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We already established that great profile photos are very important for online dating but how can you get them?

After you’ve taken amazing pictures, there is something that needs to be done. A little magic touch.

Most people aren't doing this or don’t even have the awareness of its importance, which is bad for them but good for us 😉

This little magic touch is called photo editing

Why you want to edit your photos

If you are still unconvinced about editing your photos, this is just for you. In this chapter, we’ll talk about the three main reasons why you should be editing your pictures right away.

Don’t need convincing? Skip this chapter and move on to the next part!

Reason #1 - Having a pimple day

I did a photoshoot recently. It went on well and produced some great photos. But once I got the images on my laptop, I found a problem. 

I was having a bad pimple day.

Now, is this supposed to ruin my photoshoot? 

All that time and effort I put into getting ready. Posing for hours. Hiring a photographer for the pictures. Waiting for the perfect lighting during the golden hour. The stylish clothes and dashing look I rocked that day.

And you want me to throw it all away because of a pimple!?

You get my point. You’re not always on your best and that’s okay. You can still have photos taken. Even if you have a pimple day! 

Photo editing will remove them for you and keep only the good stuff.

© Tiege Hanley

Reason #2 - Making you more special

If you are dating online, it’s because you want to attract someone who’s cool right? A good-looking person that has a great style and knows how to take care of themselves. 

You don’t want some ordinary human. You know you deserve someone special.

And to find that someone special, you need to be someone special. Now, helping with your personality will have to wait for another day. But we can make your pictures more special. 

With photo editing, you can take the photos you already have and turn them into a magnet for the cool people you want to attract.

man red smoke background

Reason #3 - Your photos don't define you

I know, I know… This is a bit of a counterargument. Yet it’s still a good one.

I know some incredible guys who would be amazing boyfriends and dates. But they don’t because of a big issue they all share. 

Their profile isn’t incredible like them, and they’re not the most photogenic. 

Another common issue is that they work full-time. Many of my entrepreneurial friends don’t have good social media profiles because they are too occupied with their businesses. 

Now to the other side.

I also know some people who don’t have much going on in their life and spend 80% of their money on buying the newest clothes and acting like their life is great.

Recently, I was talking to a client of mine and we were analyzing his pictures. 

He had been traveling in Asia for a couple of years in places like Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines. He wasn’t focusing much on taking photos (like most guys). 

orange sunset

In the end, he told me “I have such an amazing life and do so much cool stuff. Yet because I wasn’t taking photos it’s so hard to show this”.

Now, how much value would it add for a girl that she could travel along with him? Probably massive. But only if she knew about those travels.

And of course, photo editing can help that to happen.

Why photographers won't edit photos for normal clients most of the time

A client of mine booked a photoshoot this week. We were discussing the things that we could do for his profile to improve it. 

He lacked certain kinds of photos, so I pointed towards that. 

Another question I asked him was what would the photographer be editing. 

He told me the photographer would do bulk color editing.

Now, this is the standard when we are talking about photographers. 

The reason for this is quite simple. 

Editing photos takes time. And time is money. 

Editing a photo can take somewhere between 10 minutes to 5 hours. If they were to take an average of one hour per photo, then a 50 images photoshoot would mean a full week of editing. You see the issue here.

Besides that, there is another thing to consider. Editing photos requires a whole different skill than taking photos. Somebody can be a great photographer but a worthless editor. Keep this in mind.

So the conclusion is this: we got to take the power into our hands and forge the greatest photos of all time via the best photographers and the greatest editors.

how design is made

How to level up your images

When we talk about editing photos, women have a huge advantage. Just by adding makeup, they are pre-editing their pictures even before they face a camera. 

For us, there are only two options available: Be born again or tune our pictures.

Since we can’t do the first, let’s talk about tuning the photos.

In simple terms, tuning can be translated into filters that will increase the quality of the original picture.

But filters can be both a blessing and a curse. See, some filter on picture A can be great. But use that same filter for picture B and you just created the next Frankenstein monster.

This is because they are presets based on a specific image. And since every picture is different, they also need different editing adjustments.

So let’s run through the basic settings and see how this before and after was done.

before-and-after-adjustments

Brightness

This is the amount of light in the picture. Or as the name says, the amount of bright (I know, it’s rocket science).

This is a very useful feature to adjust when an image is either too bright or too dark.

brightness-example

Contrast

Depending on the colors, illumination, or objects around, some areas of a picture might be dark while others are light. 

This difference can make details get lost in the darkest and lightest parts of the image.

What contrast does is to make the details of a picture pop more by making the differences between the dark and light more visible. 

contrast-example

Saturation

Has it happened that you take a picture and notice that the colors are dull? Saturation is here to solve that.

Some cameras aren’t perfect at capturing color, and that results in images with flat colors. Which is not necessarily bad, but can ruin the vibe of the pic. 

By increasing the saturation, the colors turn brighter, and with that, the image will have a better visual impact.

saturation-example

Highlights and Shadows

These refer to the lightest and darkest part of an image. 

From time to time, depending on the way the picture was taken, bright highlights and black shadows can erase details on the image.

We don’t want that.

To prevent losing details, adjustments in highlights and shadows should be made to add depth to the image.

highlights-shadows-example

Warmth

Warmth is a setting where apps will boost the orange, yellow and red tones. Or do the opposite increasing the amount of blue, green, and purple.

Warmer photos often look nicer. More natural. This is certainly the case when the skin color is very white, or the surroundings have plenty of cold shades, like blue or gray.

In other cases, there may be plenty of orange shades making the picture look “burnt”. Or maybe the skin is too unnatural. Both of this issues can be fixed easily by decreasing the warmth.

warmth-example

How to make specific edits to your images

So let’s turn you into the next Bradley Cooper or Brad Pitt, or maybe… well, you get the point.

Do you know what someone with a perfect nose doesn’t have to edit? Exactly. The nose. 

We are going to discuss a bunch of attributes you can edit. But you shouldn’t do them all. Attack your greatest weaknesses and make them 10 - 20% better.

If you have a nose that’s the size of a Christmas tree, you can’t turn it into a tiny pickle. When the girl finally sees you in real life, she will be angry. Or even worse, she won’t even know who are you. But you can enhance.

When I make edits to my own pictures, most people can’t notice them. Unless they see the before and after back and forth. Yet, the pictures look much, much better.

So let’s just jump into it.

before-and-after-example

Editing the face

The face is a major key to your looks. Something that everyone knows. What most people don’t know is all the different elements that a face contains and what is good or bad. But we will tell you now.

before-and-after-face-correction

Nose:

Girls prefer if the nose of the guy is average size and straight. We guys actually prefer a smaller nose. So you can increase/decrease your nose size to a 10% extent. Not more.

Lips:

For men, when it comes to lips, you don’t want them to stand out too much. An average mouth with normal colors is the best.

As for girls, fuller lips a shade or two darker are almost always a good improvement.

Teeth:

If you thought that smoking, coffee and not brushing your teeth were going to give you an advert smile, we have bad news. When we look at teeth, we want them to be white and straight. 

To fix this permanently you should talk about it with your dentist and make one of the best investments you can possibly do to your looks. 

But in the meantime, you can make photo editing work in your favor to blanch your teeth a bit or make tiny corrections that will improve your appearance. Just remember to avoid drastic changes.

man beanie smiling
Hair

When it comes to hair, we got different elements to consider:

Stray Hairs: 

In some cases, get rid of them is easier than others, but in general, you don’t want them in the picture.

Hair Color: 

It's definitely possible to adjust it if it looks odd for any reason.

Hair Style: 

Haven’t been to the hairdresser in a while and your sides are too long? This is no problem. You can actually edit this by moving the hair closer together. Thus giving the illusion your hair sides are shorter.

Hairline: 

If you are bald we are not going to be able to fix that with some edits (it could be possible but then again, the girl won’t recognize you when you met). However, we are able to fix a bit your hairline. This can actually make a pretty big difference in your pictures. 

hair-example

Beard and Mustache:

So let’s talk about the other hair you have on your face. Let’s hope this one is just for the guys.

You can have a beard in many different styles. Short hair, long hair, mustache... What works best really depends on your beard and your face type. So let’s talk about the editing.

Making your beard fuller:

Lots of guys have patches with more hair than the rest. When you are rocking a shorter style beard, these patches become more obvious. You can make your beard appear more even and that creates a better-looking picture.

Editing the beard color:

Let’s be real, not all beards are created equal. That’s okay, not beat yourself up for it. Some people would love to have a beard but never have the capacity to even grow a mustache so be grateful. 

When it comes to beard color, you can edit it slightly to make it match your hair color. A lot of guys have a shade of orange in their beard, so this is something you can fix with photo editing.

man long hair and beard

Jawline:

A sharp jawline is superb. Something girls can drool over. When you reverse to women, it’s different. Guys tend to be more attracted to smoother jawlines. 

When editing your jawline you want to make it a bit more square. 

Adding shades can also help to increase this effect. 

Eyebrows:

For guys, the straighter, the better. That’s what girls are attracted to. 

One thing you should edit ASAP both in pictures and real life is when you have a unibrow. If you ever post a picture with only one eyebrow we will hunt you down.

Size-wise, follow the average, and you can’t be mistaken unless you have very wide or super narrow eyebrows.

When your eyebrows are super light, you can add a bit of darkness to them.

For girls, arching eyebrows tend to be more appreciated.

before-and-after-eyebrows

Eyes:

The eyes are a gateway to your blah blah blah. Yes, eyes are essential. 

And there is also a lot that can go wrong with them though, so here’s how to edit them.

Changing your eye color:

One thing I see happening often is that your real eye color isn’t shining through very well. 

When you take a picture with a great lamp pointing straight to your eyes you might capture the right lighting. Otherwise, they’re most likely doomed to seem darker. 

So what you want to do with your eyes is to make them the right color. 

To ensure this, you can take a close-up picture of your eyes, and use it as a constant reference to get the color always right.

Eye Size: 

Bigger eyes tend to be more attractive. When you increase a bit the size of your eyes, they will pop into the picture. 

But don’t go overboard or you will become the freak someone’s going to make fun of. 

Eye position:

Another thing you can do is adjust the position of your eyes. It can be beneficial to position them higher or lower, up or down, depending on the person. It’s smart to play around with this on your face so you can see what looks best.

Brightness:

Because your eyes are tucked away, it happens quite frequently that they aren’t lit up. To compensate for this you can change the brightness of the eyes and look you know… alive.

before-and-after-eyes-correction

Skin:

Your skin is something that varies from day to day. 

Bad pimple day? It ruins everything. Got a wound from shaving? Not very sexy. 

And some people have a substandard skin quality. We can’t make you drink more water or get you some facial products, but we are going to make it look 10 - 20% better in every picture.

skin-example

Well, maybe not only one wrinkle, but the truth is that you don't want a babyface with zero wrinkles or expression lines. This will make your face look artificial and you know… edited.

What you want to do with wrinkles when editing, is to fading them without erasing them completely. This smoothens the image.

Pimples:

You want to remove these completely when you only got a few. 

Pimples tend to be temporary, so when you actually meet your date, the imperfections may have gone (or moved to a different place, but let’s hope not).

On the other hand, if you have very bad acne then you don’t want to hide this 100%, but to a 50% top. Since this makes such a big difference from how you look in real life, it wouldn’t be a real representation of yourself anymore. 

Imperfections:

Faces have tons of imperfections. Do you want to edit these out fully? Not fully but definitely a lot. 

Decide yourself how far you want to go and discuss it with a pro (available at Hovalo) or with a friend (preferable female).

Wrinkles:

Do you know that you look 10 times sexier when you have one wrinkle?

Tanning:

When editing your face there is one thing that will make you look sick. As in really ill... And that is the color of your face.

So to make sure people don’t think you should be in a hospital bed, you should look a bit tan.

Not the “I spend every day under a tanning bed” but “I just got back from the beach 3 weeks ago”.

This is a subtle art so don’t overdo the whole tanning thing. 

Makeup:

This bit is for the ladies. Makeup is a wonderful thing, but it can be magical if it’s added after the photo was taken.

A hurry didn’t give you time to wear that sexy red lipstick? Add it later.

Editing the body

Now let’s talk about editing your body. 

We do this for various reasons and some are more important than others so pick the ones that you think are relevant for you (or skip this chapter if you’ve been going to the gym solid for the last 5 years with strict dieting and maybe some enhancement, your choice).

tinder_six_pack_reason

Making it seem like you got more muscle:

So I guess you’re not Thor, right? Yeah, life’s hard. That doesn’t mean we have to look like a leaf in the wind, though.

You want to look like the selfies you’re taking in the gym. We all do.

But let’s be honest, sometimes, we can skip the gym for a week or two, and lose a bit of muscle mass.

To compensate for this you can just expand yourself a little bit. The shoulders and traps are important parts here.

Just watch out with lines in the background so they don't become wobbly where it’s easy to spot you’ve been editing the photo!

Editing out the fat:

If having a prominent belly is your thing, we could give some advice on that, but in the meantime, we can make the excess fat stand out less.

Are we going to make a miraculous lipo? No, we are not. But a few pounds/kg less could make a big difference in an image. 

And before you are on a date with the girl, you can lose them for real anyway!

before-and-after-fat-correction

Smoothing things out:

Recently I was editing a picture of a slim girl. She had an average weight and body type.

Yet the picture still looked better when a little bit of arm fat was taken away. 

By slimming things, even in lean people, we stylize the image and make it more attractive.

Smoothing clothes:

Check your photo if you forgot to iron your clothes. 

Imagine this picture where you are looking perfect. Then you take a closer glance to check if the eyes are the right color, and guess what?

It is noticeable that you are wearing that stylish shirt for the first time. The folding marks from when it was packed are in plain sight.

Crying a little for the slip is one option, but certainly not the best one. Photo editing can “iron” the clothes in some measure and save the image yet again.

smooth-clothes

Stuffed pockets:

Hereby. I declare to be not perfect.

Days after a photoshoot I was looking at the pictures taken and guess what did I see? A whole load of stuff in my pocket. Not a few coins and a lost napkin. But phone, wipes, lip balm, and keys. Very visible in the photo. 

If you tend to carry your life in the pockets of your clothes, be sure to get them off before the pictures are taken, or leave it to the experts to flatten the mistake afterward.

Background editing 

You probably know that you are not the only part of the image that needs to look good. 

One thing you can’t forget is the fact that not only you are in the picture (at least in 95% of them). So what else is there? And are there things in the image that need to be adjusted or removed? 

Here’s a quick checklist to go through.

Item removal in images:

I took a picture recently where the background had graffiti on it. The artist probably thinks that would be very cool if I posted that picture everywhere. As for me? Not so much. It was just some ugly letters without sense or meaning that ruined my photo

So what do we do with this? We remove the thing and the problem is solved! 

before-and-after-background

Making things neat:

When someone sees your photo they should see you. Your profile photos should not be a game of Where’s Waldo

So you want to limit the things going on in your photo. This can be done by removing objects or making them a little bit better looking.

Something rusty in the background? Make it shine again. Something broken beside you? Make it look as good as new. You get the hint.

Straighten the picture:

When editing your online dating photo, a good angle will be crucial. 

This can either make your image the best, or the worse.

There are a bunch of tools that can rotate images and make them straight. You can even do it now with most smartphones, so there’s no excuse for tilted pics.

Practicing and learning:

Becoming a better editor of photos takes time. Even if you outsource it, it takes time to learn what’s best. 

From the past seven photo editors I hired, I had to go back and forth about adjustments each time. Most editors don’t know all the tweaks to make a picture the way you want it to be. If they do know what to do, you probably pay a hefty price. 

But it’s worth it when your time is valuable and the results talk by themselves. 

think-smart-gif

How to be efficient with photo editing for dating profiles

Okay there are lots of things going on here, right? So we want the pictures on your dating profiles to look better, but we also don't want to spend hours and hours editing them. We have to make things efficient and that’s what this chapter is for.

Note down the things you want to change

So you have seen the photos you are currently using on your dating profiles, right? You might even use them for your social media as well.

What have you noticed about them? What are your strong suits and what are your weaknesses? This part can be hard, but be objective and make a list of things that could potentially be improved.

Here's an example:

  • Nose bit too wide and too high.
  • Teeth not white enough.
  • Dull eye color.

When you have a list like this, you can just follow the items and make them better at each photo. 

checklist-gif

Make a checklist:

To make this process better you should use a checklist. For the photos edited at Hovalo, we have a 30+ point checklist that we run through for each photo. Yes, every single one.

Different apps for different purposes

One app might be great for editing the lighting in a photo and another might be best for adjusting your facial features.

For starters, the basic editors offered with most smartphones and computers might be enough to dip your toes. But as you advance and want to take on greater changes, Photoshop or Lightroom will come in handy to make the job easier.

Hire experts in photo editing

Now you might think… “This photo editing task is insane.” And we couldn’t agree more with you. 

So the big question is: How much is your time worth? 

When it’s worth $50 an hour then it’s probably not so smart to get into this. 

You’ll be better if you just hire experts on the matter (like us) to take all that work off you and get back professional pictures for your dating profiles.

pointing-hands-computer

Verdict on photo editing

We started off this article by explaining to you why you want to edit your photos. 

Right after that, we told you that photographers aren’t necessarily photo editors. They don’t care if you’re ugly, they just care if the photo is pretty or not.

We learned the different elements of tuning a picture. 

After that, we talked about editing your face, body, and background to create a better photo in every possible way. 

At last, we talked about efficiency while going through the previous steps.

Now, this doesn’t cover 100% every aspect of photo editing. So feel free to comment and ask any questions you have to get you an amazing set of online dating photos, ready to attract the exact kind of people you want to meet.

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