One of the downsides of selling photographs through agencies is that, unlike most other commercial artistic endeavours (e.g. writing) you never get told where your images are used.

As far as I am aware, no agency does this. Your images just fly off into mediaspace, end up on a magazine cover or something and, hopefully, you get paid a bit.

Photographers do look out for each other's work, and when I find a published image from someone I know (look for the tiny image credit beside the photo to tell you the agency or photographer) I generally forward the details. But it's a pretty hit-or-miss affair.

So how did I find my Chateau de Chillon image on the front cover of the Chinese magazine?

Enter TinEye.

This is a brand new search engine that aims to be the Google of photos. You put an image into the search box of their web site (or you can get a plug-in for your browser that allows you to right-click on a picture on your screen) and in seconds it can find places where it is being used ... even derivatives of it.

The program is still in Beta (i.e still being developed) and it only searches 1,040,054,438 images (only???) but the results are pretty remarkable.

I searched on one of my top-selling photos ...

... and came up with a number of place where it was being used. Two of them were using it illegally.

I contacted the offending parties, got an apology from both and had it taken down within the day. No money for the illegal use, unfortunately. But there's the perverse satisfaction of knowing one of my creations is good enough to be stolen ... twice.

As TinEye is still in its beta version you have to apply, by e-mail, to get an account with them. But that's not a problem. I received a response within 2 hours of my request.

If you're interested in tracking your images, I recommend you try Tin Eye (here). It's remarkable.


Mighty Mom said...

New post, please! Your fans miss you.

Anonymous said...

Hey Alistair!

I wanted to say thanks, I just sold my first commercial pic on Shutterstock!!! It's a water fall pic from Lac Emosson above Chamonix. I went hiking this weekend and took the tripod, polarizer, cable release etc and got some great shots.

Thanks for hooking me up !!!


John Griffin said...

great shot. i love the use of the white background bc it really pulls out the green and red.

Alistair Scott said...

Hey Kirk ... Congratulations on the sale of your image! It'll be the first of many I'll bet.

Gary Black said...

I to discovered this software whilst randomly browsing the internet (Like you do).

This could come to be a fantastic tool for everyone, once it is out of Beta.