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Our photographer Oksana Guzenko met with Alina Shved from Fashion Consulting agency IStyleU (www.istyleu.at), to talk about charm, beauty and NSFW in dating photos. Read the interview below!

Alina Shved:Our guest today is our friend Oksana Guzenko. Born in Russia, Oksana lives in Vienna, Austria and is a freelance photographer. Since she took a camera 15 years ago and after several years of rigorous studies in several schools for photographers, Oksana became a professional photo and video artist. Her main and favourite subject of the work is always people and their unique and beautiful stories. With a natural passion for storytelling Oksana Guzenko became one of the prominent family photographers in Vienna and she is regularly participating in exhibitions and photo/video events with her fellow colleagues. One of the latest endeavours by Oksana is her project photo4match, where she and several other photographers are united to help people to get the best shots for their dating profiles. Tell us Oksana, what was your initial goal when you started phot4match?

Oksana Guzenko:My idea was to start a very easy to use service by providing professionally executed photos for people in the online dating world. People nowadays are spoiled with spectacles and vivid images all over the internet. So their expectations for seeing photos and especially for images in social media are quite high. At the same time when it comes to their own images they are using selfies. We are helping people to get photos that meet their own high standards. BTW when I say WE, I mean photo4match has united many experienced photographers under one roof. The photographers that share the same view on how to work with people and make great profile photos.

Alina Shved: Oh my god, are selfies bad? Should I stop making them?
Oksana Guzenko: Ha, ha. Would you listen to me if I told you that?
Alina Shved: No, but I like to listen to professionals.

Oksana Guzenko: There is nothing inherently bad in selfies. There is something about intimacy in them. But people still need to know how they should show themselves even in a selfie. In general, I would suggest going to a professional. You need to remember that the profile photo should have only one subject. No group photos, no friends or party photos. This photo is a show of one person. A professional will work for you and will make sure it is all about that one main person. A good rule to stick to is - You are the main person in the shot. We at photo4match established a few rules for photo sessions like this that could help you to gain more attention on apps such as Tinder, Bumble, Hinge and others.

Alina Shved: Ok, let’s start from the obvious. How NSFW can you be in a photo?

Oksana Guzenko: First, no explicit content. In fact, one of our first rules says: Shirt on! Allegedly there's a place for explicit photos, but a Dating profile is not one of them. Numerous researches tell that nothing turns away women more than topless men’s photos in a bathroom. That says something already! Unless you are a top model and you definitely know what you're doing, don't show too much of your body. We believe that people should invest in a photo a bit more. What would you do when you pass the seductive phase and you would like to share your interests with a person you chose? I say you need to try to show your feelings, your character in the shot.

Alina Shved: I personally don’t like bathroom mirror photos. But I think people would still like to know how fit their match is.
Oksana Guzenko: For sure. There should be a full body photo in a Dating profile. It should be a recent photo, so people could see right away what is what. People should treat it like they walk into a bar where they are trying to attract someone.
Alina Shved: Strict dress code! I like that. It’s my field of expertise.
Oksana Guzenko: No shirt, no service!
Alina Shved: Imagine I am a young girl around 20 years old and I have only selfies on a phone but I do have a few nice combos with skirts and trousers. What tips can you give me to make a good dating photo?
Oksana Guzenko: Try not to use selfies. Give your camera to a friend or a professional. Group photos don’t work either. If you happened to be not a girl but a man I would suggest not impressing women with your car or very expensive Rolex. On the contrary to their prices it reads as a cheap trick that people can easily crack. Instead try to impress with genuine interests. Women as men like to meet interesting people. We always suggest action shots, something that implies interesting activity. When we meet our clients on a street we of course cannot show that a client can play electric guitar, but we can show something more intangible. How a man or a woman speaks, laughs or smiles. Something of their character.
Alina Shved: Sadly no Prada suite.
Oksana Guzenko: Could be in Prada but it shouldn’t be the main focus. For the shot more important is to have a vivid colour rather than an expensive brand. Some researchers suggest that people notice and in general more positively react to vivid colors in a photo. Remember that we are dealing with photos on social media. You have very little time to react to a photo. We usually tell our clients to take the best 2-3 pieces of clothes with you for a photo session. Choose something that you can easily change in public, like a jacket or a shawl. The clothes that you will feel comfortable in. If you really want to bring something apart from your appearance into a shot, take a dog, a puppy is even better.
Alina Shved: I knew it! Puppies are always a win.
Oksana Guzenko: Yes, it’s hard to argue with that.

"Something should be near you as a reference, to make sure people will get a good sense of your body type"

— Oksana Guzenko, foto4match photographer
Alina Shved: Let’s go back to me as a young 20 something years old woman..
Oksana Guzenko: Or a man…
Alina Shved: Or a man. What should I think about after I chose my attire?

Oksana Guzenko: Next would be your background. As we already established, bathrooms and rooms with mirrors won't do. You need to find a genuine background for the action you are going to picture. If in your photo you want to read an Anthology of modern philosophy for example, just standing in the hall won’t work. Choose the background that fits your actions in front of the camera. In photo4match we make photo sessions in the nicest and beautiful places in Vienna. Parks with classic statues and classic architecture is a win. Almost as good as a puppy, trust me.

Alina Shved: I bet you can even read the Anthology of modern philosophy with the Goethe statue in the background.

Oksana Guzenko: Yes. In Burggarten or in Volksgarten with Theseustempel in the background if you are into philosophy. In Vienna you can find a lot of nice places with fabulous architecture and lovely green parks. One of my favorites is the Rose Tunnel in Schoenbrunn park. Amazing and very romantic site. If it’s sunny outside you can get very beautiful warm back lights that work like magic on photos. But we do photo sessions in the studio as well. It’s a bit harder since we need to book the studio beforehand. But if you still want to show how you play your electric guitar we can build a stylish background for this in the studio. Most people think of studio shots as white and empty backgrounds. This is not always true. In fact it’s suggested by many experts to make full body shots in some context. Something should be near you as a reference, to make sure people will get a good sense of your body type. 

Alina Shved: So, I have a few jackets and shirts, what else should I prepare?

Oksana Guzenko: Good mood! Impressing strangers isn’t easy. Acting in front of a camera isn’t easy either. Despite the fact that we spend so much time with a camera in our phones filming and getting filmed we don’t have the natural instinct to be great at photos. Being in a positive mood is the first important step to take a good photo and eventually getting a successful match. I say make sure you look good, this usually helps me to feel good. Do makeup and choose the best clothes and come to us. If you're not sure about your makeup we can do one for you. Try to avoid sunglasses and everything that might obscure your face. Open face communicates and shows emotions that are crucial for a good profile photo. Even if you prefer to look serious, at least one photo where you smile is a must. Needless to say a smile is perceived better than any serious face. According to some research in the Psychological Science Journal, for all judgments—attractiveness, likeability, trustworthiness, competence, and aggressiveness people spend only 100ms. It’s better to spend this time showing positive emotions. Just remember that the photo session is about you. It opens you as a genuine, interesting person with your irresistible charm. Collectively we in photo4match have up to a hundred years of experience in the photo business. We know how to make a Dating profile that brings more matches and likes.

1

Bad background

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No sunglasses

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No selfie

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No long faces

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Meaningful
background

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Smile

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Only one person

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Action shots

foto4match

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