how to find the original source for every image

When I teach the Business of Blogging class, one of the first things I mention is being able to find original sources for images online. If you are going to post images that someone else has the right to, then it is imperative to make sure you are sourcing the image correctly. Firstly, because it is just good blogging, and the right thing to do. Secondarily, because there could be legal implications if you post someone else’s work without the proper media credits.

Even when pinning, it is important to be sure you are pinning from the original source for the work. As an artist myself, there is nothing worse than opening up Pineterst and seeing a project I designed linked back to someone elses site.

I assume everyone knows this process, but then every time I teach I get a round of ohhs, ahhs, and thanks when sharing my six step process for finding the original source for every image.

Here’s how I do it:

  1. With the image you want to find opened up, open a second browser window and go to google image search.
  2. Click on and drag the image you have opened into the google image search box.
  3. A page will pop open with links to where that image is found. If you are lucky, there will be a front link that is obviously the original source for the photo. Click on it and credit properly.
  4. Often times it won’t be that easy. If I cannot find the original source that way, I click on the “view other sizes” link.
  5. A new page will open with photo links of where the image is found. Usually the largest image is where the original photo is held. Scroll over the top of the images to see the site info. You may have to click through a couple sites before finding the original source.
  6. Once you find it link properly.

* A helpful blogging tip I love is that in step four, there is a link that says, “view similar images”. If you are looking at a photo you love, checking out similar images can open up your eyes to new blogs and resources that go along with your site or Pinterest board aesthetic.

Photo by Spaco Salon.

This post is part of a new series where I’ll be sharing glimpses of my life/business and tips I’ve learned about freelance and blogging. See other posts in the series here.

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Posted September 27, 2012
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20 Responses to “how to find the original source for every image”

  1. Molly says:

    Thank you for this! I author a wedding blog and I run into this problem a lot. I want to make sure I give credit, but then I see something cute on Pinterest, want to share it and have no idea how to credit. But now I do!

  2. Wow, this is a great tip! We only use our own photos, but so often I see our photos on Pinterest and Tumblr without attribution (ARGH!)—hopefully some people will read this and decide to give proper credit. :)

  3. Monica says:

    This is such a helpful tip Victoria. Thanks for sharing it!

  4. Giulia says:

    Thanks for posting this. It’s so important for people to know that Pinterest is NOT a source. I use this method all the time.

  5. Lena says:

    Oohing and aahing over here-I usually just skip images I know I can’t credit!

  6. saf affect says:

    Thank you for these tips! I always try to drill down to the original source, but it can be so difficult to find.

  7. ahh so helpful! thanks a ton :)

  8. Fredda says:

    Thanks sooooo much for this! I directly pinned it :-D
    I spend a lot of time finding the original sources, but didn’t know you can do this “drag and drop” in the Google search … this will save me so much time!!
    Greetings
    Fredda

  9. how2home says:

    This is such an awesome post. Very helpful :) Have a great friday!

  10. yep, this is what I use when giving credit! I think it’s a matter of respect to credit every image properly!

  11. Wendy says:

    I do this all the time. Sometimes the pictures are used so much on Pinterest and Tumblr that it takes forever to find the original.

  12. Yelle says:

    I love this trick – I use it every time. Thanks for putting it out there!

  13. Molly says:

    Thank you so much! I always worry about this when I use images! This is such a great way to approach the process!

  14. moiminnie says:

    Didn’t know about this – so guilty of crediting Pinterest! On my blog I use my own photos but when uploading to my inspirational tumblr, this will come in handy! Thanks so much for this post! x

  15. Minnie says:

    Thanks for this info but based on everything I have read about copyright laws linking is not enough. One has to have permission to reproduce the image, is that not correct.?

    Tumblr, Pinterest and Facebook has made this so complicated. Because when you find an image that is popular the process to Reverse find the image is so lengthy.

  16. Doesn’t work. Have tried it multiple times with the image you have posted above (ie. black nail polish). All the search brings up for me is the image on YOUR site, no others.

    I use Safari. Also tried Firefox. Same thing.

  17. duke says:

    Will this work for images that are saved onto your computer? I frequently go to this imageboard website and pictures are always used with only a random assortment of numbers as the filename, or even their own filename. The threads die out quickly, resulting in a 404 error code, so I save any image I like on that website before it’s gone. Will it find it if i drag and drop from my picture folder? Thank you.

  18. Nikki says:

    I just LOVE how Google has all their little-known hacks. Thanks for sharing these. I find a lot of feature blog images using Pinterest, and I always try to credit the original source. Sometimes it takes around 15-20 minutes just to click around to find that with broken links and all.

  19. THANK YOU FOR THIS.

    So helpful… I am saving this in my favorites forever and ever in case I forget.