To Post Or Not To Post A Photo
Like it or not, when it comes to online dating, a photo is generally the thing that is going to get a reader's attention. With so many potential candidates to look through, people need some sort of a starting point and many will begin with the way a person looks. Even though you'd like to think that one benefit on online dating is that it gives people a chance to get to know each other before involving looks, this way of thinking really is naïve.
Most online dating services allow members to attach photos to their profiles. This is generally an optional feature and members don't have to do so if they don't want. Some people are leery of the Internet and don't want their picture being viewed by others they don't know. That's fine but just keep in mind that many people involved with dating, online or otherwise, are going to judge a person first by their appearance.
In fact, many members won't even look at profiles that don't have pictures attached. If you're debating whether or not to post your photo, that should be your main concern. You can always post your profile without a photo then wait to see the results you get. If you're satisfied, go ahead and continue without one. If you're not, then get a picture up there fast.
The other downside of posting photos is that sometimes the picture isn't an accurate portrayal. If you keep this in mind, it'll keep you from possibly being disappointed later on when you meet your date in person.
If you decide to post a picture, remember that not just any picture will do. While it isn't necessary to hire a photographer (although many people have done so and have dramatically increased their response rate), you do want to take care in selecting a picture. Of course it should be current. There's nothing worse than finding out when you meet in person that the person is ten years older than the picture on the dating site!
Some online dating sites allow you to post several images - one that will be attached to your profile header and the others visible only after clicking for more information. Always make sure that the main picture is of only you. Don't use a group photo, a photo with you and your sibling, or a photo of you with your pets or your children. Doing so almost always sends the wrong message. You can explain how much you love your pets and/or children later on, after you've begun communicating with someone.
Finally, make sure the impression you're giving others is the one you want to give. If you dress casually, people will think of you as casual. If you appear all decked out in the latest fashion trends, a different sort of image will be created in readers' minds. If your appearance is one step short of a centerfold shot, you might find you're bombarded with unsavory offers which may or may not be what you're looking for!