Want to know if your online profile portrait shows you in your best light?


Ask your camera.


Dating site OKCupid examined 552,000 user-submitted photos and then asked viewers which of the men and women pictured they’d want to date. The site sifted 11.4 million opinions to reveal that the equipment, shutter speed and lighting played a significant role in whether the subject was seen as attractive.


OKCupid came up with some guidelines on how to snap the most flattering portrait of yourself (results at: blog.okcupid.com).

First, start with a good camera. Everyone is armed with a camera phone these days, with increasingly high megapixel ranges, built-in LED flashes and so on — but OKCupid found camera phones result in the least attractive portraits. The best results came from digital SLR cameras that have interchangeable lenses.

And don’t even think about using a flash to brighten up your smile — the rankings suggested that harsh lighting of camera flashes can add about seven years to your age. Natural light — best in the soft light just after sunrise or just before sunset — can hide blemishes and wrinkles, the site theorized.

Then again, a lot of those responding thought people photographed at 2 or 3 a.m. were the most attractive.

Another lesson — don’t be shy. Get in there and focus on the face and blur out everything in the background.

A crisp face stands out against a blurry background and can create a feeling of intimacy, the site suggests. Set the camera to a shallow depth of field with a low “f-stop” setting.

If you insist on sticking with your smartphone camera, you might be interested to know that iPhone users have more sex compared to Blackberry and Android owners.


The OkCupid blog also found that the best pictures they looked at used a shallow depth of field. This means the subject is put into sharp focus while the foreground and background are blurry.