The Dating Game

I don’t have any experience with online dating. Lanny and I met at the dawn of the world wide web, before meeting someone online was even an option. Yes, we’re that old.

Despite my inexperience, however, last week one of my best friends asked me to help her with her online dating profile. It didn’t take me long to realize that there are two really big and obvious similarities between online dating profiles and photography websites. The similarities are striking, in fact.

  1. One bad photograph can taint the entire profile/website. We were looking at a fairly good-looking dude named Mike. Mike was the coach of the local hockey team. Mike was the perfect age bracket. Mike had a great job and looked like a great father. He looked like the perfect match…. Until… Until we got to the last photo. It wasn’t even that bad a photo. It was in focus, exposed correctly, but his expression made him look like a serial killer. Normally, you would just scroll past this photo, and not give it another look. But, when you’re looking at someone you’re potentially going to date (or a photographer you’re potentially going to hire), ONE mediocre photo, even in the context of many good ones, can taint the whole pot. A week later, the only photo I remember from Mike’s profile, is the serial killer one.
  2. People are so intent on appealing to the masses that their write-ups are boring as fuck. Our natural tendency is to think that if we fit in people will like us. But, on an online dating profile, or a photography website, if you fit in too much, people will just ignore you. You become invisible. There’s a difference between someone who likes to go lake swimming vs. someone who likes to go skinny dipping in glacier-fed lakes under a full moon. Give me a glimpse into your weirdness. What makes you, you. It will turn off some people. But, you’re not looking for some people. You’re looking for the right person. The right person will bring out the best in you (your best work). Spend more time than you think necessary attracting the RIGHT people. These right people, whether you’re dating them or they’re hiring you to photograph your family will make you a better version of yourself. Don’t appeal to the masses. Appeal to the one person you want to get to know more. Remember, you’re going for quality, not quantity.

As the saying goes, there are plenty of fish in all of the seas. You only need to find the right ones for you. And for the rest, well, you could do as my good friend and fellow photographer Kirsten Lewis did when she was dating, reach out to the Mikes of the world and offer them a free session.

Love, Erika

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