Instagram and Dating Apps - On Photographers
Is a professional photographer right for you?
When it comes to Instagram and dating apps, guys spend 99% of their time discussing 1% of the things that matter. They talk about openers, the culture of online dating, the best cities for Tinder, the ideal cities for meeting women, texting, what to include in their profile, and how to handle a situation when a girl becomes unresponsive.
However, these topics collectively make up only about 1% of what's truly important in online dating.
What constitutes the remaining 99%? There's just one crucial factor: your photos.
Millions of posts and searches about Instagram and dating apps exist, yet surprisingly, very few address the significance of photos. This oversight completely misses the point and indicates a lack of understanding when it comes to the game. Many guys continue to believe that a few clever lines are enough to attract a line of eager women, which is far from the truth.
In my opinion, professional photos, may be a game changer for you.
Laugh if you want, but online game is the real deal. Models, actresses, and hot, horny 19-year-old college girls around the globe are using Tinder, Hinge, Bumble, and Instagram to get laid. If you want to fuck them, you need to get your shit together. That selfie from the bar in 2019 just isn't going to cut it; I don’t care how clever your bio is.
You're likely blowing it with shitty photos.
So I’m going to break it down and show you why good photos matter, then walk you through getting your own high-quality photos taken.
What this is not: A debate about whether looks matter.
What this thread is: A possible avenue to look like your BEST self in photos, and why it matters.
The vast majority of guys fail to grasp that girls are emotional beings. Girls respond to emotional stimuli, and in the realm of online dating, that stimuli is primarily visual. It's not about your canned opener, your clever profile, your age, your location, or even whether you have a six-pack. It all boils down to whether or not the girl FEELS something when she first lays eyes on you.
To succeed with online dating, you must engage them visually. You need to captivate them with an intriguing image. It's not just about a picture of you doing something interesting; it's about a photo of you that inherently exudes interest. This is the crucial distinction.
It's not about saying you need to be conventionally attractive. While attractiveness certainly helps, nothing surpasses a photograph that evokes an emotion. And the best part? You don't necessarily need to be conventionally attractive to achieve that.
Let's start with an example featuring one of the least conventionally attractive individuals known: Steve Buscemi. His face may not conform to typical beauty standards, he's slender, and he may even appear like a 13-year-old trapped in a 65-year-old's body, or vice versa. Regardless, he's succeeded in his own way.
All of a sudden, the individual previously considered the ugliest person known to humanity transforms into someone you'd actually want to meet. He exudes an air of not giving a damn about what anyone thinks of him. For a girl, he becomes a man they're eager to figure out: "Who is this guy? Why is he dressed like that? Why doesn't he fit the mold of all the other guys I know? Who took this photo?" The image becomes a catalyst for curiosity.
That's precisely what I mean by "visual stimulation." A compelling photo sets the wheels in motion. He may still be considered unattractive by conventional standards, but the photograph itself is inherently intriguing. And that's all you need to capture a girl's interest online. The fact that he's not conventionally handsome barely registers in her mind because he's made her FEEL something. In this case, it's intrigue. How could you not want to learn more about this guy after seeing that photo?
While game remains crucial, it won't matter if you can't initially captivate girls. Here's what most guys tend to look like online:
I can hear the pussy drying up from here. Looks like the most boring, average crew of guys out there. They might not be, but their photos won't get any girls hooked.
Let’s contrast this with another photo of the infinitely ugly Steve Buscemi:
That is a cool looking dude! His presence is dominating, he looks different than other guys out there, he’s dressed well, his expression is intriguing, and most importantly: he’s not trying too hard. He’s just a cool looking motherfucker and you can feel his vibe through the image.
With a photo like that, do you think his online dating profile would need a witty bio? Or a clever high-energy opening line? No way. That shit is irrelevant, because in that one single photo, he looks more interesting than every other guy in a 50 mile radius.
So let’s recap:
- Girls are emotional creatures.
- Therefore, you have to hook girls emotionally.
- Online, the only way to do that is visually.
- Therefore, you need photos that are visually interesting and evoke emotion.
- Game and building attraction comes in after you have hooked them; just like the real world. But if you don’t hook, you don’t have an opportunity to build attraction.
Conclusion: GET PROFESSIONAL PHOTOS!
Hopefully, you’re convinced that you don’t need to be a model to look interesting in photos. If Steve Buscemi can do it, so can you.
Naturally, you need a good photographer to get good photos. A lot of guys think “professional photos” means getting your headshot taken like you did for the college yearbook, with a photographer who is 60 years old and overweight. That’s NOT what I’m talking about here. I’m also NOT talking about photoshop, deceiving photos, digital manipulation, etc.
I'm talking about photographers who can bring out your best qualities in a single image. Photographers that are fashionable themselves and that pay attention to modern trends in style and imagery, since that is their job. It's not easy, but there are capable photographers in every city in the world. Instagram has lowered the perceived value of photographers, but you still can't beat a professional at his own game.
Types of photos you can get:
It’s important that your photos are congruent with your personality. The Steve Buscemi example is a good example for someone who is naturally introverted, mysterious, etc.
But maybe that’s not your style. Maybe you are a high-energy guy, or a nerdy guy, and so you need to get images that reflect your vibe and aren’t projecting a fake version of you.
How to find a photographer:
You don't want a traditional “portrait photographer.”
You do want a Fashion or a Lifestyle photographer. Fashion portraits are what you mostly see in Calvin Klein ads and similar campaigns. Lifestyle portraits are what you see in magazines and high-quality IG profiles. By definition, lifestyle portraits are portraits that tell a story about a person and showcase their lifestyle (or create scenes to depict an attractive lifestyle). Those are the photographers you want to have because a photo that tells a story is a photo that evokes emotion in girls, whether that be interest, laughter, intrigue, etc. The important thing is that the photo conveys something about you.
As I mentioned, these types of photographers can be found in every city in the world. Google is the easiest way to find them: Type in [your city] + "lifestyle photographer." You can also look on Airbnb Experiences and find people who offer photoshoots around the city. They typically know the best spots for great photos. Another option is to search Instagram for photographers. You can use hashtags such as #[yourcity]photographer/s. Click on several profiles and find a photographer whose work you find interesting. Read their "about me" section and browse through their work page to decide if this person is someone you would get along with for a couple of hours.
Pick up a couple of issues of GQ or Esquire, and determine if the photographer you're considering could produce the high-quality work seen in these magazines. Alternatively, think about how you would appear in one of their photos and decide if that style suits you. If their work doesn't meet your expectations, find someone else.
Once you find someone, email or send them a message, and express what you admire about their work. Photographers, like the rest of us, have egos, and if they know you took the time to explore their portfolio, they will likely treat you as more than just another client. Then, let them know you are looking to enhance your online dating profile or improve your IG profile and that you want photos that highlight your best qualities. If you're not comfortable mentioning dating apps, simply inform them that you need photos for your social media accounts, blog, website, without mentioning dating apps.
How much it's going to cost you:
For 3-5 final photos and 2 outfit changes, you're looking at $250-$375 in second-tier cities (Boston, Seattle, S.F., etc.) and $400-$600 in first-tier cities (NYC/LA/Miami). Many photographers will do it much cheaper, with $150-$200 being a rate from a lesser-known photographer.
If you're in a foreign city, you have the opportunity to leverage your dollars, and many photographers will do shoots for $50-$80.
That money will get you 2 hours with a photographer in a mutually agreed location, and you'll end up with 3-5 high-quality digital photos, free to use as you wish. Some of you might say, "That's expensive. Can't I just hire a college student to do the photos?" Of course, you can! You can also order a salad at Burger King, but don't be disappointed if it doesn't meet your expectations.
What to expect before the shoot:
You and your photographer will talk about what you want out of the portraits, as that influences the results.
Turn to them for ideas on a location for the shoot. They should have their city on lockdown, and they’ll know where to take you.
What to expect during the shoot:
During the shoot, the photographer will tell you how to pose, where to sit, whether or not to smile, etc. Just show up, and they’ll do the heavy lifting here. You don’t have to be a model and do crazy poses, they’ll quickly feel you out and decide what is going to look best for your vibe and personality.
Questions to ask the photographer before you hire them:
- What is the final cost, and how many digital images will I receive?
- How many outfit changes will be possible?
- How should I prepare for the shoot (grooming, clothing, props, etc.)?
- How many locations will we use for the shoot?
- What types of portraits will you capture (e.g., full length, headshot, seated, standing, etc.)? Variety is usually preferred.
- Will you have an assistant with you?
- How long is the expected duration of the shoot?
- What types of clothing (color, patterns, styles, etc.) should I consider wearing?
- What if I am dissatisfied with the photos?
- Will you share the photos in your portfolio? (Many photographers showcase recent work on their social media, but if you're uncomfortable with this, it's best to clarify from the outset.)
These are all valid questions, and the answers will help you decide whether to hire that photographer for the shoot.
I know a lot of you are probably still skeptical. Or you think getting photos taken is lame, or corny, or that you don’t need to do it.
If you want to make those arguments, then that’s fine. Go ahead and do what every other guy is doing, and report back your results. I’m sure they will be average.
But, if you want to have girls *opening you* online, and if you want those girls to be attractive, then go get professional photos taken.
The money spent will directly pay dividends in the form of pussy. And you can't find a better investment than that!
In the age of iPhones with three cameras and affordable prosumer cameras, you may consider taking the opportunity to create photos on your own. Personally, I hire photographers for events and parties when I don't want to do the work, but if you have savvy and like-minded friends, you can always take those pictures yourself.
*Instead of writing multiple individual substack articles on this subject, I have combined them all into a 50 page PDF/Course that can now be purchased on Gumroad.