Who wouldn’t make the right impression whether it is the first one or any other thereafter? You know that we all make initial judgement (consciously or subconsciously) right or wrong within just seconds of seeing one’s face. In the world of online dating is therefore a lot of weight on profile pictures.

Let’s clear this out of the way: putting weight on the profile picture is not shallow

It is far from ‘judging the book by its cover’ – the cover of the book is set and it’s design doesn’t move or change within a split second. That’s obviously not the case with us – whether we want or not, we instinctively search for signs of body language and facial expressions to gauge the inner state of people and more importantly whether we can trust, rely on and have good time with them. Of course, the winning combination is all three, balanced in the right way. Having a good time with the person is fantastic and very important but it is not enough on its own. Especially long-term. Trust and strength to withstand the difficult situations, being understanding and reliable are the foundations of the old style values.

We cannot see all this in a profile picture of course but we can get glimpses consciously or more importantly – subconsciously as a gut feeling. After all, the faces are the first more complex things we’ve learned to recognise as babies and we’ve been working on the craft of “reading” their fine changes and micro-expressions since.

Should you just use a selfie?

We live in a world where just about everyone has a camera in their pocket and it is so easy to grab a quick selfie. The question is – is easy and quick the best way to represent you and your character? Also, we know that we don’t look in selfies like we do in the real life. Regardless of filters, the way the phone camera captures things and faces is often quite distorted. Ever noticed that you usually look 30 pounds lighter in a selfie? Not that many people would object or that it cannot be the goal but if someone meets you in person, they may be surprised or even taken aback, denting the trust from the get-go.

Also, bearing in mind the fine art of body and face language, easy and quick may not do you justice. Another thing is that you’d be interacting with a phone, turned to a strange mirror, reflecting your own, skewed image back at you – that’s not the way you interact with a person (hopefully) and therefore you may not have such look in real life.

EVERY ONE OF US SHOULD AND CAN MAKE THE RIGHT IMPRESSION whether it is the first one or any other thereafter.

Why should I bother with having a proper photo of me created? – I don’t have features of a model anyway…

And you don’t need to have such features. Even supermodels can (and often do) look blank or uninterested and cold on their runway. What matters is the expression. If you work with a person who knows how to make you look confident in front of the camera – so that you come across as someone who is strong, reliable, believing in your own abilities – and also approachable, warm and friendly – so that other people feel welcome to get in touch and meet, you’ll have the winning combination.

But I’m worried about my wrinkles!

A low resolution of a phone or a dark environment creating noisy image of a phone selfie helps with wrinkles but is hiding them completely the right way? Capturing a quality photograph means that all will show frozen in time, all that more prominent, doesn’t it? But in real life we don’t perceive them as much, especially when looking into one’s eyes or when interacting. What now?

This is where mindful and careful finishing of your profile photos comes into play. Wrinkles are a sign of character and that you’ve lived but they shouldn’t take away from your presence and the overall feel. And that’s the way they should be treated – still there but toned down sensibly.

As with everything else done well, it is a fine and very important balance.

If done right, your portraits greatly improve the way the other person perceives you. After all, what other means can make such an impact remotely on such a profound level in just seconds?

How to make the Right Impression

The focus of impactful headshot profile portraits should not be just on the face. The focus is to make the right impression.

The focus is to show your face through the eyes of a person who really likes you already and who values you for your qualities and virtues.

Seeing you. At your best. Confident. Relaxed. Engaging.

If you don’t think you can pull it off for the still picture, trust me – you can! How do I know this? Because it will not be just up to you – the photo session is always a teamwork: you and your photographer. It won’t even matter if you’re camera-shy or unsure of what to do. The right photographer will give you tools and environment to overcome this and create headshot profile portraits of you at your best. And not just that – you will take what you learn in the photoshoot session with you and will know how to utilise this in different life situations. 

The right photographer will be your guide, helping you craft your external image, partly by working on and impacting your internal image so that it all reflects in the photograph.

This is when the magic starts to happen and with a bit of help, guidance and smart lighting, you’ll look like you do on your good day – and even better. And not just look – you’ll feel better about yourself too.




-Andrej Valko

Andrej is a headshot and portrait photographer, specialising in the craft of close-up photography – which, if done well (and he wouldn’t do it any other way), has the most impact on the viewer because we all connect with faces the most.


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