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How Do Tinder Smart Photos work?

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. Swiping right indicates you’re interested in matching with someone and swiping left means you are not interested in matching with them.

If you swipe right on them and they swipe right on you, then you have a match! When there’s a match, Tinder enables messaging so you can message your new match to get the conversation started, and possibly schedule a date.

Of course, one of the most important elements in whether someone swipes right on you are the photos that you have uploaded to your Tinder profile – great photos will attract a lot more right swipes than a mediocre photo. But of course, defining a “great” photo isn’t always so easy. Is it one where you’re smiling? Where you’re outdoors? Where you’re socializing with friends? Everyone has an opinion but nobody really knows.

That’s why Tinder introduced their Smart Photos feature a few years ago. 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 potential date who sees your profile.

The idea is to let the performance of your actual photos decide which photo to show first. That is, instead of guessing which photo’s the best choice, you left potential dates decide on which picture should be the primary profile photo. If one particular photo inspires more potential dates to swipe right on your profile, then that photo should be your primary profile photo. Essentially, the best photo wins when Smart Photo’s turned on in Tinder.

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 needed to determine which photo is the best.

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. Because of Smart Photo you can experiment ese

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.

Smart Photo is Perfect for testing and experimentation with photos

The great thing about Smart Photo is you do not have to know which photos are the best. You can add photos and let Smart Photo sort out which photo gets you the most right swipes. Your intuition on which photo or type of photo’s the best may or may not be correct. Don’t guess, test the photo against other photos using Smart Photo,

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!

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6 thoughts on “How Do Tinder Smart Photos work?”

Jeff says:
After using Smart Photos, how do you SEE which of your own photos are the BEST. I want to weed out my worst photos and replace them with new ones.
Olav says:
I honestly think you are underestimating the data scientists at Tinder. I’m pretty sure smart photos is a lot “smarter” than just recording what image you were viewing when you swiped right (or left). I would at least assume that what they test for is what initially show image has the biggest potential for EVENTUALLY getting you a right swipe. In other words the one most likely to make someone interested enough to browse more photos of you, potentially read your bio and then at some point swipe right.

That said there is no reason why the algorithm should not be able to even account for the entire sequence of you photos (not saying it does – but it surely could).

eastpaw says:
That’s not how skewing works. Your swiping behaviour constitutes random error, and with a large enough sample size the algorithm can still work.

Of course if the base assumption is wrong – if the majority of people do not swipe right on the best picture – then the algo fails badly.

Rhianne says:
Funnily enough, if I see photographs that are obviously pro or staged, it creates the impression that the other person is narcissistic and self-involved.

That being said, it’s my preference and prefer people who are genuine. The point is, polish your own profile if that’s the kind of person you’re after, don’t follow a formula because that will only net you formulaic matches.

Teresa says:
Hello everybody,

I have seen some my profile pictures on my profile that i have NOT upload.
Is it possible or not? I have the function “smart photos” on.
Thank u

Björn says:
I paid the professional. The result is that tinder needs them chopped into squares, which literally gets the watermark cropped in half.

And now it looks like stolen from stock.

jan says:
next time maybe choose a photographer who doesnt insist on a watermark… those who do usually arent professionals anyway

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Jun 5, 2019

963 Articles Published