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What makes a good profile pic?

Nailah Dean

Have you ever heard the saying “ a picture is worth a thousand words?” Never was that phrase more true than when it’s applied to a pic used to find love. The photo or photos you select for your Salams bio may be the most memorable part of your Salams profile. Sorry to say, that funny tag line or informative paragraph about who you are and what you want, will always remain second to your profile pic. Now don’t get me wrong. A good pic selection doesn’t have to mean you hire a glam squad and use Insta filters to optimize your beauty features. Rather, a good pic will get someone to stop swiping through the dozens of available candidates and take a solid minute or two to read your carefully crafted bio and consider whether you’ll make a good match. In the world of online dating, a good photo(s) is the opening chapter to a happily-ever-after. 

So you’re probably wondering, what is the formula for a good pic? That’s the million dollar question, and I’m here to give it to you for free! Lucky you!

1. Be Active, But No Gym Pics Please!

People really do appreciate other people who value health and wellness. This includes those who prioritize taking care of their bodies. Whether you like to run, hike, bike or go for long walks around the lake, you’ll get brownie points from a potential suitor if you showcase your admiration of physical activity. 

However, what you don’t want to do is showcase that bod at the gym. Why? Well, in addition to modesty concerns, the photo of the dude with the gym pecs and big guns is overrated. Gone are the days when a woman easily falls for a guy solely because he’s into training at the gym. What women really want to see are guys that are training for marathons. Women want adventurous men who enjoy ski-jets or surfing, or even just enjoy nature.Showcase your outdoorsy side and your love for getting physical. 

2. Travel Pics Are Priceless 

While listening to someone brag about all the countries in Europe they’ve visited during a gap year may get boring, seeing a travel photo in someone’s Salams profile never really gets old. Why? Because so many of us value travel and that’s something that will most likely never change. People often associate a well-traveled person with adventure and more wisdom. People that have seen different parts of the country and world are more likely to be open to new ways of thinking or interested in learning about new cultures or perspectives. A wide palette for travel, means a higher chance for an open mind. 

For your Salams dating profile, try a picture of you while on your travels, backpacking in popular cities, with famous towers or buildings in the background. It doesn’t have to be the prettiest picture, but make sure the person can tell you’re enjoying a place that is outside your everyday routine. Maybe even write in your bio about how frequently you travel or where you would like to travel with your future spouse. 

3. Skip the Selfies

I know what you’re thinking. Half of the photos in your phone’s gallery are probably selfies. I totally get it. It’s a cultural phenomenon and you’ve taken part in it. Because of your large portfolio of selfies, you no doubt want to use them for your Salams’ profile. While I understand that temptation, I think you should reconsider. 

Solo selfies are usually– though not always– taken in poor lighting, sometimes in odd places like bathrooms, elevators, or in gym mirrors. These types of photos aren’t going to highlight any aspects of you that are beneficial for your Salams profile. They might scream “I’m a gym rat” or “I’m passionate about Instagram pictures,” but those aren’t details that will entice a potential partner (or the right partner). What you need is good lighting + good background + good messaging. Think about what you’re trying to convey. You want to express positive attributes that may include how you feel about your relationships, your hobbies, and your aspirations. So try a headshot or a full body picture taken by a professional or even just a friend. I promise that will speak volumes to a potential suitor. 

4. Me, Myself and I: Feature Yourself

Since you now know to ditch the selfies, you’ve got to find photos that feature the star of the show: you. You want a solid photo that showcases your entire body and allows someone to get a clear vision of what you look like. If you’re like me and are a little camera shy, you might consider hiring a professional photographer to help you get some really nice photos. This doesn’t mean you need photoshopped photos that transform you into a supermodel, this just means you need someone who is good at taking photos to present you in the best possible light. A professional photographer, or a very close friend, will be able to get your best angles and tell you where to stand/ how to pose. 

If you’ve decided to now go on a mini photo shoot, try selecting a background that showcases your interests. If you love going downtown and exploring coffee shops, have your photographer take photos of you exploring alleyways with graffiti in the background or holding a cup of coffee in a funky coffee shop or restaurant. If you love the outdoors, have them go on a hiking trail with you, the botanical gardens, or even just a park. You want your potential partner to think, this person looks like they know how to enjoy life. I want to do those activities with them! A good photo will inspire them to think about a future with you.

5. Skip Pictures with Babies and Old Folks

I’ve seen a lot of photos with babies and old folks. Although there are some stats that show pics with one’s family members gets people to think “aww they care about their family,” it could also lead to more questions or doubts. For example, a photo with your little cousin, could be you just trying to show you love children, but for someone else they might think: is that really his little cousin or is it really his kid? 

For men who take pictures with their mothers, attempting to demonstrate their respect for elders, it might instead translate to does he have a normal relationship filled with respect for his mother, or is he a momma’s boy?  Although, I completely think these questions are unfair, they happen! So it’s best to skip pics with babies and old folks. 


I hope after reading this piece  you understand that photos do matter on your Salams profile. You should always try to provide at least three to four photos. Don’t agonize over the decision. Ask your friends or family for their assistance or opinion, and use the photos as an opportunity to tell a story about who you are. Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words, and a picture for a Salams profile is worth a million. Happy swiping!

Writer: Nailah Dean

Instagram: @nailahdean28


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