Meet The Dating Expert – Saskia Nelson

We’re launching a brand new feature this week!  One of the aims of 30 Dates is to give you guys as much information about dating and relationships as possible, and I definitely don’t have all the answers.  The more involved in the London dating scene I become, the more dating experts I come across, and some of them have been lovely enough to volunteer their services to the blog.  So … going forward, we’ll be running a weekly ‘Meet the Dating Expert’, where a different dating expert will share advice and give you guys some tips for the dating jungle.

First up, it’s Saturday Night’s Alright founder Saskia Nelson!

Welcome Saskia! 🙂 

Miss Twenty-Nine xxx

Ready for your close up?

I’m delighted to be invited to take part in this new feature. I’m the UK’s only dedicated online dating photographer and work with a broad range of clients from across the country, who span all ages and all walks of life. I specialise in working with my clients to capture them at their best. Online dating is all about putting yourself out there and being up for trying new things, and having a set of good photos behind you enables you to put your best foot forwards and gives you the best chance to attract attention.

Standing out from the crowd

In the crazy world of online dating, people often make snap decisions based on very little information and a huge part of what helps them make that decision is the profile photo. According to my good friend Will, font of all knowledge, 90% of men and 68% of women decide whether to contact somebody for a date based on their profile pictures alone. So what does this mean for you? Well, it means that choosing your dating profile photos is probably the single most important thing you can do to ensure your profile stands out from the crowd. Your profile photos are like the shop window – use something eye-catching that shows you at your best and you’ll draw people in to find out more.


Recent research recommends using 3 photos at any one time and then mixing them up every month or so, meaning your profile stays fresh. So what makes good online dating photos? How can you make your photos stand out and attract people to click on your profile? There are two things you need to consider; firstly the technical bit – making sure your photo looks the best it can and secondly the fun bit, where you try and express your personality a bit to add value to your written profile.

Top tips for great photos

The technical bit – 

1. Light, bright and in focus

A quick glance at the homepage of any dating site often reveals an unattractive mishmash of poorly lit, blurry photos. Get this right and already your photo is going to draw people’s eyes straight to it.

2. Uncluttered background

The idea of dating photos is that you are the focus of the photo. Too many messy things in the background confuse people, they’re not sure what they’re looking at. And usually that’s enough to make them look away and find something more attractive to look at. Use photos like these and you could be putting them off before they’ve even given you a second look.


3. Alone time

The shots that make the cut, shouldn’t really have anyone cut out especially an ex partner. You know the ones I mean, there’s a casual arm slung across your shoulder but the rest of the person has been chopped off. Hmmm, not very enticing really is for your introduction to someone who could be ‘the one’. Avoid using photos with a few friends in it too. This tends to confuse people or they start looking at the friends and checking them out.

4. Use recent photos

All I’m going to say here is that 3 years equals 7 years in the world of online dating. Yup, it’s like dog years. Now I know as you get older, the years fly by so you may not realise just how old your photos are. Do a quick audit of the ones you’re using and figure out how old they are. If they’re older than 3 years, it’s definitely time for an upgrade.

If your photos don’t come up to scratch so far, and I’m guessing there will be a few of you thinking that, it might be time to get some more done. You don’t need a professional necessarily but, if you can, try and find a friend who’s into photography, it’ll really help you to shine.

How to get good photos if trying this at home

  • Head outdoors, where the light is good and will ensure better quality
  • Zoom out, the photo will be better quality (good quality really helps)
  • Check the background is clutter free – you’re the focus remember
  • If it’s sunny, find the shade (to avoid ugly shadows on your face)
  • Ask the photographer to try shooting from slightly above you, it’s more flattering
  • Have fun with it, it’ll show in the photos

Express yourself

So, how can you express your personality in your photo with the aim of enhancing your profile. This isn’t easy, lots of people hate being in front of the camera for a start, but here are my top tips for expressing yourself.

black n white westminster shoot 477bwfs

1. Clothes, hair and make up

The easiest way to express yourself is through your clothes, hair and make up. You want to portray the real you but the best version of you, so go get your hair done, splash out on a new outfit or two and, as some of my clients do, head to a department store for a free make up session. It’ll also make you feel good about yourself, essential for awesome photos.

2. Do what you love

Another easy way to tell the story of who you are, is to be photographed doing something you love (within reason – it ideally needs to meet the criteria above for getting good shots). I’ve done shoots of people rollerblading, cycling, walking round street markets, wondering round the Tate Modern, for example.


3. Use Props

Props if used well can really add to a photograph. My favourite props include DJ headphones, hats, bikes, cameras, favourite books, glasses, etc. They’re great because they often give people something to do with their hands and help them forget there’s a camera aiming at them. They can also tell people a lot about you.

4. Location and background

Are you happier in the park or wondering round the city? Have a think about where you prefer to hang out and then choose a location which suits you best. Are you a bit urban and edgy and feel at home surrounded by graffiti and interesting people? Or do you prefer the quiet streets of residential areas or parks.


5. Be yourself

I love Oscar Wilde’s saying ‘be yourself; everybody else is already taken’. Be confident, bold and be yourself and you should get some great shots that express who you are.

I hope you found this helpful. Any questions or comments, please feel free to send them over to me via my website

Thanks for having me.

Saskia Nelson is the talent behind Saturday Night’s Alright, the UK’s original online dating photographer, and is passionate about helping London’s cool, fabulous or nerdy single people to shine online. She specialises in creating gorgeous photos for her clients to help them build awesome online dating profiles that help tell the story of who they really are.  She also puts her extensive online dating experiences to good use by sharing her experiences and wisdom on her blog.




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  1. Happy 10th Birthday Guardian Soulmates! | The 30 Dates Blog
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