Are you interested in which websites are using your stock photos? It is a good idea to track down the images purchased from you to study what type of article your images fit.
You must have wondered who used your purchased stock photos and where.
Unfortunately, stock photography companies don’t publish - even to their contributors - the identities of their customers, so you have to find out for yourself.
If your pictures are not used in online content, you may have a hard time figuring out which book, presentation, newspaper you are looking for.
However, if it has been published on a website, online newspaper, blog, professional website, it is not difficult to follow up.
The easiest way: use Google Image Search
Simply upload a photo in the Google search bar, and the software will filter out webpages that contain that image, and list them based solely on the content of the photo.
It also tries to associate a keyword with your image, which is usually completely false, but it recognizes your image with some confidence.
Of course, most of the results are your images on the stock photo site itself, but if you look through the list, you may come across a website with your photo on it!
Instructive method: search the forum posts
On the Alamy stock photo agency's forum, contributors regularly start posts on a monthly basis titled Have you found any images in [May 2022]?
In the comments, contributors list the title, ID and photographer of the images they find, or just a link to the online content. They are usually searching for Alamy photos in online or printed newspapers / magazines.
If you search the forum for your name or read posts regularly, you may come across your own images.
In any case, it is extremely useful to browse through these posts because you will get an accurate picture of what types of photos customers are buying for their press products.
The method of forum members: search the web for your own name!
Enter your name (pseudonym or alias) used on the stock photo website in the Google search engine + the name of the agency + the base url (domain) of the agency's website with a minus ('-') sign:
e.g. wahavi Alamy -alamy.com (replace 'wahavi' with your own alias)
You can get even better results by excluding Alamy distributors, like this:
wahavi alamy -site:alamy.com -site:alamy.es -site:alamy.de -site:alamyimages.fr -site:alamy.it -site:alamy.pt -site:acionline.biz -site:amanaimages.com -site:arabianeye.com (replace 'wahavi' with your own pseudonym)
Do not use quotation marks, because the order of the words is written differently by the editors of the websites. They may even put a '/' character between the words.
What can you do if you find a photo that hasn’t been sold yet?
There are basically two possible cases:
- It has already been purchased, though the action just hasn't gone through the system yet, so you don't see it in the statements,
- it has not been purchased, and no-one intents to do so, that is, it has been stolen.
At Alamy, it may take several months for an image to appear on the list of sold items. So if it is within half a year of the use you have found, there is nothing wrong. Make a note of the website, save it in pdf and wait. After half a year, if you still don’t see the photo sold, email your stock photo company.
Every stock photography company has a team dealing with unauthorized uses (infringements) and try different ways to find out what happened. There are times when they succeed and get the thief pay the price of the photo, from which you also get your appropriate share.
You can find for your purchased stock photos in two ways:
- by search engines' (e.g. Google) image or text search (own name + agency name)
- by searching forum posts.
Unfortunately, not all websites include the credit, i.e. the name of the photographer of the images, or in the case of an RF (Royalty free) license, they do not even indicate the origin of the image (the name of the agency) - they don't have to.
It is almost impossible to keep track of offline uses (printed newspapers, magazines, books, calendars, etc.). There are some photographers who buy newspapers and browse through them and then publish the result in a forum post, but this is very rare.