Including A Picture of Yourself in Portfolio



In watching David Travis’ excellent portfolio review video one thing he highlighted was what a good idea it is to feature a prominent photograph of yourself on either the cover page or the first page in.

I totally get why he says this too; it creates an immediate connection with the portfolio reviewer. On the other hand, can’t this also be very problematic in terms of equality in hiring best practices? The common advice, for instance, is to not put a picture of yourself on your resume. As an older applicant I am torn between not wanting to hide anything and, on the other hand, raising potential “issues” before a hiring manager has even learned what I can do for them.


I know that Ian Fenn, who is writing a book on the subject (, has images of himself in his portfolio - - it will be interesting to read his thoughts when the book is out.


My portfolio site has a pretty prominent picture of me, but it’s below my work in a single-page layout. I personally like to let my portfolio speak for itself before I do, and I feel this gives the reviewer a chance to meet my work before they meet me.

That said, I have a friend who is a middle-aged woman, also working in the tech world, that does not put her photo on her portfolio. The main reason she does not is that she doesn’t want anyone to make those judgements that may be contrary to her actual ability based solely off an image alone.


Yes @dougcollins , this is my concern as well. From personal experience, I think particularly in the tech world, diversity in hiring is most often a goal yet to be achieved (that’s about as nice as I can put it!)


I participated in David’s bootcamp project (my portfolio is one of the ones reviewed), and I actually questioned him on his recommendation of including a photo.

My understanding is that HR do not want photos in resumes, because it opens the possibility of discrimination on the basis of race, age, gender, attractiveness etc. Many companies have a policy of rejecting any resumes with a photo for this reason - they do not want the risk of being accused of discrimination, lawsuits etc.

David’s view was that employers are going to see what you look like in an interview anyway, so if there is going to be discrimination then leaving your photo out of a portfolio won’t help. He also said that your portfolio is about selling yourself, so a photo is important.

Ian Fenn also weighed in on the discussion - he said that in all the interviews he had completed with hiring managers, no-one had mentioned photos as a problem. He also pointed out that most hiring mangers will check LinkedIn profiles (most of which include a photo), and that many do an initial filter based on the resume alone (portfolios and LinkedIn profiles come later). I found it strange that the same people who will reject a photo in a resume would accept one in a portfolio, but I guess it is a case of technology and practices moving faster than company policy…

In my own case, I felt uncomfortable including my photo, but I did also see the benefits. So in the end I opted for a compromise - I included a photo which does not clearly show my face, but which I hope still says something about me.


I think the difference you are seeing here within hiring organizations is that one viewpoint is from HR and the other from the hiring managers within the various departments. Has any hiring manager commented at all on your photograph? - it sounds like a good compromise.


I haven’t had any comments from hiring mangers yet - but I’ve only just started looking for work. In the video David commented that I was “timidly looking over the screen” which is perhaps not great feedback, but I’ve decided to stick with it for now (at least until I come up with a better idea!).


Ahhh @lynne1 I didn’t catch that was you in David’s video, excellent

Did you make changes to your portfolio as a result of David’s review?

OH and one more thing, I’m running a little survey (for David’s course actually) on the Tomorrow’s Shopping Cart and the Digital Postcard exercise. Would you mind answering a few user survey questions?


Absolutely - the reason I participated in the review was to get some feedback and enable me to improve my portfolio. I didn’t make any significant changes, but I did make quite a few smaller adjustments based on his comments. I also got some improvement ideas from seeing the work of others. It’s still a work in progress…

Yes, I’ll participate in your survey. Wish I’d chosen Tomorrow’s trolley instead of Find my Pet…


@lynne1 really? I thought Find My Pet would be a fun one although I could see it shifting quite early on to a GPS tracker for parents to keep track of their kids. On the other hand, animal abuse and abandonment is a HUGE issue here in my area, people just dump their animals alongside the road or in the farming fields - it’s terrible.


My research found that although there are huge numbers of pets that go missing, most people don’t think it would happen to them. The majority in my area don’t even take basic precautions like a collar+tag or microchipping (even those that have already lost a pet), so I can’t see them paying for a GPS tracker. But I continued with the project because changing topics was too hard.


Including a picture in your portfolio is the same as you’re normally required to upload your photo in a variety of profiles, just like on UXMastery. It’s totally up to you, no one’s holding a gun to your head. Your portfolio is a lot more creative presentation of your work than it is technical. It’s okay to make it more “Hey there, this is me” unless you have reservations about the quality of your photo - :wink:


@agringaus just made me think of why I used a caricature for my profile here. It was a way for me to express my artistic and professional side in a forum that still requires a bit of personality. Making something similar could be a way to go if you’re looking for something that gives a sense of you without giving away the whole picture.


I’ve been a bit quiet… but I might actually use this picture of me in a portfolio in future :wink: - not often you get the chance to present your work to Tim Cook!


That’s so cool! Go you!


This is awesome! Would look great on a portfolio :ok_hand:


Yeah. I uploaded the picture to LinkedIn, and had 4 recruiters try to add me in a day haha.


@dean Recruiters on Linked - that’s a whole other topic. I am not sure if it only benefits them or is it ok to accept recruiters as LinkedIn contacts…I don’t know a lot about using LinkedIn


I feel like it’s one of those things that probably can’t hurt. You never know when you might need to be recruited. Can anyone thing of a downside?

I know that @gdnovey did some research around UX and recruitment. What are your thoughts Grant?


Yes, this thread is definitely going in a different tangent, but my general rule is that I’ll see what sort of people they recruit. If they are looking for Java developers then I know that they aren’t the sort of people I should be connecting with.

When freelancing I got all of my bookings via word of mouth, although I have had leads from recruiters but I was unavailable at the time.