Ask Wendy

Help Me with Online Dating Photos

Friday, July 21, 2017
Hi Wendy,

I’m an online dater. Even though I always check the box on my profile that says BBW or large size, I'm not sure they realize what they're getting into because I photograph well. And I can't bring myself to post the really bad full body pics. Help!

Tanya L. ~ Sacramento, CA

Hey Tanya,

I feel you. Don’t make the mistake I did early on, though. I took the best body shot of me that I had, and posted it. Except that, um…it wasn’t technically a “body shot” even though my whole body was showing, because it was taken at a high angle, and I was sitting in a way that, with my legs crossed, the camera somehow missed the biggest part of my body: my belly. What the viewer saw was great legs, fantastic cleavage, and no waist. It wasn’t a true representation of what my body looks like. Don’t be me.

You’ve heard the term “catfish”? When someone says they’re someone they’re not? You know, like a 13-year-old girl claiming to be a 28-year-old supermodel, or a bored 40-something suburban dad claiming to be a hot young tech mogul.

A lesser-known term on the dating scene is “kittenfished,” which I think you might be in danger of doing (as I was for those first few weeks of my online dating experience). Kittenfished is like being catfished, but on a smaller scale. It’s when someone has the experience of you saying you’re you, but what they see (or hear) is slightly misrepresentative of who you actually are.

There’s a big difference between posting bad shots and posting “artsy” shots. Is your big, beautiful butt wedged into a chair so you can’t see three-quarters of it? That might be a little disingenuous of you—in other words, an artsy shot. Are you standing against a wall, but you’ve got your feet positioned in a way that captures your curves better than if you were to stand straight? That’s fine. The difference is the person can see where your curves start, and where they end, and where the big parts are, and where the smaller parts are, giving them the whole picture of who you are physically.

This may seem petty, but I think it’s important that we honor that many people are visual creatures, and often guys can’t help the type of body they’re primarily attracted to. You want to sort yourself right out of the way of the men who don’t want to date you so that you can focus on being all of your glorious self for the men who do. And you know those guys are out there looking for you. So show yourself—all of yourself—at the best angle, and in the best light, and in clothes that do your body a favor, but don’t trick anyone with a dishonest shot. I have been there, and when you’re standing in front of each other and he looks at you with confusion or disappointment instead of excitement and appreciation, it’s super unpleasant—for everyone.

* * Special note: Today’s photo is a spectacularly good representation of a full-body shot for online dating.

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