Protect Photos with Google Search by Image

question mark photo
Have you ever wanted to feature a photo on your blog but didn’t know where the original photo came from? Have you ever wondered who is featuring your photos? I learned a new technique recently when hunting for the owner of the photo in this Pinterest entry.

Using this technique, I was able to find the photographer who took the photo and even the florist! I was then able to email the photographer and ask her permission to use the photo on my blog.

Using Google Search by Image to Find the Owner of a Photo

Why try to find the owner of a photo? Because it’s the right thing to do. Instead of posting “I wish I knew who this awesome photo belonged to,” find the owner and ask her permission to use it. Asking permission and linking back to the owner’s site gives the owner credit and helps protect her intellectual property. Linking to Pinterest or another blog that featured the original photo isn’t the same thing.

1. Find and copy the URL for the photo. This generally means clicking on the photo to get it by itself in a browser window. The URL for the photo will usually end in “.jpg” or other recognizable photo suffix. You can also right click on the photo and click “Copy Image URL” or “Copy Image Location.”

Copy the URL of the Photo2. Go to Google Image Search and Search by Photo. Visit and click on the little camera in the search box.Google Search by Image3. Paste the URL and search!

Google Search by Image4. Review the search results and find the owner. This might still take some sleuthing if other blogs have featured the photo. I found the owner of the photo by finding the website of the person who designed the bride’s hairpiece, who linked to a blog featuring the wedding, who linked back to the photographer!Google Search Results5. Seek permission to use the photo. Check out the site. Oftentimes there will be a policy about using photos and content. I have a photo policy on my About Me page. If there’s nothing, send the owner a quick email telling her what you plan to use it for. Usually when I do this, the owner is so surprised that someone actually asked and is fine with it.

Use Google Search by Image to Protect Your Photos

Search by image is also a very useful tool to see who is using you photos. I decided to try it with a photo from my Map Coaster Tutorial, one of my most popular projects. This was before I realized I should be adding text to the photos and learned how to watermark them.

Map CoastersUsing the same steps as above, I took the URL for my own picture and plugged it into Search by Image.

Google Search ResultsReviewing the results, I saw that everyone using my photo gave me proper credit. Nice!

Search by Image isn’t foolproof and won’t find everything, but it’s a tremendous help!

Photo of the bouquet is included here with permission from Kate Osborne Photography.

Natalie is from Almost Never Clever where she writes about unconventional scrapbooking and fun craft tutorials.

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