1. The Ultimate 2021 SH Guide To Tinder – Part 0: Super Basics
  2. The Ultimate 2021 SH Guide To Tinder – Part 1: Understanding Tinder
  3. The Ultimate 2021 SH Guide To Tinder – Part 2: Preparations
  4. The Ultimate 2021 SH Guide To Tinder – Part 3: Considerations
  5. The Ultimate 2021 SH Guide To Tinder – Part 4: Profile Creation
  6. The Ultimate 2021 SH Guide To Tinder – Part 5: Settings
  7. The Ultimate 2021 SH Guide To Tinder – Part 6: Swiping & Behavior
  8. The Ultimate 2021 SH Guide To Tinder – Part 7: Messaging & Beyond

Now that we understand some key details of how Tinder works behind the scenes, as well as some of its unwritten rules, i.e. code of conduct, we can deduce some necessary preparations before actually creating an account.

Pre-Signup Preparations

Phone Number

Tinder requires a phone number of every user nowadays, regardless of whether you choose to sign up by phone or Facebook account. It’s of course very likely that you have a mobile number, but just in case you don’t, or in case you’ve already used it for a different Tinder account recently, you should know that you need a real mobile phone number that is not associated with Tinder already. Google voice and similar services either outright don’t work at all, or their use tends to lead to a shadow-ban, regular ban, or issues logging in later on.

Facebook Account

If you intend to connect your Facebook account to Tinder to provide them with even more data about yourself, then the account you link should be- or look like your real profile, and it should have some friends listed. Empty accounts that look made-for-Tinder are rumored to hurt your visibility, but this may have been more relevant when phone numbers were not required and resetting Tinder was as easy as disconnecting- and reconnecting your facebook account (with deleting your Tinder account in between). Also, linking a Facebook account without friends or likes is an exercise in futility, as there’s no benefit to doing it then.

More on the pros and cons of using Facebook to connect to Tinder.

Email Address

Tinder will also ask you to provide an email address to secure your account these days. If you’d prefer to not use your “real”, or main account, or if it’s already linked to an older Tinder account, I can highly recommend ProtonMail. Not only for throwaway E-Mail addresses, but as an all-around great and privacy focused E-Mail provider. They even offer migrations from other E-Mail services now, so you could switch seamlessly.

And no, they are (unfortunately) not paying me to write that.

Selecting Ideal Profile Pictures

At the time of writing, Tinder profiles allow for up to nine pictures, video clips, and/or “prompts”.

By no means do you have to fill all of these slots. It is much better to have four great pictures, than four great pictures, 2 mediocre ones, and three terrible ones.

Ideally, you’ll follow this complete guide on selecting Tinder profile pictures, but what you do need at minimum before creating an account makes any kind of sense is the following:

  • One clear picture of your face, without any obstructions like sun glasses, or distractions like other people in the shot. That doesn’t mean it has to be a portrait, but your face has to be discernible on a phone screen, and it has to be clear you are the focus of the image. This should be your first/main picture. Many people swipe left on profiles where they can’t instantly see the person’s face, or even tell who the profile owner is.
  • One picture of you enjoying an activity or hobby, alone or with friends. This lends character to your profile and does a much better job of conveying a part of who you are than a profile text ever could. This should be somewhere in the middle. Position 2 or 3 if you only have four pictures.
  • One picture of you in a social situation where people seem to be enjoying your company. People like to know you’re not a social pariah, outcast, or hermit. If you are and have no plans of changing that, then more power to you, but you’ll get fewer likes on Tinder. If you are and do have plans of changing that, start faking it now and get someone to take a picture of you with some acquaintances in a fun setting. This should be somewhere in the middle. Position 2 or 3 if you only have four pictures, or combined with the above if you go with three. Censor your friends’ faces if they didn’t agree to be part of your Tinder profile.
  • One full body shot (including your face), preferably in a flattering light, but representative. Most people like to know the body type of a potential match before they decide to swipe right (or send a message). Yes, more attractive bodies will lead to more matches, but even if you aren’t happy with your body(-weight), you should still have a representative picture in your profile (and then start doing something to change it). Don’t resort to weird angles to hide or distort it. First of all because it’s painfully obvious, making you look insecure, and second because it doesn’t do you any good even if it works. Would you like your date to be positively, or negatively surprised when you arrive? This can be a middle or last picture. Last, if there are no further shots with your face clearly visible in them.

As for whether the pictures you have are “good”, i.e. attractive, you can check what ratings they get on Photofeeler (keeping in mind that the people rating your photos will be other people who are insecure about their own photos and unsure what makes for an attractive shot), or submit them with the rest of your planned profile for a Swipehelper Profile Review.

Getting Profile Pictures

If you don’t have at least the above described three to four good pictures, it’s probably a good idea to acquire some before creating your profile. This is not meant as an excuse to indefinitely delay that new year’s resolution to finally make a Tinder profile, but rather as encouragement to get one of the following done within the next two to three weeks, allowing for some wiggle room with scheduling and favorable weather:

  • Get a friend to take pictures of you during your next (few) activity(-ies). Preferably a friend with a good camera and good aim.
  • Hire a professional photographer. Maybe combine it with a shoot for CV pictures if one is due (separate attires and backgrounds though). Check offers for “social media-” or even “dating profile shoots”.
  • Take photos of yourself using a tripod and your phone camera’s self-timer. At least for the main face shot of you relaxing at home, this is not as hard- and much more promising than it seems at first. Outdoor shots are possible too, but may require a bit more confidence if you’re not alone on that trail. Basically, you position your phone to make it look like someone else took a picture of you while you were casually posing, but here’s a longer guide with more tips.

Videos

Tinder also offers the option of including one or more short video clips in lieu of profile pictures.

The way it works is you first choose a video from your gallery, then a one second clip from that video. That clip will then play on a loop, forwards and backwards, while viewed. Theoretically, this is another chance to get some more of your personality or mannerisms across than would be possible with mere pictures. In reality, getting a good one second video clip, that preferably doesn’t look staged, is even harder than getting a really good picture.

These clips can also take a long time to load, and impatient users will just swipe left on a profile that hasn’t loaded in a second, so if you do use video clips in your lineup, they shouldn’t take pole position.

This is something that can work out in your favor, but if in doubt, leave it out.

Bio

You’re also going to want to give some thought to your bio beforehand, though this is easily changed later on and really not as important as the pictures, that isn’t to say it doesn’t matter at all. it may very well be the deciding factor for someone who is on the fence, and having some kind of bio is better than having none, just because that would look super lazy.

When it comes to types of bios, there are a few popular strategies to pick from:

  • Casual Minimalism – if you really want to show the world that you don’t need to be here or put any effort in because you’re just that cool. “Let’s get Pizza”. This can work if you’re super hot.
  • Prompting Minimalism – find some ice breaker question online and use that as your bio, in the hopes of triggering a first message responding to your bio question. “Would you rather fight one horse sized duck, or 100 duck sized horses?”. These are usually way overdone, but can work if you’re super hot or lucky. They’ve also been made obsolete by prompts (see below).
  • One liners or puns – again, usually found online and employed in hundreds of thousands of profiles before you. Could work if you’re original and genuinely funny.
  • The “life’s story in 500 characters” – the other extreme. Trying to fit all of your interests and hobbies and characteristics into your profile is unfortunately off putting to many Tinder users, as it makes you seem boring, even if your interests are interesting. Tinder is just not that kind of classic online dating. Attention spans are short.
  • The middle ground – is what I would recommend. Show some of your personality without trying to fit everything into the tiny Tinder bio. That means mentioning one or two of your hobbies you’d be happy to invite someone along to on a date, for example. It can also mean quickly describing what you are looking for in a casual or tongue in cheek way.

Coming up with something unique and personal that makes you seem neither too desperate nor aloof is certainly one of the hardest parts of creating a great profile and unfortunately, there is no formula you can follow. Sure, you can find lots of “Great Tinder Bios Guaranteed to Triple Your Matches” online, but any actually witty and charming bio you might find is likely to have been done to death by the time you start using it and chances are it will make you seem lazy and unoriginal at best.

Sure, you can go with something easy, unoriginal or boring, and as mentioned earlier, the bio isn’t the most important part of your profile, but if you want to maximize your chances of success, you’re gonna have to come up with something good yourself. Just remember that perfection is the enemy of success, and go with something “good enough” rather than using the quest for the perfect bio as an excuse to delay creating your online dating profile. You can always change it later if you think of something better.

Prompts

Bringing Tinder yet another step further from the once simplistic concept and one step closer to classic online dating sites like OkCupid, or match.com (all three of which are incidentally owned by the match group now), you may now provide answers to prompts like “Dating me is like…”, which will take up one of your nine profile picture spots. It’s honestly not the worst idea, as it could serve as a conversation starter for whoever matches with you. On the other hand, you don’t want to overdo it (your profile should consist of more pictures than prompts), and you’re forfeiting that last position, usually reserved for the deal-closer picture.

You could of course alternate pictures and prompts, and if you really want to put some effort in, make the pictures match the prompts in topic. But that may be overkill. My advice would be to add one or two prompts as conversation starters IFF you feel they add something to your profile, but don’t feel forced to answer any.

SwipeHelper Insiders and Email Subscribers get this handy list of prompts so they can already pick some and prepare answers before starting the profile creating process, thus saving valuable time in that initial noob boost phase where every minute counts 😉

Moving on to the next part (and rest) of the series: Considerations