Are My Photos Misleading?
December 12, 2016 6:48 AM   Subscribe

Are My Photos Misleading? [Link]

Hi everyone,

I realize many of my questions deal with my deep-seated insecurities, something I'm trying to address in therapy. However, I've noticed what looks like a pattern on dating and hook-up apps. I don't use the hook-up apps for casual sex (something I'm too sensitive to handle), and try to get guys to meet me for a drink instead (not surprisingly, this hasn't been working on hook-up apps). You only get to put up one photo on these apps rather than an album. I noticed that when I put up a shirtless photo months ago, I began receiving ten times as many messages as the number I had received with a nice, regular face pic.

In the course of conversation, the other person usually asks for more pictures. I select my best ones despite not being particularly photogenic, and the other person either stops responding or says "I'm not sure we're a 100% match," or if they seemed excited, their enthusiasm fades quickly. I know that it's not healthy for me to pursue a line of thinking which dredges up my insecurity surrounding my appearance, but when this behavior happens repeatedly, it makes me wonder if I've been unintentionally engaged in "false advertising." The first five times this happened I told myself "don't read too far into it, maybe they got preoccupied with something else and so less responsive, or maybe they didn't think I was all that interested." After that, though, it seemed like this explanation just didn't hold.

The photo (see link below) which guys seem to love is the one in which I'm flexing my arm. The remaining photos are some of the face pics I send, and which seem to do me in somehow. The only thing I changed in any of these photos was lighting and color filter on my iPhone--no photoshopping or Facetuning etc. I get that a shirtless muscle pic is more likely to titillate than an ordinary face pic, but what I'm wondering is whether my FACE looks significantly different in the muscle photo, such that when guys see the face photos they think "oh wait a minute, never mind, no thanks."

[Also, I'm fully aware that I'm guilty of overanalyzing things in general. But I'm hoping to get some honest answers irrespective of my crimes. If it turns out that there is a perceived discrepancy, then it may be time to get better face shots :)]

Thanks!

The muscle flex photo is the first one in the album. The rest are face/body pics which I've sent upon request during conversation:

posted by cscott to Human Relations (32 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Also, I think you'll have to be logged into Facebook to access the link properly.
posted by cscott at 6:54 AM on December 12, 2016


I was logged in and it doesn't show up.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:58 AM on December 12, 2016 [2 favorites]


Straight-on is not particularly flattering to anyone. You're HOT. But the dirty-mirror, straight-on pics are not doing you any favors.
posted by fiercecupcake at 6:58 AM on December 12, 2016 [8 favorites]


(The link worked for me, obvs.)
posted by fiercecupcake at 6:58 AM on December 12, 2016


[Fixed the link. OP you just need to highlight the text you want to link before clinking the link button.]
posted by taz (staff) at 7:00 AM on December 12, 2016


In the course of conversation, the other person usually asks for more pictures. = doesn't this usually mean, more SEXY pictures? Others can weigh in on this, but I don't think they're looking for more pictures of your face, I think they're looking for some fun sexting time. Fair or not, a lot of people use apps to mess around, not earnestly search for dates. If you're not interested in that, sending pictures of your face is a good way to weed people out.

I also agree that most of these pictures are not super flattering- darkly lit and weirdly cropped is no one's friend.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:01 AM on December 12, 2016 [18 favorites]


Yea that first pic is the only one thats on that side and slightly in profile and you've nailed it - theres a photoshoot jawline going on there as well as lighting reminiscent of one of those slightly grimy magazine shoots. The other shots are not so flattering, maybe take a few more trying to recapture that angle.

I think in the first pic - you ended up doing this .
posted by Ness at 7:04 AM on December 12, 2016 [2 favorites]


Granted I haven't examined each photo super closely, but from a quick look, I really can't imagine these people are rejecting you because they don't like your looks from the second photos, and if that's the case, then they are SUPER picky. Are you interacting with them after sending the follow-up pics? Maybe they are sensing some of your (self-admitted) insecurities from those follow-up interactions and that is what causes them to back away, not the photos. Maybe they are also sensing that you are not looking for a quick hook-up so that is also why they are backing away.

I really wish you believed how good-looking you are, and didn't get so hurt by perceived rejections. At the same time, I relate, because I am much the same way as you.

best of luck.
posted by bearette at 7:23 AM on December 12, 2016 [3 favorites]


You look like the same (really handsome/hot/cute/whatever, I'm getting myself into trouble because I'm a happily-partnered guy) in all of them. I think your insecurity is definitely showing in your worry, but that's okay. We all have hangups about our appearance.

I think when you send something after a shirtless photo that's more clothed, that's probably not what they're looking for. Maybe a couple more pics of your face, still well within PG-13 territory, where you're still giving a bit of flesh without giving away the store would keep 'em interested. Though your clothed pictures are just fine, as well.
posted by xingcat at 7:24 AM on December 12, 2016 [4 favorites]


Some are poorly lit and fuzzy. The one where your hair is spikey and the cat one.
posted by k8t at 7:25 AM on December 12, 2016


Your face doesn't look different but the muscle photo you seem to be getting attention for has more/emphasized facial hair. I'm just a cis straight lady, but I am hypersensitive to when men in my eye candy gallery (sorry, coworkers) trim or shave their facial hair and, in my opinion, loose ground in the sexy department. Also, you have magnificent eyebrows; you could get better lit photos (do you live underground?) to emphasize that feature.
posted by Drosera at 7:38 AM on December 12, 2016


In this stranger's opinion, the first one works because of the hat. You're an attractive guy, but it looks like you're about a month overdue for a barber in most of these.
posted by roger ackroyd at 7:41 AM on December 12, 2016


Others can weigh in on this, but I don't think they're looking for more pictures of your face, I think they're looking for some fun sexting time. Fair or not, a lot of people use apps to mess around, not earnestly search for dates. If you're not interested in that, sending pictures of your face is a good way to weed people out.

This s 100% my thinking. There is nothing at all wrong with how you look (tho other people have good advice about how to make photos even better) but that you're not reading the room about what people are looking for when they ask for more pix.
posted by jessamyn at 7:44 AM on December 12, 2016 [16 favorites]


but it looks like you're about a month overdue for a barber in most of these.

Good god, no. See, that's the problem with questions like this: everyone has different taste. I think you're super hot and cute and I LOVE YOUR HAIR.

That said, I do agree with those who are saying that, with the hook-up apps you're using, responders are wanting you to send more sexy-time pics. They want to hook up for sexy times. That's the purpose of the apps.

And seriously, sweetie, you're gorgeous.
posted by cooker girl at 7:56 AM on December 12, 2016 [2 favorites]


I think there are 2 things going on:

Firstly - when they ask for more pictures, they want sexy pictures, more body shots - they want to see if you're as buff as the first picture suggests.

Secondly - in previous questions you mention being "ethnic" and I don't think that comes across in your shirtless picture but it does in your other face pics. (I know that shouldn't be a problem but people are assholes)

...also, your pictures aren't great quality - can you not have a friend help you take some better pics?
posted by missmagenta at 7:57 AM on December 12, 2016 [3 favorites]


Am I right in assuming you're gay and it's dudes asking for more pics? Then yeah, they want to see your body, or your body + face, not just your face. That said, the only really good pics (IMO) are the kitten ones and you in front of a curtain (omg holy shit, your bedroom eyes!). The rest of them are not good lighting/photography/boring.

Also, your looks vary widely depending on your expression - I'd assume some of them are not the same person, but a relative! So it's possible they are thinking you've swiped someone else's pics, e.g. the body pic is someone else's, but the faces are you. But don't let that make you feel insecure, cause trust me, you've got it going on, you just need better photos. (Again, that curtain one... !!!)
posted by AFABulous at 8:15 AM on December 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


It's really uncomfortable to say, but are you aware that you pass for a tanned white guy in the first shirtless picture and not so much in the other ones?

It's possible that you are matching with racists who you are better off without. You look great.
posted by 256 at 8:19 AM on December 12, 2016 [15 favorites]


And yeah, because white guys are assholes, your muscle pic looks less "ethnic" than the rest. I think it's the lighting + hat + your expression. The other hat pics look less "ethnic" too but I can't explain why. (I'm assuming you aren't limiting your dating pool to just your ethnicity.)
posted by AFABulous at 8:24 AM on December 12, 2016


The photos are fine; they’re just asking for more because they want to see more skin, and you’re not providing that so they lose interest. And many of them are literally just collecting photos and don’t actually want to meet up (with anyone, not just with you).

(And yeah, some of them are probably racist. Sucks but it’s true.)
posted by metasarah at 8:38 AM on December 12, 2016


Everyone has given you great advice but as a veteran of such sites (though not super recently, though I doubt they've changed much), this stuck out to me:

I know that it's not healthy for me to pursue a line of thinking which dredges up my insecurity surrounding my appearance

is something you shouldn't ever, ever forget. Yes, you're handsome and, yes, you could probably stand for some better quality picture of your handsomeness too, but to judge yourself -- or even how others perceive you -- based on the responses of gay dudes on hook-up sites is a path to madness.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:49 AM on December 12, 2016 [4 favorites]


I think it might be a racial issue. Sad to say. We know from dating site science research ethnic minorities are passed over compared to white males. In your shirtless pic you look like a tanned white male. In your kitten pic you look somewhat that way still..maybe just a guy from spain. In your other pics you look like an ethnic mix..indian maybe or arab.
posted by TestamentToGrace at 8:57 AM on December 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


Straight married white lady here so my opinion is probably not super important but I would agree with what others are saying. You're totally attractive, objectively so. Dudes either want a dick pic or a white guy, one of which is your call and the other of which is a pretty clear good riddance.
posted by masquesoporfavor at 9:44 AM on December 12, 2016 [2 favorites]


Secondly - in previous questions you mention being "ethnic" and I don't think that comes across in your shirtless picture but it does in your other face pics. (I know that shouldn't be a problem but people are assholes)

Seriously, it's racism. You look like a white dude with dark features in your shirtless first pic, and like a not-white-enough dude in your other pics.

You are definitely absolutely super good looking, it has zero to do with that.

I'm sorry people suck.
posted by phunniemee at 9:47 AM on December 12, 2016 [4 favorites]


I don't use the hook-up apps for casual sex (something I'm too sensitive to handle)

I just want to say that it is totally OK not to want to do casual sex and that it is possible to be sex-positive and totally cool with being gay and still not want to do casual sex. Not everyone is wired for that and it doesn't make you "too" anything. It's not better to want casual sex or better to want to get to know someone first, those are just different ways of being and it's easiest if people meet up with other people who are the same as them in that respect.
posted by needs more cowbell at 9:55 AM on December 12, 2016 [4 favorites]


Very helpful advice here. Thanks so much, guys!
posted by cscott at 10:36 AM on December 12, 2016


Wow, the photo of you that everyone likes looks like a men's fragrance ad. I agree with others who said guys probably want more of this kind of thing -- the super slickness and glamour, the promise of sheer gorgeous fantasy this photo creates.

The other photos are more like, "This is what I look like after the shoot." People who are interested in you personally (your friends) will want to see all of these moods, and not everyone loves super-slick photography. But the guys on the site you use are apparently responding to the slick magazine-ad gorgeousness pouring out of you in that one photo.

So it won't necessarily weed out the guys who just want to collect your photos, but why not spring for a portfolio session with a photographer whose work you like? It would be fun to have a lot of super-stunning photos of yourself in a range of moods and styles.

You could definitely have a career as a model!
posted by cartoonella at 10:38 AM on December 12, 2016


Lose the pics that are out of focus.

Photography needs light. Pictures taken in bright light are usually better than the same shot in low light, unless some special effect is desired.

Ask what kind of pic you correspondent wants. Ask them for a pic to see what they think is good.
posted by SemiSalt at 11:45 AM on December 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


I came in here to preach about the racial angle. Between your name, and your first picture, some of these guys are assuming "white." If the dating apps you are using allow it, you might want to be upfront about your racial background just so you don't have to deal with interacting with racists at all.

The other thing is that while you are a cutie regardless, your three hat pictures reflect a very different personality than the other closeups. I am grateful everyday that I don't have to use dating apps, but if I did, I know that I (personally) wouldn't bother to click on mirror-flexing cscott, but I'd want to get to know adorkable mussy-hair kitten cuddler cscott.

But, the dating scene being how it is, it stands to reason that more skin == more initial interest. So, maybe to hook more of the kinds of guys who want to get to you know you you could change your main pic to something that gets your silly side across better?
posted by sparklemotion at 12:16 PM on December 12, 2016 [4 favorites]


First: wow. You are seriously, dreamily gorgeous. That pic with the cat. Oh my god. I understand that you have insecurities and this may be hard to hear, but you are a seriously beautiful man.

So, I'm gonna agree with most of the above commenters that this is a combination of a.) racism, and b.) the kinds of people who respond to a muscle pic like that expecting sexting. Like, they're hoping for dick pics, and they get that picture of you snuggling with the cat looking like an amazing boyfriend to wake up to in the morning and make breakfast with, aka someone they don't have their shit together enough to actually date because they're operating on an Anthony Weiner hookup seeking level.

To beanplate this: I clicked on your link before reading your entire question, and went "hmm" at the shirtless picture, and assumed the Ask about misleading photos I was about to read would be, "Do the pictures I have up make me look like a douchebag?" There is a serious douche/dudebro vibe to that first picture that isn't there in any of the rest, and I thougt you were going to ask about why you were getting responses from a bunch of guys who were themselves assholes or thought you were one. Which might be what is actually happening when you use this photo on these apps.

I think what you said about being too sensitive for casual hookups is actually pretty evident in all the face photos of you except the muscle shot and the one with sunglasses. Your default expression is very open, you have what people refer to as "soft eyes" (this is a huge compliment btw), and you're willing to be earnest and vulnerable for the camera. This is a huge plus for anyone seeking out a real relationship, but will scare away people who just wanna bone. So the shirtless pic IS false advertising in a way-- not because it makes you look more attractive than any of your other pictures, but because it shows someone with a very different personality. Good luck.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 12:18 PM on December 12, 2016 [2 favorites]


Ugh, that comment sounds super creepy on reread, sorry. To recap tho: arm flexing pic makes you look like a douchebag who will attract other douchebags, other face pics make you look like an emotionally available person who will not appeal to people who are just looking to sext or hook up.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 12:28 PM on December 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


I thought of one more thing. I assume that since you are not looking for casual hookups, you say this in your profile. In my experience, a lot of people say that in their profiles, but if you ask for a second picture, you get a dick pic which assumes something casual and then away you (can) go.

Who knows why? Maybe they want to be the kind of person who doesn't do casual hookups but can't resist the temptation. Maybe they want to attract the kind of guy who aren't into casual hookups and use this as a baited hook. Maybe they are worried what their friends who use the same site might thing.

Whatever the reason, when they ask for more pictures and you (presumably) aren't sending them dick pics, they assume that you are telling the truth in your profile. And that might lead to them discovering you aren't "a 100% match."

I'm not saying that many of the other (shitty) reasons people have given here might not also be true. But to get back to my point earlier, it could be any number of these things. Best thing is to have accurate pictures and continue with you being you. Also, if you're finding these hook-up apps affecting your mental health negatively, consider taking a break. When it stops being fun, it becomes increasingly hard to find any.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:45 PM on December 12, 2016 [2 favorites]


Yes, the first photo is misleading. It is the pic of someone ready and willing to hook up. They only other one that might possibly be in the same category is the one with sunglasses.

I think, as others have suggested, racism also plays a role. Especially if you are sending the one of you carrying the Pakistani Flag.

I think folks are also correct that "more pics?" on Grindr or Scruff means nudes.

Attempting to use hook up apps for hook ups requires a strong sense of self and a willingness to handle rejection.

Attempting to use hook up apps for dating/relationships requires a impervious armor for your ego, and a complete disregard for rejection. You are looking for one guy. If 10,000 guys reject you, it matters not, as long as the right one gives you a chance. If you can't get to a place where rejection on the app is immaterial to you, you might want to consider not using the apps.

That said, more than a decade ago, as an overweight, balding 40 year old, I found my current husband, who is 20 years my junior, on an online hook up site, so anything is possible.
posted by hworth at 9:00 PM on December 12, 2016 [4 favorites]


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