High demand for online profile pictures creates new photography market

Posted at 5:00 PM, May 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-10 09:37:50-04

You only get once chance to make a good first impression.

When it comes to online profiles, the main picture is everything. Now, the demand for better profile pictures is creating a new market for local photographers across the country.

Michael Pierce, owner of Michael Pierce Photography in Denver, says he thought of the idea while browsing dating sites.

"I really noticed there were a lot of really bad pictures, and thought, 'This is something that I can maybe do to fill in gaps between commercial work or advertising work,'" said Pierce. "It just seems to have gained some traction."

Pierce says his prices depend on the shoot, but estimates the cost is typically a couple hundred dollars. Customers get the pictures within a few days of the shoot.

The NOW spoke to one of his clients, who admittedly needs help with his profile pictures, because his old ones just aren't cutting it.

"A picture my mom took with the Statue of Liberty in the back, a race photo I have from a trail run I did a couple years ago, and I think a selfie," said JT Archie, Pierce's latest customer. 

Archie, who just moved to the area, is single and relies on dating profiles to meet new people.

Pierce took full body, mid-length and head shots for Archie, as he does for most customers.

"Basically you just don't want photos that are a selfie or something you cropped your ex out of," said Pierce.

But, it's not just dating sites like Tinder and Match that clients are using. They're also posting Pierce's work on professional sites, such as LinkedIn, and, even Facebook.

A recent Ghent University study found favorable Facebook profile pictures can increase interview chances by as much as 40 percent.

"It makes you feel good when people are connecting with higher quality people, and more people," said Pierce.

One in five online daters have asked for help with their profile, according to a Pew Research survey. Women who date online reportedly put forth more effort than men, with 30 percent of women wanting help, compared to 16 percent of men.