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The Short Version: Impersonal, awkward, or overly edited dating profile pictures can be off-putting to potential partners, but getting the perfect profile pic doesn’t need to involve airbrushing or odd angles. Hey Saturday offers singles one-on-one photo sessions for singles that emphasize their personality and authenticity. The team encourages daters to wear their favorite clothes, hang out in their favorite spots, and show off what makes them unique.
A profile picture can be everything in online dating. According to a recent survey, 58% of respondents said they wouldn’t even consider connecting with someone who doesn’t have a profile photo on an online dating site, and 38% of respondents said they would be more likely to connect with daters who had better pictures.
Saskia Nelson believes that eye-catching profile photos are all about sharing your authentic personality. Saskia is the Founder of Hey Saturday, a company that helps daters take the perfect profile photos.
“Dating profile photos that show your personality attract significantly more attention on social media apps and dating apps than regular photos,” she said.
Saskia founded Hey Saturday to help online daters create authentic representations of themselves in pictures. Hey Saturday pairs professional photographers with singles for adventurous, one-on-one photo sessions.
Those shoots don’t take place in a studio. Instead, Hey Saturday encourages clients to take photographers to their favorite spots throughout the city dressed to impress.
“I review and sign off on every single dating profile photo that goes through our agency,” Saskia told us. “And I’m delighted to see that more of our clients are showing off some unique personality elements in their photos.”
Hey Saturday books 20 to 50 photo sessions each week across its 10 U.S. and U.K. locations. Though the company has seen a slight decrease in the number of clients it serves since the COVID-19 pandemic began, bookings have remained fairly consistent.
“The dating industry seems to be one that doesn’t suffer too much when big world crises happen. When challenging or bad things happen in the world, people still want to partner up. It’s human nature,” Saskia said.
When the COVID-19 pandemic shut down major cities across the U.K. and the United States, Hey Saturday took a three-month hiatus, as well. Instead of worrying, Saskia viewed the time off as an opportunity for growth and change.
“Lockdown not only gave me a chance to take a break from constantly being on call,” she said, referencing the fact that when the U.K. finishes for the day, L.A. starts up. “It freed up my time to focus on other areas that I’d placed on the back burner for a while,” she said.
Over those three months, Saskia updated the company’s brand elements across platforms. She also made Hey Saturday’s online booking platform more user friendly and, as she puts it, “prettier to look at.”
When Hey Saturday reopened, it equipped photographers for socially-distanced, one-on-one outdoor photo sessions. The sessions aren’t significantly different from those the company offered before the pandemic, with the exception that the photographer and subject now maintain a distance of at least six feet.
But social distance doesn’t change the stunning look of the finished photos.
Hey Saturday also emphasizes a positive rapport between the client and the photographer. If a client trusts the photographer, the shoot will be more rewarding and result in better photos. Clients and photographers can still make those connections while maintaining social distance.
“I felt so much happier with the all-new Hey Saturday when we reopened after the lockdown,” Saskia said.
Singles often worry about standing out from the crowd on dating platforms, but Saskia said that people who share their personalities in photos generate a much stronger response online. After all, if you’re going to date someone, don’t you want them to know your personality?
Saskia offered tips for demonstrating who you are in a profile photo.
“The first step is to take charge of your personal brand online so that you can help craft it to showcase you in a more positive way,” she said.
For instance, she suggested showcasing standout character traits that you hope a future partner will appreciate about you.
She also suggests sharing your passions, talents, and quirks in your photos. For instance, if you’re into a specific sport, your photo session might involve that activity.
“Clothes, props, colors, and confidence all play a big part in pulling this together. We encourage clients to create a Pinterest mood board for their shoot so their photographer can get a feel for their vibe,” Saskia said.
Finally, ensure that your written profile matches your photo. You don’t want to have a lively, playful picture with a somber and serious written profile. Present yourself with a cohesive dating platform package.
Over the years, Saskia has noticed clients becoming more eager to participate in the photo session planning. And the more clients prepare for their shoot by choosing locations, outfits, and — importantly — their mood, the more worthwhile the experience.
“You’ll have the most success on dating apps if you’re willing to step out of your comfort zone. The more you are willing to tell your story, the more success you’ll have attracting the right kind of people,” said Saskia.
Online dating can sometimes feel overwhelming, and daters may think they have no control over how others perceive them. But Hey Saturday believes that daters have the power to define that perception. According to Saskia, that is because daters have control over how authentically they present themselves online.
“People shy away from expressions like ‘personal brand’ when it moves out of the sphere of work, but I think it’s a mistake to pretend that our online dating presence doesn’t have one. Your brand is there, and it’s either helping you or holding you back,” she said.
Clients also praise Hey Saturday’s individualized, enjoyable approach to photo shoots and dating profile planning.
“Wow, these photos are just fab. They are just the kind of thing I was looking for; professional but still natural. You really have a unique approach, you were pitch perfect with these,” said Toni in an online testimonial.
Beth adds, “You made me feel really comfortable on the day, putting up with all my crazy props from pineapples on my head to belly dancing attire! And you got what I was looking for — a fantastic mix of a full body shot, medium and close up shots. I would give you another hug if I could.”
As those testimonials show, creating a brand image for a dating profile doesn’t have to be intimidating. Hey Saturday wants to make these photo sessions fun. After all, preparing your profile — like online dating itself — shouldn’t be a chore.
“We want to help our clients to create compelling personality shots in the easiest, most accessible, and fun way possible. A visually compelling and authentic brand story will massively optimize your online dating experience,” Saskia said.