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.

Sideways on

I've just done a very quick skim through a random collection of online photographs from different photographers, using the keyword 'castle'.

Interesting. There are approximately 3 times as many images in the conventional 'landscape' format as there are in the upright 'portrait' format.

It seems that a lot of people don't realise that you can turn your camera on its side to take pictures ... either that, or they're scared to. Or are they just lazy? I don't know.

But it's strange. You'd think that something like a castle lends itself to the upright format.

Why did I do this little survey? Because I’ve just found one of my my images of the Ch√Ęteau de Chillon being used for the front cover of a magazine aimed at very rich Chinese ...

It's not the same image as I discussed two posts ago (here). Yes, it was taken at the same time, but as I photographed the castle and the darkening sky I regularly turned the camera from vertical to horizontal and back again. I got a whole load of images in both formats.

There were good reasons for doing that. The main one was that the majority of magazines are produced in the 'portrait' format and you greatly increase your chances of a cover sale if you have a photograph that fits.

On top of that, the 'portrait' format often fits better in to text too, especially if the text is in columns.

And, finally, because there are fewer photographs in this format the competition is less tough.

Remember ... you can turn your camera on its side and photograph landscapes in portrait format if you want.

And you can take portraits in landscape format too.