How to find a stock photograph or illustration that you’ve lost, or you need to download a larger size but can’t remember where you got it, or you already have the image but you need to check the image’s license.

Why this might be useful:

  • If you have an image you found on Unsplash/Pixabay or another stock image site, maybe you altered the image or downloaded a small size, but now you need the original version of the image, a larger size of the image, but you can’t find a copy of it on your computer… help!
  • If you find an image that you like on any website and you want to check where the image came from, to see if you can buy it to use on your own site, or if it comes from a free stock image site, you want to know where to download it and use it yourself…how?
  • Maybe you have already tried to find the picture by a google image search, but the keyword you are searching doesn’t find the image, or there are too many results.. help!
  • Maybe you remember that you found the image at Unsplash or Pixabay but you didn’t save the link and you can’t find that image image with a keyword search… oh no!

Don’t worry! There is a fast and easy way to find that image. Just go to this website: Tin Eye Reverse Image Search

 On this website you can search for any image and find where that image appears online.

Reverse Image Search Quickstart Guide

1 Upload the image

It doesn’t matter if the image is small, or you made alterations such as adding text, the reverse image search should still be able to find your image, unless your alterations are very extreme. If you found the image on another person’s website, enter the image url in the search box, to find this, right click the image and click “copy image url”. If you can’t find the image url you may need to take a screenshot of the image and upload that into the search box.

2 Click on the search icon

Now you may be seeing many results. You need to filter your search in order to discover which stock image sites offer this image. For example, where it says“filter by domain/collection” enter. or or any other stock image site. To ensure that your image is properly licensed make sure you find a stock image site that offers a download of the image with licensing that is appropriate to your project.

3 Go to the stock image site

Click on the link to go to the stock image site such as pixabay or unsplash and download your correctly licensed image! Use the first link under the site name, (not the “Filename” link) so that you arrive at the page where you can check the image license and download the image correctly. For example, the link to download the image shown in the demo below is this.


In the example below we had added a text bubble to the image of a lady holding a heart, but then we needed the original image without the text bubble. Reverse image search was able to find that image easily, then we filtered the search to show results from and there is the original image, ready to download. Easy!


  • Stock image sites such as Shutterstock have software similiar to Reverse image search that lets them search online for photographs that might not be licensed correctly, then they might send a request for you to provide the image licensing details, or pay a large fine if you can’t! As you can see, it’s very easy to find images with this technology. Don’t take the risk of legal issues, make sure all your images are correctly licensed!
  • If you need free and affordable images for your website or social media accounts, you may also find this article helpful.

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