THE BLOG
04/05/2016 04:54 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

How to Subtly Touch-up an Online Dating Photo

Unfortunately, with online dating, people tend to judge a book by its cover. So in order to give you the best chance for survival, you have to do your best to show the most attractive and honest visual representation of yourself. People say you look like Carrot Top? No problem, he is buff, after all. I'm going to show you how easy it is to subtly touch up a photo, so you can allow your natural beauty to shine through. I'm going to use this normal photo of me below as a template.

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The first thing you’ll probably notice is a lack of arm muscles, which I plan to rectify in the near future. Also, I self-identify as a muscular man, and feel more comfortable displaying that to the world -- so this is something I might want to tweak for a more honest representation of myself in this photo. Also I'm 90% sure I had a big breakfast/lunch that day, so I'm going to push in my stomach to account for this, in the interest of photographical accuracy.
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Unfortunately, in stretching the photo to highlight the natural muscles in my arm, the desk behind me was distorted. This lends an unnatural look to the photograph. So we'll need to place something over the background so the eye isn't drawn to the distorted desk. This photo of Jackie Chan is an organic addition to the photo, that will effectively cover the desk.
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Much better. Now that we've solved the distorted desk problem, we can address the elephant in the room, for this photo: the sword. It doesn't display the "real me", and if there's anything in your photo that doesn't represent the "real you," then it's your responsibility (to your future dates) to remedy that problem. So I went ahead and removed the sword and replaced it with a less conspicuous object.
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Now that the sword is gone, this is a much better visual presentation of me than the actual photograph but now there is a large black area where the sword used to be. So I went ahead and covered it up with a copy of my existing arm, as well as a box of artisanal baked goods. If this leads someone to assume I baked those pastries or have any baking knowledge, that's on them. We are not responsible for the unsubstantiated assumptions people make when viewing our photos.
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The box and arm were a delicate and tastefully restrained addition to the photo, however there is still leftover blank space from earlier where the sword was removed. This negative space might become a distraction, drawing attention away from me in the photo, which defeats the purpose of this exercise in responsible vanity. To remedy this problem, I added a bald eagle. This effectively covers up the gap and highlights my sense of patriotism, which, prior to the eagle's appearance, was only partially alluded to through my shirt colors.
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Now we've successfully smoothed over all the imperfections and distractions in the photo, I'm noticing something that needs to be addressed before this photograph is ready to be used for online dating. The lighting of this picture makes my eyes look smaller and dull, and also makes my nose look larger and rounder. This is presumably due to an optical illusion that takes place in photography. Unfortunately I'm not a photographer, so I'm not in a position to explain this phenomenon. All I can do is correct this technical error by enlarging/brightening my eyes and reducing the size/roundness of my nose. In doing this, though, it will add a feminine quality to my face; so, in order to counterbalance this and maintain the integrity of the original photo, I'll add a masculine tattoo to my forearm. With that out of the way I've effectively allowed the real me to be on display in this photo.
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So, there you have it: in just six simple steps I was able to subtly touch up this photo of me to allow my own natural beauty to shine through. When doing this yourself, please remember that subtlety is the key; less is more. You don't want to run the risk of misrepresenting yourself and looking dishonest.
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