A common problem (well maybe not a problem, but OCD?) I have is knowing that I have seen a particular image before on another site, but not being able to recall where I have seen it before. After looking at so many sites, especially ones that rely heavily on stock imagery, they all start to look the same. Occasionally, I find it interesting to know how many other sites use the same stock image.
So how do I find out answers to these burning questions?
Using Google Image Search To Find Where a Stock Photo is Used
Sure, I could try to type in different phrases related to the image and hope to get lucky with my search results showing the site I previously saw the image on or even browse through my browser history. Or I could do this:
- Go to http://www.google.com/images and click on the camera icon.
- Next, choose whether or not you want to input the URL location of the image in question, or if you have the image saved on your computer you can upload it to Google. Then, simply click the “search” button.
- Behold! Pure stock image nirvana! Well, maybe not…but these results should include the site(s) in which you may have also viewed the stock image in question. Additionally, you can see just how many other sites are using this exact same or slight variation of the image. This particular search brought back over 35,000 results where this image is potentially being used.
Aside from solving my OCD of knowing I have seen an image used somewhere else, this search can also help you educate your clients of why they might want to think twice about using stock images on their new website. Yes, stock images have their place when used properly and sparingly. However, you may have clients that are set on using stock images within their website. When possible, I think it is best to use your own images of products, employees, offices, etc. when you need imagery for the website.
Sure, it might not be as easy as paying a few bucks and using the same image that thousands of others use on their websites, but it’s these little things that can and do set companies apart from their competitors.
When tasked with using stock images within a client website, I would recommend pushing back a little. Aside from already educating your clients on the benefits of a custom web design and unique content (see Google Panda), cutting corners on imagery should not be an option either.
Try having your client send you links to stock images they would like to use and simply perform the same search you did above and you can educate them on how this approach will not help separate them from their competitors. Similarly, you would not want to use the same content that other websites use, so why use the same images?