Photography for online dating profile in San Francisco
April 8, 2016 8:04 PM   Subscribe

I'd like to pay to have a few pictures of myself taken for online dating. I'm in SF. Where can I find someone to do this for relatively cheap?

Professional photographers charge too much for me (seems like most are in the $500 range), and I don't expect or even want that level of quality. I imagine it should be possible to find a hobbyist or art student who would spend 30 minutes taking pictures of me outside for something like $50-100? Where would I look for a person like that in SF?

One other thing to note -- I know this is part of what one would be paying a professional to handle, but I'm just not very good at being photographed. I can't force myself to smile for the camera (though I know there are mixed opinions about the effect of smiling in online dating pictures) and when I stare at the camera without smiling I have an awkward expression. So ideally I would hope to find someone who has some amount of experience photographing human subjects rather than just doing photography of any kind.

If it's relevant, I'm a straight male, ~30 years old.

Thank you for any suggestions you can provide!
posted by anonymous to Media & Arts (6 answers total)
I did this exact thing in NYC by posting an ad on Craigslist. I got far more responses than I could even handle. I asked people to include a link to their portfolio online so that I could get a sense of whether or not I felt the photographer was a good fit.

Also, I am not a good smiler in photographs, and staring straight at the camera without a smile makes you look stern indeed. So most of my photos were taken of me not looking directly at the camera.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 8:11 PM on April 8, 2016

Craigslist post with your budget and asking for a portfolio link is the way to go here. An experienced portrait shooter will have ways to put you at ease. At the worst if you're super nervous, they can surprise you into a good/flattering shot. If you can't find/afford someone to stage a nice candid looking shot, a decent head shot that looks like it could be for something like LinkedIn would be good and requires far less skill (and so should be cheaper).

And yeah, I've seen those stats too and although you didn't ask, personally I find dating profile pics of unsmiling dudes kinda creepy and trying too hard, but maybe that's just me.
posted by smirkette at 8:42 PM on April 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

Check out and see if you can find someone in your area.
posted by madman at 10:07 PM on April 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

RE smiling: I automatically reject people who don't have any smiling photos. I want to have fun with them, and they don't look like any fun.

You may want to bring a couple different shirts to the photo session, to make it look like different photos were taken at different times.
posted by metasarah at 4:35 AM on April 9, 2016

This may be obvious, but: do you have any friends who are decent photographers/have decent cameras? Whether you like the person on the other side of the lens tends to have a bearing on how relaxed you feel and look.
posted by babelfish at 7:40 AM on April 9, 2016

The reason you can't find a pro for less is that pros cannot afford to have any picture go out the door with their name on it that isn't perfect. So really you are paying them to travel to a scenic location (actually several, because you said you wanted different pictures, right?), work with you to figure out what you want, take the pictures, look through the 500 images to find the few best ones, and finally process and send them to you, plus collect payment. That's not a 30 minute job, and it's also not a low-skill job. Not that you should spend $500 to get decent pictures, you should probably do what everybody else does and ask a friend with a good amateur eye for photography and preferably an SLR with a portrait lens. Maybe if your question wasn't anonymized you might find someone here. If you have no friends who will do this for you, then probably you want to put a post on Craigslist and start sorting through the dross.
posted by wnissen at 2:57 PM on April 11, 2016

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