My heart skipped: Interviewing Lucy Williams

Selene

dating online-dating-photography

 

Recently I read 2 funny tweets saying that dating "is like when you see the waiter bring out the food, you get all excited only for them to give it to another table" and also that "it's like riding a bike. But the bike is on fire. And the ground is on fire. Everything is on fire because you are in hell".

I found both tweets to be hilarious but maybe too much of an exaggeration.

Yes, dating can be difficult. It's a wild card, you don't know what is going to happen. You might match with someone you have brilliant conversation with but when you go on the first date he might not say a word. You could ghost or be ghosted. You might receive horrible comments and dick pics or you might be lucky and find the love of your life.

This last thing is what happened to Lucy Williams, a professional photographer who is going to tell us her thoughts about dating and online dating photography.

If you're interested in Lucy's services you are going to find all the information at the bottom of the page. You can also follow her on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

 

"The images are a small selection which I have permission to use on other people's blogs. They've all been successful on online dating and have led to long term relationships."

 

- Online Dating vs Offline Dating. Tell us one thing you like and one you dislike of both.

Online dating can feel very intense because it's just you with your phone. You can feel like your experiences of online dating are only happening to you, so any poor experiences can feel more impactful. Also, we've all heard about (or experienced) inappropriate messaging, 'dick pics', catfishing etc and I dislike that online some people feel it's an appropriate way of starting a conversation with a stranger. That would happen way less in real life I'm sure.

Offline dating can often be daunting because you have to keep an eye out for single people and making those approaches in 'real' life. Unless you have single people you know, or have friends with single friends, or have single colleagues, or you go out to places where lots of single people might be, then it can be hard to find someone single who is also looking for what you are looking for. We are all busy these days and offline dating can be much more time consuming.

 

- On your website, My Heart Skipped Photography, you say that you met your husband on Tinder. You are the proof that online dating works if you put some effort and you are committed in finding Mr. Right. Did you have any bad experiences before meeting your husband?

Haha! YES! I wish I'd started a blog with all of the dating stories I could have told! There were a lot of the usual things – people not replying to my messages, inappropriate conversation starters, people turning out to be married, being stood up – and then some more bonkers things like having long verses of romantic poetry sent to me in an introductory message, someone offering to get naked and do my cleaning whilst I scolded him, a man who made paper cranes throughout our date, another who refused to date outside of his postcode area. This was alongside all of the good dates of course so it's not all bad, and it was always a story to share with my girlfriends :)

 

- Before becoming an online dating photographer you did some research. What’s the most common mistake when creating a profile?

Not to invest in your profile.

If you were creating your CV or LinkedIn profile for a job you'd (hopefully) spend the time to write the very best things about you, your skills, your experience, your unique selling points, etc. You'd aim to have professional or professional-looking photos that show you in your very best light to attract potential employers.

It's exactly the same with dating. In a way, your dating profile isn't about you but is more about attracting someone else. Invest the time (and money if necessary) to create a profile that will shine when your dream date looks at it.

 

- What’s the most common mistake people make when choosing their online photos?

People often choose photos that they like of themselves and feel attractive in, without considering what that photo communicates. In reality, your dating photos aren't for you but are for your dating app audience and it's really good to consider what they see in your photos. I'd recommend having a professional dating photo shoot where your photographer can help you with that. Or asking a trusted friend for their advice on choosing your profile photos. If possible, someone of the gender you are hoping to attract.

 

"Shots with people making eye contact with the camera (and potential dates) are key to connection. Shots looking away from the camera can also be intriguing and engaging, as long as they look unstaged. The main thing that all of these photos lhave in common is that they look natural, relaxed and authentic."

 

I was very typical of this when I was dating. My first photos up were of me being silly and fun. I really liked them and thought I looked attractive but when I showed male friends they said I looked like a 'girl-next-door/friend' type of woman. I then had my photos professionally shot by a photographer who took time over how I came across. I was slightly more serious, made more effort with my clothes etc. I asked my male friends to help me select a good set for my dating app. I met my husband-to-be soon after that.

 

- What’s your position on selfies? Do you think they should be present on a dating profile?

Statistics suggest that selfies do badly on online dating apps so, for that reason alone, I'd advise not using selfies.

Selfies certainly have their place on social media but on dating apps they can come across as inauthentic. Selfies are always posed so they don't look natural, the camera is only ever an arms-length away, the quality isn't always great, and they can look like you haven't made a lot of effort.

I think the only time selfies can work on dating apps are when you are somewhere where only a selfie is possible and where the background is the centrepiece, e.g. you being part of an experience, like a festival or sky diving or whilst travelling. These can be really useful as conversation-starter photos towards the end of your set of dating photos. By then your potential dates have seen lots of photos of you and when they come to your selfie they'll want to know more about where you are and the experience you're having, rather than looking at you in the photo.

 

- What’s your secret to make photos look natural?

Taking time.

There's all of the 'photographer' things I do to create a natural and visually-attractive dating photo like finding interesting locations with great light, adjusting my clients' outfits so they hang nicely, naturally standing or sitting my client in a flattering way (and in an attractive way for dating apps), composing the image well etc.

But the number one thing I love to do is take time with my client, to chat and get to know them a bit. The more relaxed my client feels with me on the shoot the more they will look relaxed in their photos. The best photos for online dating are when expressions, smiles and laughs are real.

 

"I truly believe that online dating photos are most attractive when the person in the photo looks friendly and warm, and when their personality shines through. Technically, naturally-lit, well-exposed, colourful photos catch the eye so when someone is flipping through profiles these photos will stand out. There's a mixture of full length and close up, which is essential for potential dates to get a good sense of your physicality."

 

- Can you give us an example of what you should not post on your online dating profile?

A set of photos with your face not fully visible i.e. sunglasses, hats, too far away and so on.

Photos with you in groups of people, where it's not easy to pick you out / or you don't stand out.

Miserable-expression photos.

Poor quality photos.

A set of photos with your pet/children/car/boat in every shot.

Photos that are not how you currently look.

Bathroom mirror selfies!

Bare chest selfies, however buff you are.

Political opinions.

And it sounds obvious but... sexist, racist or prejudiced comments!

 

- You do not only take successful photos but also help people writing engaging dating profiles. 3 things that can’t be missing in a bio?

  1. Info about you – write a full paragraph (more than a sentence)

  2. The why – lots of people like cycling, yoga, reading, cooking, going out etc. What do you particularly like about those things – aim to describe the why of what you like so potential dates get to know you.

  3. What you are looking for. Whether that's 'just fun' or 'a serious relationship and kids'. Don't be timid about asking for what you want in your written dating profile.

 

- Are there similarities between professional branding photography and online dating photography? What are the main differences?

There are loads of similarities between professional branding photos and online dating photography. In a way, online dating photos are the ultimate personal branding photo! In both instances people want to present themselves in the best way and attract the right kind of person to them. Nowadays people want to come across in a natural and informal way, even with business portraits. The main difference is that people are often shyer about their dating shoot photos.

 

 

- How did Covid impact your professional life?

During lockdown one in March 2020 My Heart Skipped Photography was on hold for some months. I already had clients booked in so they were very patient and we rescheduled their dating shoots for as soon as the lockdown was relaxed. Fortunately my dating portrait sessions are 1-2-1 and outdoors on location so it's possible to follow Government guidelines for safe working during the pandemic.

Since lockdown one my dating photography sessions have been fully-booked. I believe that experiencing lockdown restrictions, and the impact of Covid, has prompted people to think about what they want in life with many people prioritising their relationships, human connection and finding someone amazing.

 

- What do you expect from 2021?

I'm expecting that Covid will still have an impact and that I'll be working to Government Guidelines for some time to come but, other than that, I'm expecting a really busy year. I relocated my life to Wiltshire during the first lockdown and I'm now able to offer dating photography in many more places, from London to Bath, Bristol, Birmingham and across the south-west of the UK.

I can't wait for Spring, warmer days and more hours of light! I'm very much looking forward to being able to help more people with their online dating profiles, helping them to transform their online dating experiences and to meet the people they really want to connect with, once we're all allowed out again!

 

To reach out to Lucy for her professional photography services, visit her website:

Professional dating photographer Lucy Williams - My Heart Skipped Photography

and follow her on Instagram: @myheartskipped

Twitter: @myheartskipped

Facebook: My Heart Skipped - Dating Photography.

 

Thank to you Lucy once again for sharing your thoughts and advice with us!