UK adults collectively spend £ 4 billion each year – trying to get the ‘perfect profile picture’, research shows.
One in five held a photoshoot to get the perfect shot for a dating profile, LinkedIn page, or social media platform.
Another 20 percent even traveled to “Instagrammable” vacation spots just to get the shot they wanted.
While others bought new clothes, paid for beauty treatments, and booked tables in expensive restaurants to get “the look.”
The study, commissioned by the dating app Plenty of Fish, found that individually this amounts to £ 269 per person per year, but it’s not just money that is invested – c it is also time.
The average adult spends seven hours a month taking and editing photos before posting them online.
How much time do you spend perfecting your social networks? Join the discussion in the comments section
It also appeared that six in ten people feel pressure to conform to digital beauty ideals.
Plenty of Fish has partnered with behavioral psychologist Jo Hemmings to provide advice on building self-confidence and encouraging Brits to embrace their natural selves when it comes to their online presence and dating.
The partnership is the dating platform’s latest move to help fight unrealistic digital beauty standards, after banning heavily filtered images from its app in 2019.
Jo Hemmings said, “With so much emphasis on idealized looks – from reality TV shows like Too Hot to Handle to Instagram’s ‘perfection’, it’s no wonder singles want to showcase the best. version of themselves on dating apps.
“But going to great lengths to create an unrealistic image of themselves unfortunately takes away what makes each individual unique and sets itself apart from a potential mate.
“It is also likely to skew a date’s expectations of what you actually look like when you meet in person, which can make a first date unnecessarily embarrassing, stressful and disappointing.
“With 59% of singles feeling pressured to conform to digital beauty ideals, it’s time to take the pressure off and encourage singles to embrace their natural selves to maximize the opportunity to meet the right partner. “
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Research has found that experiencing a pandemic has increased the pressure to look a certain way, with more than half of adults (55%) believing that the lockdown has negatively impacted their self-esteem.
More than seven in ten people spent more time browsing organized influencer and celebrity feeds while stuck at home, leading 67% to edit their photos and use virtual filters more than ‘before the pandemic.
In fact, 61% said working from home and seeing each other on video calls at work made them much more aware of their appearance than they were before the lockdown.
A further 46% admit to using built-in filters and virtual backgrounds on these calls to improve lighting and enhance the frame and their appearances.
Reluctant to reveal their more natural personality online, 42% of respondents add a filter or preset to all of their photos, 41% brighten the lighting to make it more flattering, and 34% remove smudges or blemishes from their photos. skin. .
Almost a quarter (24%) even regularly change their body shape to be smaller or more curvy, according to OnePoll figures.
The study found that, unexpectedly, 40% of men admitted to changing their body shape and face in online images, compared to 29% of women.
Easy access to photo editing apps is a top reason Brits edit their pictures online (32%), as are trying to keep up with others who edit their photos (30%) and dislike every natural photo taken of them (30% cent).
Among singles in particular, 28% of dating app users believe their search for love will be negatively affected if they don’t hide their perceived flaws.
Almost half (46 percent) become more nervous about first dates for fear that their potential suitor might not find them as attractive in person as their photos suggest, or that their date might not match. their expectations (42 percent) percent).
But despite the time, money, and effort put into creating a digital profile they’re proud of, 64% say they would much prefer to see a natural, unedited selfie on a potential lover’s profile on social media or the dating app, rather than a heavily filtered image.
The number is increasing when it comes to Gen Z, with 77% preferring not to see heavily filtered photos on the profile of a romantic interest.
Kate MacLean, Resident Dating Expert at Plenty of Fish, said: “While we know the realities of photo editing apps and filters, it is truly alarming to see the research and how much time, money and money. efforts are invested to achieve an unrealistic ideal result of beauty.
“It’s especially surprising considering that 64% of singles prefer to see natural, unedited images of potential dates.
“In 2019 we have reduced the pressure on those who use our app by banning heavily filtered profile images for the same reason and now we want to go further by encouraging Brits to embrace whatever makes them unique and show off their authenticity when it comes to their dating profile. “
Top 10 Ways Brits Are Trying To ‘Hone’ Their Profile
1. Use a filter or frame on a social media app (34%)
2. Buy new clothes (28 percent)
3. Hair and makeup professionally (23%)
4. Have beauty treatments (23%)
5. Use a face / body editing app (22%)
6. Organize a photo shoot (21%)
7. Travel to Insta-worthy vacation spots (20%)
8. Buy and use lighting equipment (20%)
9. Book a table in a popular and expensive restaurant (17%)
10. Buy a premium subscription to a photo editing app (16%)
Five tips to boost your self-confidence online
1. Choose a photo where you felt most relaxed and happy.
When you feel good about yourself, you tend to have an inner glow that shines through photos (especially spontaneous rather than posed images). It’s worth asking a trusted friend to snap some candid photos of you doing an activity or just something you like to do. Ask them for advice on which photo best represents the real you.
2. Perspective is very important.
Kindness and compassion are qualities that will make you stand out as a potential date and can often be seen in a smile or a look in the eye. If you post digitally enhanced photos on your profile that don’t really ‘feel’ or look like you in real life, try to imagine how it would feel if the situation were reversed? Imagine this situation and use your empathy to see it the other way around. Empathy can help build your own self-confidence.
3. Be comfortable with not corresponding with everyone you choose.
Rejection – which just isn’t associated with someone you love – is inevitable, but it shouldn’t be a burden. It should be something exciting that can lead you to meet someone very special in your life. Realize that you might not be someone’s type and if you don’t fit then it isn’t a personal rejection on your part.
4. Keep the “essence of you” in your profile photos.
This is what top photographers look for when taking celebrity photos and it works. You don’t have to smile or laugh, but it’s good to look absorbed in your passion, whether it’s a few snaps of you doing something with your friends – festivals, vacation, sports or just yourself staring intently at a painting in an art gallery – it shows that you are not only focused on finding a partner, but also have other social interests.
5. Set goals for yourself.
Recognize that you are valuable and that the more goals and accomplishments you get, no matter how small or insignificant they may seem, will increase both your outer confidence and your inner self-esteem. Set small goals for mental alertness, fitness, or emotional stability. Become the person you want to be and that confidence will show up more in a real photo than any filter can give you.