Now, you’re always told to look happy and make eye contact in social situations, but at least for your online dating photo, that’s just not optimal advice.For women, a smile isn’t strictly better: she actually gets the most messages by flirting directly into the camera, like the center and right-hand subjects above.Notice that, however, that flirting from the camera is the single worst attitude a woman can take.

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Start by making sure whatever pictures you post show you smiling. A good picture will help you stand out from the rest of the pack, who usually post not-so-great photos of themselves, and it can get you noticed quicker by the people you want to date. Believe it or not, people will think you've posted a picture with an ex, even if he or she might be 30 years younger or older than you are. Before you tell your adult children that you are dating again (or make a big deal about someone specific), make sure that the two of you are a couple.

Men love a woman's smile and it's often the first thing they will notice about you. Don't post pictures with grown children, male or female friends or with your parents.

Ask yourself whether you feel serious about this person.

You don't want to get your adult children involved, attached, or concerned when it's not necessary.

In looking closely at the astonishingly wide variety of ways our users have chosen to represent themselves, we discovered much of the collective wisdom about profile pictures was wrong.

For interested readers, I explain our measurement process, and how we collected our data, at the end of the post.All my bar charts are zeroed on the average picture. One of the first things we noticed when diving into our pool of photos is that men and women have very different approaches to the camera.Women smile about 50% more than men do and make that flirty-face four times as often.Men’s photos are most effective when they look away from the camera and lame got us all excited. In terms of getting new messages, the My Space shot is the single most effective photo type for women.We at first thought this was just because, typically, you can kind of see down the girl’s shirt with the camera at that angle—indeed, that seems to be the point of shot in the first place—so we excluded all cleavage-showing shots from the pool and ran the numbers again.No change: it’s still the best shot; better, in fact, than straight-up boob pics (more on those later). The male “Ab Shot” has the same reputation as the My Space Shot—it’s an Internet cliché that supposedly everyone thinks is only for bozos.