Online Dating Profiles

How to Look Smart in Photos

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How to Look Smart in a Pic

Think physical attractiveness is all that matters in a dating photo? Studies like this one from the University of California care to differ.

The consensus among academics who study dating is that you don’t need to have model looks, but you need to have something going for you. The key here is to play up what does make you a good mate. And for a lot of people, that includes intelligence.

But maybe you’re not sure how to advertise your smarts on OkCupid or Tinder.

Knowing the key differences between photos of the same person with low and high “smart” ratings on Photofeeler, here’s 4 of our best tips for looking insightful and perceptive in pics.

1. Keep it conventional

Traditional poses, regular clothes, and simple smiles make people appear more intelligent in pics

Unfortunately, if looking smart is your top goal, you might have to sacrifice a little bit of fun and individualistic flair to get there.

We found that goofy, wild, or otherwise unconventional choices (in clothes, grooming, expression, or pose) generally worked against users’ ability to score high in “smart” on Photofeeler.

On the other end, the highest-scoring photos for this trait were often pictures of men dressed formally in a suit, with glasses in a classic style, in a traditional pose. (Yes, voters do generally favor men for this trait.)

Does this mean an eccentric can’t also be smart? Of course not. But you best remember this bias when you want to woo with your intelligence: keep it plain; play it safe.

2. Show prestige hobbies/interests

Interests considered prestigious or upperclass make people seem more intelligent in pictures

Another way to look smart in photos, according to our data, is to feature interests or objects classically considered prestigious or upper-class.

Examples include featuring a classical instrument, a science museum, a lab coat/scrubs, a telescope, or fine art.

3. Don’t over-smile

Keep your smile understated to look smarter in photos

To our astonishment, none of the very highest-scoring photos for this trait had an open-mouthed smile. They were smiling, yes, but tended to more understated closed-mouth smiles.

This trend was stark enough to mention here, though with a word of caution: if you are a woman, you may not want to give up your wide-grinning main picture just yet since other research has confirmed that whether a woman appears intelligent is highly correlated with whether she appears likable.

4. Wear glasses

Try wearing glasses to look smarter in a pic

Finally, if you want to show a more intellectual side of yourself, consider going four-eyed in a shot or two.

Well that concludes our tips for looking smart in pictures. Put them to good use and we’ll see you on Photofeeler with your next batch of shots!