The Scoop: Singles on dating sites and apps have a lot of options, but they also have a lot of competition. People can compare their profiles to hundreds of others, and a generic greeting and a bathroom selfie often isn’t enough to make someone swipe right. Recently, proactive individuals have begun upping their dating games by seeking out professional photographers to capture them at their best. Hey Saturday has pioneered dating photography services in the UK and now seeks to expand its business in the US, starting with New York City and Los Angeles. Hey Saturday’s Founder and CEO, Saskia Nelson, told us her business has been a big hit among singles who have the chance to build self-esteem and get a leg up on the online dating scene with one snap of a photo.
Professional photographers often hear their clients point out the parts of themselves they don’t like. “I don’t want you to show this side of my face,” they’ll say. Or they’ll become fixated on something they perceive as a flaw — a double chin, knobbly knees, or a birthmark — and ask if it can be removed from the photo.
As a professional photographer, Saskia Nelson has heard just about every insecurity under the sun. She has heard clients say they don’t want to show their crooked teeth when they smile or they don’t look good in a certain color. Saskia founded a dating photography service called Hey Saturday to help people look their best in photos, but she often finds herself at odds with their personal hang-ups.
While Saskia has trained her photographers to accommodate the needs of all clients, she told us she believes what makes a person look attractive in a photo has little to do with physical beauty. Years of experience working with singles has taught Saskia that how you look isn’t nearly as important as how you feel about yourself when the photograph is taken.
Saskia wants to make her clients feel fantastic about themselves, so she invites them on a photography adventure where they can come out of their shells and focus on all the things they love about themselves. Her dating photography services have upped the caliber of thousands of dating profiles, and she’s just getting started.
“We see online daters turning to professional photographers more and more because they realize we live in a visual world, and selfies just aren’t cutting it anymore,” she said.
Hey Saturday specializes in creating photos for dating sites and apps. The team strikes a balance between helping clients look their best without making them appear to be trying too hard. These kick-ass photographers capture photos of their clients in everyday settings, including coffee shops, bookstores, and other locations. Saskia said some photographers will recommend visiting visually stunning areas, but the location doesn’t matter as much as the client’s comfort level and self-esteem.
Hey Saturday’s goal is to help singles feel good about themselves, so they look amazing in every photo. The UK-based company has worked with over 2,000 singles so far and has plans to expand its reach in the US in the coming years.
“We’d like the industry to look better and improve how people present themselves online,” Saskia said.
How Photography Can Foster Greater Self-Love & Happiness
Saskia had been online dating for eight years when she experienced online dating burnout. Her feelings of disappointment and frustration made her want to quit — but then she realized the platform wasn’t to blame for how she felt. She was. After this revelation, Saskia decided to tackle online dating with greater gusto and positivity, not letting the experience get her down, and that’s when she met someone special on Guardian Soulmates. They’ve been together for almost a decade now.
“Online dating works, and it’s enjoyable, but you have to be in the right headspace,” she concluded.
Dating apps and sites suffer when singles feel discouraged and close their accounts or write bad reviews because they can’t find romance. Yet the dating brand has little control over its users’ online enjoyment because that is a personal matter.
“All Tinder is is a tool to meet people,” she said. “Only you have control over how happy you are.”
Saskia has spent years studying photography and the dating scene, and she said she wants to emphasize the importance of self-esteem in advice articles going forward. She plans to launch a new platform that will show singles how to love themselves and encourage them to take responsibility for their own happiness.
Instead of focusing on negativity, this new platform will ask daters, “What do you love about yourself?” and post inspirational stories and images from everyday people, like Saskia, who practice self-love and have seen it transform their lives.
“I want people to know that being confident is more attractive than how physically attractive you are,” she said. “It makes a big difference.”
Working to Assist Daters From the UK to the US
Hey Saturday’s dating-specific photography services meet a demand among singles who know they need attractive photos if they want to be successful on dating sites or apps — but they may only have a limited range of poor-quality photos to work with.
Over the last few years, Hey Saturday has bridged the gap between authentic pictures and professional photos by using high-tech cameras to capture singles in real-world settings.
Dating photography is becoming more of a trend among singles, and the Hey Saturday team hopes to see it be a mainstream service in the UK, the US, and abroad.
Hey Saturday is currently growing its presence in the US with offices open in New York City and plans to open in Los Angeles in October 2018. Saskia said the American photography team is small so far but has already filled their calendars with client bookings.
Saskia said she’s particularly excited to see how millennials have embraced the service. Today’s youngest singles have grown up online and understand the importance of having awesome high-quality photos to make a profile pop. Hey Saturday provides a unique service that can help singles come into their own in the online world and make a great first impression.
“No one is doing this to the extent that we are,” she said. “We’re trying to solve a problem for people and make online dating easier and more enjoyable.”
On a Mission to Put the Fun Back in Online Dating
Not everyone has access to great photos of themselves. Maybe they’ve never climbed to the top of a mountain or gone sightseeing in Europe or Asia — but that doesn’t mean they can’t look incredible in their photos.
All singles need are the right tools to showcase their most attractive and authentic sides, and that’s what Hey Saturday offers. The photographers can help clients attract notice on dating sites by posting professional-grade photos of themselves in real-world settings. Hey Saturday has staked out a middle ground between blurry bathroom selfies and airbrushed headshots, and that has been incredibly popular among singles who want to show off who they are online.
“We want to help people up their games, and go out there facing the digital world with a bit more confidence in themselves,” Saskia said. “As a brand, we help dating apps and sites by making their users look better, which makes them look better.”