You know the saying... A picture is worth a thousand words.
This is especially true when it comes to online dating sites.
Like it or not, we are visual beings. That's why it is so important to have a great picture representing the real you online.
It is the key for opening the door to being contacted on dating sites.
Start by making sure whatever pictures you post show you smiling. No sour faces allowed. This is especially true for women. Men love a woman's smile and it's often the first thing they will notice about you.
Another hint for ladies -- don't post pictures wearing clothes that are overly sexy or men will think you are looking for a sex partner, not a relationship.
The next seven rules apply to both men and women. Use them as a guide that can make or break your online dating experience.
1. Do post at least two to four pictures of yourself.
I understand how you might feel about your post-50 body these days.
So you think it's best to only post a picture of your face, thinking that once a man or woman gets to know you and like you, he or she won't care what you look like below the neck.
If you decide to meet, he or she is going to see your body anyway, so you may as well show it all upfront in a full length picture and let people decide what they want to do about it.
Your power is in determining whether or not they are worthy of dating you.
2. Do use a professional photographer or a friend who knows how to take a good casual picture.
You can get a professional picture taken for less than $100.
Using Photoshop, a pro can take a casual picture and quickly turn it into a professional one by changing the background.
A good picture will help you stand out from the rest of the pack, who usually post not-so-great photos of themselves, and it can get you noticed quicker by the people you want to date.
3. Do be the only person in the picture.
Don't post pictures that include your friends.
It's confusing to people who don't know you, trying to figure out which one you are.
You're also setting them up to be attracted to your friend instead of you. Let them find your friend in his or her own profile.
Don't post pictures with grown children, male or female friends or with your parents. Believe it or not, people will think you've posted a picture with an ex, even if he or she might be 30 years younger or older than you are.
4. Use a current picture.
This is a common complaint of both men and women at online dating sites.
I remember meeting a man at a restaurant... I had to call his cell phone to identify him because no one in the place looked like the picture of the man I'd seen online.
Make sure your picture looks like you right now.
You're not doing yourself a favor posting pictures that are older than two or three years.
5. Make sure your face fills up most of the picture frame.
The scenery might be lovely but no one wants to use a magnifying glass to get a good look at you.
6. Don't post pictures you take of yourself in a mirror.
This is tacky and no one really wants to see what your toilet looks like behind your legs.
The background of a picture says a lot about your lifestyle and who you are. Make it count.
Ask your kids or your neighbor to take a picture if you don't want to use a pro.
7. No kids or dogs as your main picture.
I love my granddaughter and I love my dog. You probably love yours too.
If you decide to put either on a dating site, make sure it's the second, third or fourth picture.
And make sure they are pictures you are in as well.
Let me know how these seven rules work for you in the comments.
Lisa Copeland is the Dating Coach who empowers strong women over 50 to attract quality men. Find out more, including her new book, The Winning Dating Formula For Women Over 50, at www.FindAQualityMan.com.