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How to Find Stolen Images on the Internet? Guide to Reverse Search Method

Thanks to the internet, it has now become easy to get into photography. You can access extensive resources that teach you photography skills like composition, lighting, film development, editing, and much more. As you learn photography, post your work online, and get feedback to hone your skills. Once you have reached the professional level, you may even sell your photos.

But as easy as it is to share your photos on the internet, it is unfortunately as easy for people to steal them. The internet is truly a never-ending universe, and there is no way you can explore it all. On the one hand, the internet offers unlimited benefits, especially for creative people who can use the space to showcase their work to the world. On the other hand, it also allows people to steal work and get away with it, almost undetected.

From the moment you click your photos, they belong to you. The images are protected and do not require registration or need to be marked as copyrighted. Unfortunately, many people steal work without permission either out of ignorance or with malicious intent. Stealing online photos is similar to stealing someone’s physical belongings. You are hurting someone’s profession who could not make out on income and earn recognition from the stolen work.

Luckily, you can take the necessary measures and actions to keep your photos secure. When you find your photos being used without your consent, you may request the publisher to remove, get compensated for your work, or at worst case, bring a lawsuit against the plagiarist. But wait a minute, how do you find the offender in the first place? How would you know if your work is even stolen? We have the answer – reverse image search method.

What is the reverse image search method?

Reverse image search is one of those handy innovations that offer digital investigation techniques. You can track down the origin of the image as well as hunt down celebrities, product descriptions, apartments, and even recipes. The technology is especially useful when you lack the right keywords.

The technology first came into existence in 2001 when Google noticed a massive search demand for Jennifer Lopez’s green Versace dress. This unusual query instigated Google to help users enter search queries beyond words and instead use images.

Nowadays, many search engines offer reverse image search functionality on their websites. You may opt for search image tools that scan a larger database and pick exact matches for a more advanced search.

Best Image Search Tools in the market

You will come across a huge range of picture search tools on the internet. Some cover the broader aspects, while some are confined and niche specific. The one thing common among all these websites is a database of images that one can search using images, keywords, and tags.

The best tool in the market is definitely one that provides the best match. Our guide will walk you through a review of some popular tools that you can use to track down plagiarists.

Small SEO Tools

Small SEO Tools is best known to identify plagiarists in both photos and the content industry. Image search has been a favorite online tool of writers for many years and has now become the most demanded professional photographers for searching for photos. To refine your search, you can upload your image and even add a relevant keyword. This image finder tool finds results from the three most popular search engines, Google, Bing, and Yandex. There is no way a plagiarist can escape when SmallSEOTools is used for reverse image search.

Creative Commons

Creative Commons undoubtedly offers the most extensive image collection. It pulls out pictures from search engines like Google, Flickr, Wikimedia Commons, Pixabay, and many more. Plagiarists usually use platforms such as Pixabay and Pexels to publish and sell off the stolen work. When you use the services of Creative Commons, you can always find your stolen work and request the host website to bring down plagiarist’s posts.


TinEye allows you to upload the image or add the image link to the search bar to find your query. The website also offers a Chrome Extension for professionals to help them with frequent and faster image searches. All it requires you to do is right-click on any image and search using TinEye’s image search Extension tool. Since its inception, more than 20 billion images have been searched. 

Here’s what a photographer should do when their images are stolen

You are now aware of the ways through which you can find the stolen work. What should be your next step? Here’s what you should do as a professional photographer to safeguard your work.

Send a cease-and-desist letter

If you want the website to remove your published work, you have the option to send them a cease-and-desist letter. In the letter, you may clarify that you, being the original photographer, own the copyright of the published content on their website.

Ask for credit

When you ask the infringer for credit, you get a chance to market yourself on their platform. Credit consists of your name under the image or a link back to your original website.

Send an invoice

You may send an invoice to the publisher of the image. This is because when a website uses a photographer’s image, they are actually using their product, even if unintentionally.


The internet has made copying and pasting extremely easy. Too often, people copy and share the work of others without even giving them their due credit. This needs to be stopped, and there is no better way than using a search image tool. The above-discussed information may assist you in understanding the significance of appropriate utilities to make an image search and find plagiarized pictures. You can use any one of them as per your desire and requirements, but prior testing is suggested before settling for a single one.