They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but sometimes, in order to say the first word, your picture has to pass a test.
"In the first moments when you meet someone, you have that initial reaction where you make all sort of assumptions based off absolutely no information other than their physical appearance," Ash Wright, a professional photographer, said.
Through Ash Wright Photography, Wright has had numerous people reach out to him with the intent of getting professional photographs to use in dating profiles, putting their best foot forward from the very first glance, rather than using a cell phone camera.
"I would say it's probably more important to have good imagery of yourself now than it's ever been before," Wright said. "A professional photographer is hopefully going to consider a lot more of the technical elements than any person wielding a cell phone."
Other photographers in Nashville, such as Mark Denman of Power Headshots, have had people reaching out to them to help improve the look of their Tinder and Bumble profiles as well.
"It's that visual handshake, it's that visual hello," Denman said.
Denman has been taking photos professionally in Nashville for nine years, and he said a professional photo stands out among all of the cell phone photos online.
"There's a quality that comes from a DSLR or a medium format camera that some photographers use that just can't be duplicated," Denman explained.
While Denman said it's important to put your best face forward, it's important not to go overboard with editing software like Photoshop.
"When you're presenting yourself on a website, be it LinkedIn or a dating website, you want to look your best, but you want to make sure you still look like you," Denman said.
And for many, as Denman hinted, it's not just dating where they are working to make a great first impression using photos, but also in the work world, on LinkedIn and other social media.
"The more time and effort you put into your professional brand, the more potential employers or project managers are gonna look at that information and consider you to be a serious contender for whatever that role might be," Wright explained.
At the end of the day, people know it's all about whether someone is compatible with another person, but to get to the stage where you are able to interact and meet someone, you have to pass the first test of being attractive to someone, and that's why many are seeking the best photos they can.