheds some light on the or a male’s perspective on the subject.

  • camera dude

    Missing bad picture descriptions, that are always done for a reason.
    The Beach Ball – All photos taken from the chin up. (no body)
    The Competition? – A photo that contains the unexplained presence of someone who could be perceived as competition. Is this your ex? Is this the expected attractiveness of your partner? Are you trying to show that you once had someone? Stupid
    Dark and Grainy – Is that your nose or eye?
    Photoshopper – Enhanced and smoothed out pictures. Teeth that are unnaturally white. Faces that look like paintings. The person doing this is deceptive and a waste of time.
    Time Traveler – The first picture is clear and shows an attractive, fit person. The attractiveness in the picture depreciates with each photo. The picture at the end of the stack shows a potential present day shot. The problem is, that picture is old too.
    Tiny Person, Big World The picture is taken from such a distance that it’s impossible to make out any details.
    Never a Smile – Missing Teeth? Meth Mouth? Rotted teeth? Unhappy all the time?
    Wall Photo – A picture taken from a framed photo. If you need to reach that far back for a decent shot, deception is imminent.