BY SUZANNAH WEISS
We’re not always the best judges of which photos bring out our best, which is why some real cringe-worthy clunkers appear on our dating apps and social media profiles. Fortunately, a new series of German studies published in Frontiers in Psychology has figured out the best—and worst—ways to take a selfie.
For the first study, the researchers had 172 people rate 14, 3D faces shown from different perspectives—above, below, from the left and the right at two different angles, and frontal—on their attractiveness and the inner qualities they appeared to reflect.
Your instincts may be to look straight-on at the camera, but if you do so, you might not be doing your profile any favours. In the study, the faces rated most attractive appeared tilted to the subject’s right by 15 degrees, showing the left side of their face. Faces tilted 30 degrees to the left—showing the right side of the face—were deemed more sympathetic and intelligent.
Related: Never Take a Bad Picture Again
For the second study, the researchers had 67 people rate the same faces, but they imitated selfie conditions by manipulating the photos as if they were shot using different camera tilts and rotations.
Camera tilts of 30 degrees in both directions led to higher attractiveness ratings, especially when people were rating men. Faces with the left side shown were considered slightly more attractive than those that showed the right side.
However, the ideal technique seemed to be to lift the camera and rotate it. When the camera was both elevated and tilted, people were rated as more helpful and more attractive. They were considered especially attractive when you could see the right side of the face from above.
The study’s authors weren’t sure why they saw these patterns, but other research has shown we’re better at reading emotions from the left side of faces.
So, if you’re going for a hot Tinder profile pic, you’re probably best off taking it from an angle. While the results on which angle are mixed, holding your phone up and to your right or face-level and to your left seem like good bets. Just avoid the full, straight-on deadeye stare.