Have you ever wondered if someone—or even a company—is using your images? Finding out where your images are appearing on the internet is easy; here’s how:

Reverse image search

There are several websites that offer reverse image search. They all pretty much work the same. You upload an image, click the search icon and within a few seconds you’re presented with the results. I prefer to use Google’s Search by Images. Google’s Search by Images seems to returns better results, plus you’re able to drag and drop an image onto the search field.

How Google’s Search by Images works

When you search using an image, your search results may include:

  • Similar images
  • Sites that include the image
  • Other sizes of the image you searched for

The technology behind Search by Image analyzes the image to find its most distinctive points, lines and textures and creates a mathematical model. The model is then matched against billions of images in Google’s index and page analysis to help derive a best guess text description of the image. Search by Image technology also includes the ability to match against images on the web so that it can show you similar images and webpages that contain your image.

It’s not perfect, but it’s a start

I’ve noticed images I have on SmugMug, 500px or Flickr don’t appear in the search results. Search results do a much better job at finding images used in blog posts, on Twitter or those that appear on websites. It’s not perfect, but it’s a start.

What can I do if someone is using my image?

You can take legal action if your image is registered with the Library of Congress. Another solution is to contact the offender and see if an arrangement can be settled. Here’s a short story on what I did when someone used my photo without consent.