When I was first dating, I wouldn’t respond to someone if their picture wasn’t appealing, even if they sent an articulate, fun email. I also turned down any contact who I couldn’t imagine kissing, based on his picture. I didn’t meet a lot of new guys with these criteria!
Now I’ve learned that pics in online dating profiles are an approximation of what the person looks like. Even recent photos don’t reflect the twinkle in his eye, how cute he is when he smiles, or how he makes you laugh with that silly expression. So I’ve learned to give him a benefit of a doubt if his profile, emails and calls are intriguing.
The other rampant problem with photos is many folks (men and women, I’m told) post pictures more than two years old. I think it is dishonest to post any pics more than 2 years old, even if they are among recent ones, unless you put the date on them. I’ve only not recognized one guy when I met him because his pic was 10 years old. I was attracted to my first online date because of his picture with little kids. When I met him, I realized those were his kids, not the grandkids he’d mentioned to me. In other words, his picture was 30 years old!
I have also met lots of guys who posted pics from when they were 60 lbs. lighter, or had hair (or hair another color but gray). I understand they think that if they present themselves as younger, they will get more responses. Perhaps they expect they will use their charm to overcome the disappointment of their date when she is having coffee with the white-haired guy with the paunch, not the buff stud in the pic (from 20 years ago). It’s seldom worked for me.
So, the lessons for you: 1) only post or send pics fewer than 2 years old, and 2) if other things are compelling, go ahead and meet the guy even if his pic isn’t.