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I field-tested >100 dating pictures to scientifically find the top performers. The results are astonishing

Best Dating Pics (Chosen by Women)

I tried more than 100 different pictures.

And shelled out hundreds $$$ to get reliable results.

The raters are exclusively women.

And the results are astonishing.

Some of the picture categories include:

  • Doing "mannish" stuff/work


the action is more "entertainment" in reality. But people looking at the picture don't know that, and are likely to think it's work or task-related.

  • Cool hobby / lifestyle

  • Wealth-flex

There were similar ones in this category with the Ferrari logo showing, and a different supercar.

  • The "unpretentious traveler"

This category included doing some more traveler/explorer stuff, in plain and unpretentious clothes and poses.
Focus was more on the location/background/traveler spirit.

  • The "Zoolander" model shot

You can't have a proper survey of the best performing dating pictures without the more stereotypical professional pic.
These types of pics are the ones that most online guides on dating recommend to go for.

  • "Hot body" / muscle shots

One of the greatest question marks in the online dating: do abs and pecs work?

See it for yourself:


This category included different men besides me.

One, because I don't have good pics since my exercise regime is to move around various furniture I found in different places (best training style in my opinion, but objectively not good shots).
And two, because I don't have the buff body.

So to generalize the results, I took good shots of guys who focus on bulking up, rather than keeping fit.

  • The "trying to embody the definition of cool"

The "too cool for school" category.

This category overlaps with the model-type pictures, but it's more about poses and maximizing the law of social effort (in this case, it's the "locking in" pose).

  • The (well-dressed) "professor style"

This category includes explaining things, speeches, holding court over a group, or anything that suggests "knowledgeable/smart guy is doing knowledge transfer".

Given my style, the pics in this category are not the "typical" professor style.
We might call this category the "hip professor" style.

Trying Too Hard Backfires

Several of these pictures try hard.

And power dynamics theory predicts that, as a rule of thumb, trying too hard reduces power and personal appeal.

Let's call this general try-hard attitude "flexing".

Importantly, "flexing" isn't always a death knell of status, power, or even attraction -or it wouldn't have evolved, after all-.
And different environments and different people have different appetites and reactions to "flexing".

Men tend to be more impressed by other men's flexing than women.
Be it with money, power, muscle, dominance, skills, etc., flexing can work great to acquire status with other men.
Even over-flexing is not as bad among men -and especially not among younger male groups-.

So many men carry that same flexing attitude into dating.
But in dating, flexing, and especially obvious flexing, works far less well. And, often, it backfires (very telling in that reagard are also the comments from the raters on this experiment).

Growing beyond "flex"

That was confirmed by the very top-performing dating picture of them all.

Even myself, who's been studying dating dynamics and psychology for a while, was surprised by this finding.

Luckily though, I approached this more scientifically and didn't limit this research to picture I thought were going to be good performers.
So I tested even the ones I thought were "bland".

And lo and behold, one of the pictures I deemed as "rather bland" came out on top.

And what was this most successful pic?

This one here:

The Best Performing Dating Picture

This simple, non-photoshopped picture of me randomly standing in a street, no sunglasses and squinting eyes, naturally smiling and no flexing, beat everything else.
It beat the Ferrari driving, the big muscle gym guy, the pilot in the sky, the Zoomlander "nice beard" poser, and even the "hip" professor.

Quite astounding.
Especially if you consider that when it comes to basics such as clothes' fit, there is much room for improvement in that winner shot (the "hip professor" had an attire advantage).

Topping the 3 Criteria

The top 20% is where it's all at in online dating.

And, importantly, this one scored top 20% in all categories.

"Attractiveness" category is obviously very important.
Yet, it's a common mistake to only focus on attractiveness or "hot".
Because the "smart" and "trustworthy" categories are the conduits that turn the potential of attractiveness into actualized, real-world effectiveness.

"Trustworthy" is what turns women who match him and think "yeah, he's good-looking" but stay home, into women who are far more comfortable -and likely- in actually going out and meeting him.
That's especially important with more risk-averse women -so you don't just online-date floozies, you know :)-.

The "smart" and "trustworthy" categories also enlarge the dating pool to long-term looking women, and to more "sexually restricted" women, which can be good for men who like those types of women, and/or men who are considering something more serious (yes: most men prefer more sexually restricted women for long-term partner).

The Best Dating Category

What's even more interesting is this:

One specific category consistently performed well across all 3 criteria.

This is important because you need several pictures in your dating profile to show a breadth of interest and depth of personality.
And you want to draw at least a couple of pictures from this category.

The category is...

(to be continued in "Seduction University"), Matthew Whitewood and Stef have reacted to this post.
jjay1010125@gmail.comMatthew WhitewoodStef
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Thanks for sharing!
I think the results are thought-provoking.

A few things that spring to mind:


Would the results be different if the pictures were evaluated by only the top tier women?


For the shots where you wore sunglasses, I found the vibes less trustworthy because I cannot see your eyes.

Lighting & Composition

The simple, non-photoshopped picture has solid lighting.
The composition is really good in my opinion.
The colours blend seamlessly together.
Yet you are the main focus.

In my opinion, I like this photo the best too.
Though it's because of the solid lighting and great composition.

There is also more depth in this photo too with the road stretching behind you into the distance.

I think the professor shot would look better if you were looking to the left because that's the side with more space.
The border of the blackboard cuts in the middle as well.
I think it would be nicer if the blackboard was pulled down around the bottom one-third of the photo.

Also, there is a lack of depth and the photo looks 2-dimensional.

Harmony of Skin Tone & Clothing Colour

I have a different take here.
The fit of the sharp, blue suit is indeed better.

In the street photo, the colours of your outfit blend better with your skin tone.
It also makes your face stand out slightly, making it the focus of the photo.
The slight show of your white shirt is pretty smart too because it draws attention nearer to your face.

In the professor photo, the suit colour is very loud and clashes a bit with your skin tone.
It draws attention away from your face.
Maybe the vibe is different in person.

This is from my feeling of the aesthetics of the photos.
Maybe others would view them differently.

Zoolander Shot

There's some con-artist vibe here.
Reminds me of someone trying to pull the Italian suit scam on me.

Lucio Buffalmano and Stef have reacted to this post.
Lucio BuffalmanoStef

Awesome, awesome feedback, thank you Matthew!

Matthew Whitewood and Stef have reacted to this post.
Matthew WhitewoodStef
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

I think the long coat did a lot of the magic here, those almost always make someone to be perceive as cooler.

they are so elegant, mysterious, and mystic, they give a man high fashion style gravitas...

9 Matrix ideas | matrix, the matrix movie, keanu reeves

Now I want one of those, and a katana too!

Matthew Whitewood has reacted to this post.
Matthew Whitewood

I'm very curious about the results if Lucio used one of his pictures holding a gun with a car full of bullet holes at the back.

Yes, I did try a gun picture.

Just one because the result was so poor that I felt it didn't need different takes.

That was a case where expectations matched reality, I didn't think anything good would come from the gun pics :).

Matthew Whitewood has reacted to this post.
Matthew Whitewood
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

This got almost more complicated with the variables when i started reading...It's interesting though. And i like the coat picture.

But how could that be applied to my photos?
Why should some stay and some be deleted?


ps. How do i share pictures easier?


Can't share photos from my mac. Trying this instead.