The Scoop: One of the most difficult parts of creating an online dating profile is choosing the right photos. And that’s where online dating photographer Nick Friesen can help. Nick launched a niche photography business called The Match Artist to provide professional support to singles seeking to improve their dating profile photos. Nick offers facial expression coaching and photography services to give clients the confidence they need to excel in the swiping scene.

Online dating is a photographer’s game. If daters don’t have the right photos to pique interest, their chances of getting matches are significantly lower. According to dating experts, the difference between a date and no date is one word: photos. If photos are clear, engaging, and show who you are, what you love, and your lifestyle, then success with online dating is within reach.

Single men often struggle to curate great photos for their dating profile. Online dating photographer Nick Friesen, founder of The Match Artist, believes that dating photography helps singles build engaging profiles that attract the right people without being heavily edited, overdone, or inauthentic.

“Most of our clients don’t have many photos of themselves. They put together a profile of selfies and they don’t have anybody to guide them, so their facial expressions look uncomfortable,” he said.

Nick created The Match Artist, a nationwide photography company specializing in transforming online dating profiles, to help men showcase their best attributes on their dating profiles and catch peoples’ attention within three seconds. The Match Artist pairs professional dating photographers with clients all over the U.S. to capture their most attractive, natural selves. 

“I always say that we’re going for confidence, joy, and mystery throughout our photoshoots to show the full spectrum of somebody because that’s the best you can get,” Nick told us. “It’s step-by-step coaching.”

One of Nick’s specialties is facial expression coaching, which helps guide clients into looking and feeling more comfortable on camera. Nick often guides his clients into certain poses, focusing on the eyes and the jawline to evoke a connection to the viewer, whether that’s a confident stare, a mysterious glance, a playful smirk, or a big laugh.

“Our photographers are trained to think about the most chiseled look for somebody, like a head towards the camera, or a bit of a tilt for mystery,” Nick said. “It’s constant coaching to make the photos look like they weren’t so posed, even though they are.”

How Facial Expression Coaching Works

When Nick discovered that most men don’t know how to showcase their best qualities, he came up with facial expression coaching and the five types of images all profiles need: the headshot with a smile, a candid portrait, a couple of hobby shots, and a full body shot.

“When it comes to online dating, you’re trying to bring someone else into the story of who you are. That could be completely different for every person,” Nick said. “That’s why we have the people we work with fill out a long questionnaire. What makes them laugh? What kind of movies are they into? What are their hobbies? We try to capture who they actually are.”

nick friesen
Nick Friesen is a online dating photographer with The Match Artist.

An online dating profile should express a man’s natural personality. Nick recommends men showcase their hobbies and post clear headshots where they are smiling and laughing. If a client is an active individual, Nick will typically have them dress in gym clothes and go outside. Or he’ll shoot them at a cocktail bar with their beverage of choice, looking more refined.

“We shoot a wide variety of expressions to show that this person can have fun, be goofy, but also be serious. And we show this with facial expressions and how they dress, to bring them into the person’s story,” Nick said. 

Nick takes an artistic approach to cultivating his client’s dating profile photography. He tries to create interesting yet natural-looking photos using color grading, props, and locations that grab a person’s attention and stop people in their swiping.

He even suggests that photos taken for single men on dating apps should not be the same ones you see on social media or framed on a wall. Each photo Nick takes intentionally highlights the person’s natural attributes, characteristics, and lifestyle to attract the right person. 

The Main Problems with Men’s Online Dating Photos

One of the main issues men face is that their online dating photos don’t reflect who they are and what they look like. Nick said that 85% of people on dating sites use selfies, which are typically taken by a friend with no photography experience. These photos are often blurry, have poor lighting, or are taken from an unflattering angle. Other times, online dating photos are heavily retouched or use filters, decades old, or don’t portray the person’s lifestyle accurately.  

“Most photos aren’t professional. It’s like throwing a blurry photo from college at a frat party. Some men try to look tough and manly. They do the shirtless thing, thinking that’s going to work. They don’t really know what to do,” Nick said about his male clients.

Many of his clients are often experts in professions like engineering or software development, but they don’t know how to create a visually pleasing profile. They typically outsource that important task to people like Nick who can show them exactly what to do.  

the match artist
Nick teaches clients what makes a great profile photo.

Many men are also uncomfortable in front of the camera and it translates to their facial expressions, he said. Nick guides them with facial expression coaching to ease their worries and help them appear natural, confident, and authentically themselves. 

“These guys don’t have many photos of themselves, they’re trying to put together a profile of selfies, and they don’t have anybody to guide them.”

That’s where Nick and his team of professional dating photographers come in. They have a basic grasp of the psychology of dating and understand the attributes that attract a woman or man. Nick said he understands that a man in his 20s can appear more mature with the right pose, facial expressions, and clothes, while a man getting back into dating in his 60s has a different aesthetic. 

Nick’s adjustments are subtle, but they drastically improve the number of matches his clients get online. 

Nick’s Online Dating Photography Helps Men Get Matches  

One thing that makes Nick’s online dating photography unique is his emphasis on authenticity. He aims to create an easygoing atmosphere during shooting to help his clients be themselves. Instead of trying to be a certain kind of person, Nick encourages men to show off their hobbies, interests, and quirky expressions. 

“It’s deciding how much of yourself you want to show,” Nick said. 

Clients enjoy how The Match Artist has created waves in their love lives by enhancing their dating profile photos. 

On the company’s Facebook page, one client named Michael said he met his fiancé on a dating site using the photos taken by The Match Artist. 

the match artist
The Match Artist takes photos that capture clients’ personalities, interests, and hobbies.

The photos speak for themselves. A client personally messaged Nick after taking photos with The Match Artist and said he got “40 matches putting in zero effort.”

Nick’s comfortable and easygoing approach in his sessions is another reason his clients love his work. 

Take it from Charlie, one of The Match Artist’s past clients, whose dating profile pictures featured him doing a yoga pose, sitting outside in nature, and sitting at a bar: “Working with Nick was a blast! He’s a professional photographer, but more importantly, he knows how to bring out your best, making you feel comfortable throughout the shoot. I’ve been on a number of successful dates since uploading the photos, and am excited for more!”

The Match Artist approach truly represents who you are and highlights your best features. What Nick and his team of photographers bring to every shoot is a great guide toward navigating online dating.

“Most of our clients say the shoot was much more fun than they thought a shoot could be,” Nick said.