How Do Tinder Smart Photos work?
You’ve probably heard of Tinder, the dating app that lets people in your area swipe left or right on your photo to indicate whether they’re interested in making a match. If you swipe right on them as well, Tinder sets you up with a messaging app and you can explore your new relationship. Of course, one of the most important elements in whether someone swipes right on you is the photo that you have in the app – a great photo will attract a lot more right swipes than a mediocre one. But of course, defining a “great” photo isn’t always so easy. Is it one where you’re smiling? Where you’re out of doors? Where you’re socializing with friends? Everyone has an opinion but nobody really knows.
That’s why Tinder introduced their Smart Photos feature a couple of years back. If you turn Smart Photos on, instead of you picking what you think your best photo is, Tinder instead randomly shows a picture from your photo set each time someone views your profile. Tinder then collects data on which initial photos generate the most right-swipes, and then sets your best-performing picture as the picture that it usually shows to a new user. The idea is to let the performance of your actual photos decide which photo to show first.
How Tinder Smart Photos works
In theory, Tinder Smart Photos makes sense. It analyzes all the swipes you get, what image was being displayed at the time and selects the image that gets the most right swipes to be your main picture. It uses machine learning to do all this work in seconds so every single interaction is used to provide the data.
Tinder Smart Photos alternates the images it shows on newer profiles and tracks which image gets the most right swipes. It builds this data over time and gradually refines the image order until you have the highest performing images appearing first when someone views profiles you are included in.
The idea is that the algorithm will always present your most ‘successful’ image first in order to become more successful on the app. If Smart Photos changes your main image, you will see a notification the next time you log in. You should also see a different image on your profile pic on your login page.
You can turn off Smart Photos in the settings section if you don’t like what it is doing.
The flaw in Tinder Smart Photos
There is one potential limitation in the system’s accuracy, because of the way that some people make choices on Tinder. Not everyone uses Tinder in the same way. For example, when I used the dating app I would look at all of the images first and swipe at the end. A few people I know, both male and female, do the same thing.
This means the Smart Photos data the algorithm gets from users like me is skewed. I don’t swipe right on the best image. I check them all out first. I then read the profile if I like what I see and then swipe. Either way, I tend to swipe left or right on the final image, rather than the best image.
While probably a tiny percentage of all of the swipes that happen each day on Tinder, those users like me who swipe on the last image instead of the best are not generating the right kind of data to give you the best chance of success.
Taking smarter photos for Tinder
Smart Photos can certainly help you out, but rather than trying to pick the best photo out of a mixed bag, I think it is better to take your fate in your own hands and make sure every one of your Tinder images is a showstopper. Here are a few top tips for taking smarter photos for Tinder.
Mix smart and casual
Include one image with you in casual dress and one of you in your work or smart clothes. Some people prefer seeing profile pictures of someone looking relaxed and casual while others prefer more formal. Cover both areas with an image of each. If you look good in a suit, wear one!
Smile or not?
I tend to use my own personal bias and say smile in Tinder pictures but not everyone agrees. Smiling is engaging and draws the eye. Men like to see women smile while women aren’t quite so choosy. A more straight look with no eye contact, or more flirty look directly into the camera can also work.
Much depends on your face and whether you look best with a smile or with a different expression. Ask friends and family what they think, or experiment and see which you prefer.
To pet or not to pet?
Without wanting to pander to gender stereotypes, there are definitely those who respond better to pictures with animals. However, most of us have seen hundreds of cute kittens or puppies in dating profiles so it can work against you. If you have a great looking pet and it can bring out the best in you, feature it. If it doesn’t, don’t.
Quality is everything
Finally, selfies are so last year and should never feature on a dating app, especially one as competitive as Tinder. Always use a good quality camera and get someone else to take the pictures. If you can afford or justify the cost, pay a professional to take them for you. The results really will speak for themselves.
Tinder Smart Photos doesn’t guarantee success, just the potential of an increase in right swipes. It is entirely up to you whether you use the feature or not but I would say everything is worth trying once even if you don’t end up using it.
Have you used Tinder Smart Photos? Did it work for you? Tell us about your experiences below!