Digital Self Forward: Improve Your e-Dating Pictures

Thank you to my business consultant, Gary Ralston, for suggesting the name for this series of posts. To tell you the many ways in which Gary improves my life would take a long, long time. Sanity, clarity, vision, relationships, processes, graphics and numbers, getting better on a bigger scale. We have worked together for 6 months that I would not have believed if I had not lived them.

Two posts about improving appearance can be found on Linked In. The first post was written with analyst Shahna McNally in Edmonton, AB (and check the left column for upcoming Calgary dates), with suggestions for the RIGHT first impression. The second post is entitled, Digital Self Forward: Improving Your Profile Image. 

Click Post Picture

Think about the first time you were going to post your photo online. You look through your pictures. Two or three are decent. They might fall short of being exact images of you today unless you’re a selfie expert, but you figure they will get the job done. Think again.

Today, your digital representation is the stand-in for the real you in more and more interactions. The virtual world is already merging with ours.It’s not just coming. It’s here. Have you seen the kids running around holding their phones in front of them? They’re playing Pokemon GO.

Now you want to enter the scary world of finding a mate. Maybe someone told you that more couples meet online than any other way. It’s true, as Peter Diamonds puts numbers to the next sexual revolution, here at Linked In.

It makes no difference if we feel that it’s socially respectable or not – including the statistics about pornography. It is happening. The motivation is to be desirable. I wish many of the criteria in this Huff Post article  about online dating pictures were not true. While I believe that nobody should be allowed to touch everything they see, the world is not as it should be. : :


The Real Me

Wouldn’t it be great to voice over your pictures while others are scanning them? To be able to say, “That’s not really who I am!!” Nobody wants a simple picture to be the reason that Mr. or Ms. Right dismisses them.

Imagine being able to hear their thought processes when they view our pictures. Maybe folks believe that others won’t make snap decisions from a picture. As comforting as it might be, it is not the truth.  If faces told us nothing, profiles with pictures wouldn’t get 9x more communication, from this eHarmony (eH) post on their most successful dating photos.

A whole conversation happens in the viewer’s mind. Some pictures will get ignored over and over, others visited over and over.  The pictures that get written off didn’t feel good to look at. We tell ourselves that we rejected a person because we felt no connection. While partly true, if the person had posted a different image, we probably would have made different decisions about letting them into our lives. (Ben Earwicker Garrison Photography, Boise, ID) (Ben Earwicker Garrison Photography, Boise, ID)


Now imagine how your parent feels as they join this world. For Dad, dating again is daunting enough. Now, he has to re-learn it on a computer that doesn’t care about his great social skills or the sense of humour that worked for 30 years. Could we put some lucky charms in his pocket? You bet we can.

Of course it’s unfair. Both poster and viewer become victims of wrong beliefs about another person. The control is only in Dad’s hands before he clicks the Post button, when appearance choices were made.

Personal colour analysis (PCA) puts you out in front of the competition. A recent client used the world astonished to describe her peer group’s reaction to her PCA photos. This is when we get to see what our appearance is capable of – and what Dad’s is still capable of. My first client was my then-87-year old Dad. Big improvement.

Anyone Advice

Harmony and presence are fine for professional pictures. In the wild world of finding a mate, appearance should be so elevated and interesting that it creates some tension. Excitement and possibility should be palpable.

Nobody is suggesting that we look like a wild card. We can look like a better version of ourselves than we would create left to our own appearance devices.

Don’t we already know our colours? Maybe when we were 10, before the deafening noise of media, especially post-internet media, got its hooks in our heads. More men might have a closer general idea, though they are mostly dressing somewhere between boring and safe. Women usually have a room done in their own colours, or a husband, or a bag of clothes they can’t throw out, but the whole picture is far from together, speaking for me and every single woman I have ever met, client or not.

1-Put a mouth on your face. Lip eraser is not sexier. Who do you know looks better with no lips? Thinking it’s easier to buy nude lips is wishful thinking. If you’re buying by guessing, odds are that you’re wearing someone else’s skin tone painted on yours.

Are beige lips even modern? It’s a magazine look for young people with the high feature definition of youth, and it is becoming outdated.

“Wear your flesh tone.” is useless advice unless you are informed about what that is. For some faces, brown is their flesh tone. For others, it may be mulberry or coral.

Solution: Choose a sheer lip colour in a pink, red, burgundy, or purple that looks belonging on your face, using reds in successful clothing as a guide. Try to roughly match the intensity of your eyes and hair.

2-Notice the background. It will have a strong influence on how well you are defined and focused, extending subliminally to character as pictures always do.  Blending into the background gives the impression of weakness, poor stamina, and ‘one of the crowd’.

If I could be heard by the hair colour industry, I would ask, “Why do none of you ever ask to see clients’ colour palettes for clothing?” Some clients might actually have one.

Solution: To photographers, I ask the same question. Surround the person with the colours in their natural pigmentation. Don’t overthink backdrops, complements, and colour schemes. They are handed to you when the client gives you their palette. If you’re the subject, bring your palette and have some say in the choice of backdrop. A photographer who has had a PCA would be valuable. If the background is an outdoor setting, have colours that you might be flattered by in clothing.

3-Wear red or pink. Nothing come close for expressing desirability. The right red/pink/purple say all the great things about a person. The wrong ones look like baby clothes or aggression.

Solution: Choose a version that feels good, neither flat nor conspicuous. Wear a small area if you like, the effect will still be noticed like we see lipstick instantly. Look at your own photo and decide if the colour wears you or looks candy. Without telling them your answers, ask somebody else, preferably a teenager who has been reassured that you want truth not comfort. Take some pictures and objectively ask yourself, “If I saw this person on the bus, would I even notice the red? Is it taking over? Would I be thinking that they should get home ASAP and change? How do I react?”

Most appearance advice out there is Anyone Advice. It has to be. What would apply equally to everyone? When we try to work with it, the effect is satisfying for about a month. Then we either go back to who we were and hope for the best, or we decide to get this figured out once and for all.


Accurate Advice

To have access to it, you need a Key Tool: your personal colour palette.

PCA is among the elite 5 instruments to discover true personal identity. The result is to give people the right way to focus on you. Nothing works as well to energize appearance, IRL or avatar.

To put that palette in your hands, you need a colour analysis. There is no other way that works. Choose a real, modern testing system, the same as you would use for any other information you could trust.

Guessing at your best colours by looking at you is like guessing what’s going on under the hood of your car by staring at the stationary vehicle. Pete’s sake, turn the key! Look under the surface where the answer is. Colour is the same. Make the reactions happen in real time, ask the right questions, and know how to answer them.

PCA from photographs? The odds are so low of coming to the right answer that if I were in your shoes, I would save my money. Cameras do not see, adjust, or interpret what human eyes and brains do. Students send me comparison pictures in highly controlled and calibrated surroundings and I still would not claim Season for certain. It is not because I can’t read a drape. Cameras, monitors, too many variables.

1-Know your white. In the picture, the influence on your teeth, hair, skin, and white of the eye is huge.

Black and white are always talked about. They matter that much to what the rest of us see. A too-bright white can make skin look like a layer of chalky white sunscreen if anybody is looking at the face at all. Most of their time is spent staring at the white as the body part wearing it gets bigger and wider.

Men in too-white shirts and ties…No, it does not look clean and sharp. It looks like you closed your eyes, got puffed in the face with flour, and opened your eyes back up.

Silvery hair looks dishwatery in the wrong white or gorgeous and glistening in the right white.

Solution: If you don’t know your white, don’t wear white. Or get a PCA and know.

2-No. Blur. The features have to be in focus. When most everyone else’s face is fuzzy, you want yours on a Hi Def screen. The wide, flat face of a child happens automatically when colours conflict. A slim, defined adult face is automatic when colours harmonize. Why choose the robber with a nylon pulled over his face look?

Solution: Wear the colours that you are. Aim to look at the photo and have your gaze bounce from the big picture right to the eyes, especially if you’re hoping to attract a woman.

3-The focal point is the eyes. Always. It should be physically harder for the viewer to look away from the eyes than to keep looking into them. Even if the background is the Grand Canyon, the focal point is the eyes. In room décor, it might be a pillow or a couch or a painting. In human décor, it is always the eyes.

The eH staff discusses the importance of eyes in this post. A good PCA will perfect the eyes in several ways. If the analyst doesn’t know how to talk about eyes, they won’t be able to do it. Find another analyst.


In Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell examines how certain people come to be extraordinarily successful. He decides that it was not all up to them.

Neither is e-dating or any system that operates based on decisions made about you when you’re not present. When a picture stands in for you, the only control is in the Before filters.

When society ignores certain aspects of us, we ignore them too. PCA is a chance for you to try on different versions of ourselves. Winter and Spring coloured people need to wear those colours to pull them up to normal. In the softer coloured clothes, they look like a washout, possibly the only side of themselves that they have ever seen.

Every person’s appearance holds incredible gifts. Get a PCA and discover yours. As Outliers describes over and over in Gladwell’s engaging storytelling style, nobody succeeds on their own.




One thought on “Digital Self Forward: Improve Your e-Dating Pictures”

  1. Thanks for this article – I will be passing it on to some friends who have ignored the importance of their photos then complain about lukewarm responses on dating sites!

    I went into the online dating scene with my PCA and IA known; and, as a BSp, choose to take a lot of my photos outside with the greens and blues of a bright California spring. It totally worked! I am not knocking myself, but I am simply no beauty and have never been photogenic (some really are, and some of us really are not); but the responses I get to my pictures have blown me away.

    Oh, and no selfies, please. I just got a friend to come over and spend the afternoon. She used her iPhone, I changed in and out of my favorite outfits, and we spent a few hours laughing hysterically at ourselves. I’d add “have fun while you do it” to the formula for success.

    If I can do it, anyone can! And knowing your season and style makes it so much easier.

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