A February pop-up studio at Bow Market in Somerville’s Union Square offers lessons on getting away from bad online dating profile pics – and photo sessions to help. (Photo: Savvy Singles Studio via Facebook)

If you are looking to “stand out in a sea of selfies” and leave online dating behind – maybe by Valentine’s Day – a business called Savvy Singles Studio has set up in Bow Market to teach how to take better profile pictures, including avoiding cliché selfie pitfalls such as posing in groups, cars or bathrooms.

Photographer Emily Falcigno’s inspiration to create her business and the February pop-up was the flurry of “fish pics, duck faces, gym selfies and now car selfies” in the online dating landscape. “Picture this: person at the wheel, so the backdrop is the interior. Sometimes a cut-off passenger, sometimes a dog or kids with their faces blacked out. Somewhere they’re eating, or in a three-piece suit making a dumb face because they can’t figure out where the button is on the phone. To me, these selfies beg the questions: Why are you in the car? Is your lackluster spouse in the house? Is that your getaway car? Do you commute five hours a day?” Falcigno said. “These are not the questions I want to be asking while scrolling through a profile.”

There are statistics Falcigno cites to back up her loathing of the bad profile pic – according to a survey by the dating app Badoo, 29 percent of women say a photo showing a car is a turnoff. Mirror selfies? Thirty-two percent.

Falcigno, with 20 years’ experience as a photographer often shooting news and portraits, had a recent layoff from an information technology job. “I knew I wanted to get back to photography,” she said. “I happened to have photographed lots of politicians, but I wasn’t getting as excited about that as I did about helping singles make better photos.”

Daters can get a 15-minute overview of their profiles ($17) at Thursday sessions. During 30-minute photo sessions on Saturdays and Leap Day, they can ditch the selfies and pose for a series of professional portraits ($120). And for those of us who are much more comfortable being single, sessions on Wednesdays and Valentine’s Day will focus on themes of self-love and supporting the singles community ($30). “It’s really about loving yourself first. And spending time doing what you really love to do, without judging yourself,” Falcigno said.

Savvy Singles Studio is open through February at Bow Market, 1 Bow Market Way, Union Square, Somerville. The event schedule is here.

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