How to get the Best Online Dating Photos

Let’s create your best online dating photos

You want modern online dating photos that present the best version of your true self. Not stuffy or formal, but much better than a selfie.

This is an image of J who wanted online dating photos. She standing with the sun behind her and wearing a sporty wide-brimmed ivory-colored hat. She has on blue jean shorts, a smocked light blue gingham top, and a light blue sweater with delicate eyelets.There is a willow tree behind her and the leaves provide a nice backdrop. The sun is coming from the right and is casting a soft golden light on her shoulders and hat. She's smiling at the camera. The photo shows her from the bottom of her shorts to above her head. She's holding the brim of her hat with both hands and smiles flirtatiously at the camera. Her hair is golden blond and styled in soft waves. This is the perfect example of a photo for an online dating site because it shows her body and face clearly and she looks friendly and approachable. Image created by Rebecca Little Photography in Pasadena, CA.
(Above) Online dating photos for J in Pasadena, created by Rebecca Little Photography.

I can create a range of fun dating photos for you that will be perfect for your online profile. 

My collection of dating photos varies with each client. We’ll discuss what kind of outfits you want to wear and how you want to come across in your dating profile.

All these images were taken during one session that lasted less than 90 minutes.

And these were all taken at my studio – no travel involved!

This is an informal fun and modern headshot created for an online dating site. J is wearing a bright red button-down sweater. She has a big smile on her face and her face is slightly turned to the right. Her eyes are gazing at the camera. Her hair i past her shoulders and is golden blond and styled in relaxed waves. Her skin is pale and she's wearing a pale lip color and brown eyeshadow. Her hair is gently blowing away from her face. The image is happy, confident, and approachable. This is a great headshot for a dating site because it's not too formal, but shows her face and hair clearly. You want your online dating photos to be well-lit and high-resolution. Image created by Rebecca Little Photography in Pasadena, CA.
(Above) Online dating photos for J in Pasadena, created by Rebecca Little Photography

Your online dating photos are customized for you

A starting collection of online dating photos would include something like the following:

  • A traditional headshot – but not stuffy or too corporate
  • a casual outdoor headshot from chest to the top of your head
  • a body shot from top of head to mid-thigh
  • a body shot from midriff to top of head
  • an image that shows one of your interests or something about your personality

I create a series of each of the photos above and then you choose your favorites.

You’ll be fully prepared before your session

We’ll sit down together and go over outfits, hair and makeup preferences, what kind of photos you want, and so much more!

J is a young woman in her early 20's. She's wearing an oversize dark blue sweater and a L.A. Dodgers blue ball cap. Her hair is blond and wavy and reaches past her shoulders. Here eyes are bright blue. She's wearing a pale pink lip color and minimal eye makeup, just a bit of brown shadow and mascara. She's smiling at the camera and is holding the brim of her cap with one hand. She looks friendly. Image created by Rebecca Little Photography in Pasadena, CA.
(Above) An online dating photo for J featuring her Dodgers cap. Image created by Rebecca Little Photography in Pasadena, CA.

Email me to schedule your session

Use the contact form or email me directly at

My studio is in Pasadena, CA and I accept QuickPay with Zelle, credit and debit cards, cash, and check.

Guided posing

During the session, I’ll guide you through posing, so you don’t have to worry how to stand or what to do with your hands or whether you should smile or look serious.

No travel involved

Because I have outdoor locations at my studio, we don’t have to bother with traveling to locations. (But we can if you want)

My studio has an assortment of backdrops and professional lighting equipment. There’s a changing room to hang your clothes so we can sort through and choose the best outfits to portray the image you want.

Bringing an assortment of outfits for your dating photos is the best way to create a variety of looks.

We’ll cover all of this during your Design Consultation.

This is a photo of J, a woman in her early 20's. She's wearing a green gingham top with spaghetti straps. She is slim and her blond hair is in soft waves past her shoulders. Her eyes are a striking blue. Her brows are brown and groomed nicely to frame her eyes.  The lighting is coming from above right. The lighting is painterly and diffused. She's looking directly at the camera with just a wee smile. Her expression is pleasant and confident. Her back elbow is on her back leg and her hand is on her neck, partially obscured by her hair. Image created by Rebecca Little Photography in Pasadena, CA.
(Above) An online dating photo for J created by Rebecca Little Photography in Pasadena, CA.

Professional hair and makeup stylists available

It’s always nice to have professionals do your hair and makeup. No worrying about having a bad hair day or getting your winged eyeliner just right.

If you only choose one service, choose to get your hair styled. Hair is more important than makeup for creating a polished look. My stylist can give you an excellent blowout or create soft, natural waves. She has all the products, styling tools, and experience to create the look you want for your online dating photos.

Doesn’t her hair look amazing?

My hair stylist was responsible for creating these gorgeous soft waves.

This is an image of a young women in her early 20's taken outdoors. There is greenery behind her and the sun is coming form the right and shining on her golden blond hair. Her hair is golden in the light and styled in soft waves. She's wearing a smocked baby blue top with a baby blue sweater over it. The sweater is dotted with eyelets and is open in the front. Her gaze is direct and she is unsmiling. Her lips are pink. This online dating photo was created by Rebecca Little Photography in Pasadena, CA.
(Above) Online dating photos for J created by Rebecca Little Photography. My hairstylist created these beautiful soft waves for her.

Authentic online dating photos

If you don’t usually wear makeup, that’s fine too. Don’t feel like you have to be dolled up to have flattering online dating photos. The aim is to capture the authentic you and attract the kind of person you want to meet.  

Have a nice variety of photos

There are several ways to ensure your dating photos don’t look like they were taken at the same time. The easiest way to do this is by tailoring the lighting to each setup, changing the background, wearing different outfits, changing your hairstyle, and changing your lip color. 

Changing your hairstyle can be as easy as putting it in a ponytail or putting it behind your ears, or adding a headband or hair clip.

This is an online dating photo created for J, a young woman in her early 20's. She standing among the green leaves of a willow tree. Her blond hair is in two ponytails. The ponytails are on either side and up high and she has bangs sweeping across her eye. She is facing to the left and her face is turned three-quarters to the left. Her blue eyes are looking straight into the camera. Her skin is pale. She's wearing a light pink smocked top and a light pink open-front sweater. Her lip color is bright pink. Image created by Rebecca Little Photography in Pasadena, CA.
(Above) An online dating photo for J created by Rebecca Little Photography in Pasadena, CA.

What to wear for online dating photos

The most important thing is to wear clothes you love and that fit well.

We’ll talk about all the details before your session

We’ll discuss it all beforehand so you’ll know exactly what to do to have the best online dating photos possible.

What colors should I wear?

It’s nice to have a pop of color in your photos. Psychology Today says that wearing red can attract people. Red reminds of us romance and true love, and it’s a color that denotes energy and confidence. But only wear red if you love it and feel good in it. It’s better to feel confident and comfortable in your favorite outfits.

(Above) An online dating photo for J created by Rebecca Little Photography in Pasadena, CA.

Some DOs and DON’Ts

  • Don’t wear sunglasses. 
  • Hats can be cute, but only if you have other photos that show your face and hair.
  • It’s nice to have a casual photo of you at a restaurant or out and about, but get a friend to take your photo. The angle of selfies is not great and it’s hard to get the distance required to reduce the distortion of the phone lens.
  • You should have closeups as well as full body shots
  • Photos should be well-lit and not blurry or grainy
  • Don’t have your photos overly retouched.

About retouching for online dating photos

The level of retouching you want is up to you, but it’s important that your photos reflect the real you. For online dating photos, I usually remove blemishes and fly away hair, and lessen redness and blotchiness.

To read more about retouching and see examples, click here

(Above) An online dating photo created by Rebecca Little Photography in Pasadena, CA.

Best coffeeshops for a first date in/near Pasadena

Grabbing coffee is a low-stakes way to meet someone for the first time (and it means your online dating photos and great conversational skills worked!). It’s inexpensive and informal. If there’s no compatibility, you can quickly leave. Here are some coffee shops in and around Pasadena that are perfect for a first date

  • Philz on Lake Ave. There’s a big outdoor courtyard with benches and tables and there are always other people around. There’s metered parking right in front on Lake, or free parking on Green St. and Cordova east of Mentor. 146 S Lake Ave #106, Pasadena, CA 91101, between Green St. and Cordova, behind Lemonade and Dry Bar
  • Urth Caffe A large coffee shop with a full menu with indoor and outdoor seating. Almost always busy, open 7am-10pm 594 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91101, on the SE corner of Madison and Colorado
  • Syndicate Coffee & Bakery in Sierra Madre There are a few tables outside. It’s a popular area, so there are always people around. 18 W. Sierra Madre Blvd. Sierra Madre, CA 91024 near the intersection of Baldwin and Sierra Madre Blvd.
  • Peet’s on Lake and California Seating inside and out. Lots of tables and a well-trafficked area. 605 S Lake Ave., Pasadena, CA 91106
  • Republik Coffee Lounge on Green St. near Lake Ave. Tables outside in the shade on the sidewalk and lots of people around. If you hit it off, there’s plenty of places around to grab lunch. 854 E Green St. Pasadena, CA 91101, west of Lake Ave.
  • Corner Bakery on Lake Ave. Seating on a big outdoor patio. Plenty of foot traffic. 345 S Lake Ave. Ste 107, Pasadena, CA 91101
(Above) An online dating photo for J created by Rebecca Little Photography in Pasadena, CA.

I’ve divided the dating sites list as follows:

  • Comprehensive
  • Over 40
  • Black men and women
  • Gay, Bisexual, and Trans
  • Elite
  • Latina and Latino

People who are experienced online dating app users have strong opinions about which are the best. It’s a good idea to explore each one and decide for yourself.  Always watch out for scammers. They are on every site, so please use good judgment. Always meet in a public place for your first date.

Comprehensive dating apps

  • Tinder – one of the most popular sites, swipe left or right to express interest or move on, lots of profiles due to its popularity, the bios are short and sweet, can upgrade to Tinder Gold to see the people who “like” you, the app offers verification that confirms you’re the person in your photos.
  • Bumble – a free app that requires women to message first, swipe left or right to express interest or to move on.
  • OKCupid – a mostly free app, you can now send a message without matching first, but the recipient only sees the message if you’re a “match”, matches are determined by the profile you fill out when you join.
  • Hinge – shows you extensive profiles that help you weed out deal-breakers like religion, political party, and level of alcohol consumption; good if you’re looking for a serious relationship because that’s their target market, “it’s the dating app designed to be deleted”.
  • Coffee Meets Bagel – most users are in the 30-49 age range, some find it a bit difficult to use, but others like that it guides you through matches and sends reminders to connect.
  • Happn – matches you with people located nearby.
  • Plenty of Fish – launched in 2003, one of the few dating apps that allow you to contact any fellow users without matching or subscribing, some users report there are lots of bots and scams.
  • Match – a paid website, allows you to select your matches, a good choice for all ages.
  • Badoo – launched in 2006, It’s designed to help you find people nearby who share your interests.
  • eharmony – selects matches for you, allows you to upload 12 photos, $39.95 a month for a 3-month plan.
  • Zoosk – dating made fun, without the games; designed to help you find online chat partners, dates, or companionship, suitable for all ages, user-friendly layout.
  • JDate – for Jewish singles
  • Be Naughty – for casual dating and hook-ups, not for long-term relationships, free memberships for women.

Dating apps if you’re over 40

The apps above are worth joining as they cater to all ages, but the dating apps below are specifically designed for those over 40.

  • Senior Match – for those over 45, messaging restricted to paid memberships.
  • Silver Singles – for users 50+, matches you based on a personality test you take upon signup, you have to upgrade to a paid membership to see other users’ photos.
  • Our Time – caters to users over 50.

For Black men and women

  • BLK – a dating app for Black singles.

Dating apps for gay, bisexual, trans, and queer people

  • Grindr – the world’s largest social networking app for gay, bi, trans, and queer people, location-based app.
  • Her – a lesbian dating app, your LGBTQIA+ community.

“Elite” dating apps

  • The League – an elite dating app that has a waiting list, most people are on more than one app, so you’ll probably run into them on other apps.
  • Raya – a private, elite, members-only app for dating, networking, and making new friends, you apply then get on the waiting list, it helps to be accepted if you’re a celebrity, creative, interesting, or an expert in something.
  • Elite Singles – dating site for educated singles, most of their members have a bachelor’s degree and well-established careers, well-designed site, easy to navigate.

For Latino men and Latina women

  • Chispa – an app to connect, chat, and meet with Latinos

Email me to schedule your session

Use the contact form or email me directly at

My studio is in Pasadena, CA and I accept QuickPay with Zelle, credit and debit cards, and cash.

Join my email list.

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