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  The Personal Ads Picture

In a personal ad, a picture can be important.  In fact, statistics show that personal ads with pictures are read eight times more frequently than ads without pictures.  So a picture is important.  That said, I’d like to offer some tips about the picture you post in your personal ad.

For starters, assume nothing.  I know an extremely beautiful woman who likes overweight men with nice eyes.  She says that thin guys don’t look “rugged enough.”

Point is, you never know what will turn a person on.  So don’t assume that you’re too old, too ugly, too fat, or too anything.

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When we are bombarded with images of “beautiful” models, actors, and actresses, we assume that this is what beautiful people look like.  Nonsense.  Lighten up on yourself and be real.  Look around.  Most people don’t look like Brad Pitt.  Few do.  But so what?  Most of these actors, actresses, and models are insecure, neurotic messes.

Sure, Julia Roberts is pretty.  But would you want to be the miserable, pathetically insecure, marriage wrecking human being she is?  Do you want to be as gorgeous and adored as someone like Elvis Pressley, only to be so unhappy that you self-destruct and virtually kill yourself at age 42?  Would you want to be one of the fashion models who throws her meals up and looks grotesquely unhealthy?

The world is littered with “beautiful” people who are utterly miserable.  Be happy with what you have — no matter what you look like — and remember that happiness comes from within.

Okay, despite all that I just said, I am still going to say that your picture is important and you want to look as good as you can.  I just don’t want you to be neurotic about it.  In any case, let’s discuss how to present the best looking you that we can.  Here’s what I do to get the best possible picture of myself …

I start by taking around twenty pictures of myself.  Sound crazy?  It probably is.  Anyway, I set up a tripod with a 35mm or digital camera and take a bunch of pictures of myself.  Digital cameras are easier since you get instant results, although 35mm cameras produce sharper images.

Either way, I take a lot of pictures.  I take them at different angles, too.  Straight on, head tilted, looking a bit to the side, etc.  This vastly increases the chances of getting a picture which best presents “your good side.”  If none of the pictures produce a result I like – – which has happened to me — then I do it all again and take more pictures.

Once I find a picture I like, I’m not done.  The next step is photo touch-up.  I don’t mean pasting someone else’s head on your body, or altering your picture in any dramatic way.  I simply mean tinkering with things.

I use a photo editing program (they come as free software on most PCs or can be downloaded online for free).  I first try altering contrast and brightness.  This can often make a huge difference.  For instance, let’s say you have a large nose.  By increasing the brightness, the outline of your nose will lessen and your overall picture will look better.  I like to look at this as presenting yourself in a better light.

I also try other things out.  If I increase the sharpness, do I end up looking better?  What if I decrease the sharpness by softening the picture up?  Mess around with things — you can almost always get yourself to look better.  Also, when editing a picture always work on a copy of the original picture.  This way, if things end up worse, you still have the original.

Bottom line, you look the way you look.  But you can still take numerous shots to find the best representation of you.  And you can still fool around with your best picture to see if it can look even better.

Oh, and do consider smiling.  I talked a lot thus far about selling a positive and/or happy image.  And your picture is no different.  Studies show that people respond more frequently to personal ads when the person in the personal is smiling in their picture.  And they should respond more — a smile conveys a fun, enjoyable person.

I realize all the effort I suggest might sound overboard.  But your picture and the contents of your ad are competing with other personal ads, and it’s usually a lot of ads.  Be willing to do the work up front to produce a good picture and to create a great personal ad, and you vastly increase your chances of success.


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