"Macro Art In Nature"

Explorations in the artistic world of macro photography.

“TinEye” Image Search Engine – What I found.

So many of us worry at times about our images, wondering who lifted them from our site, what they are being used for, etc., … and it has been nearly impossible to find your images being used elsewhere on the internet or in print unless you lucked up and found them, or someone e-mails you and gives you a heads up.
Until now!

I had heard about Idée Inc. from other photographers and their “TinEye Image Search Engine”, still in beta.
I sent them a request to be put on their list, and soon got a message to give it a try.

You simply use one of your existing images to search for it on the internet and possibly some unauthorized usage. This is really cool in my opinion, and I certainly have high hopes for it.
You can easily upload one of your images to the TinEye upload page, and within seconds it will show you where your images are on the internet.
Or better yet, … and this is really cool, … you can use the TinEye image plugin for Firefox or IE, and search your images straight from your browser.
Still, even though I know that some of my images are all over the internet, authorized and unauthorized, and I know where they are, … TinEye did not find them all.
Reason being is that they are constantly indexing images all across the internet, and are sitting at roughly 500,000,000 images at this time. That is just a drop in the bucket, and they still have many images to index, so some of your images may not be found, ….. yet. It will still take some more time to index the millions and millions of images that they yet to have in their system.

But, … let me show you what I have found so far as an example, and the amazing capability that this system has. (I did find a few more images during my searches.)
Seriously, … this is very good news for everyone!

This image below is a old and simple shot of a “Palamedes Swallowtail” butterfly.
I ran a search using TinEye, … and was really surprised with the outcome!

At sometime within the past few years, I had posted a painted version of this particular image.
Every single little detail within the original had been altered, … painted over, … manipulated.
TinEye still found these painted versions on two different sites, and neither had asked for permission to use it.
Click the image for a larger view of the image and to see what TinEye gives you within their page.


You can see that TinEye shows you the thumbnail of the image or images, shows the name of the image which in this case, both of the image names had been changed, and of course it gives you the page link to where your image is being used.

Then if you wish, TinEye also gives you a toggle switch so you can look at your version of the image you are searching with, and the version that is being used within the given link/page.
Again, click the image to see the larger version.
You can now see the painted version that TinEye found using their very cool search engine, and the original version I used to start the initial search.



Like I have said already, I have high hopes for TinEye.
The drawback now with the beta version is of course, its limited number of images that they have already indexed, but right now Idée Inc. has something very powerful, something unique, and something that many photographers will find useful.
And then, … there is the question on cost.
There is no information available right now that I know of on the cost of using TinEye when it is available to the public.
If the cost is reasonable, (and it would have to be very reasonable for me to use it with the cost of everything else I have to pay for now), and when they have far more images indexed than what they have at the moment, … I will certainly use it.
I would love to be able to search my entire archive that I have with Photoshelter, but it just so happens that the Photoshelter images that a photographer may have listed there are all BMP, and they are to small for TinEye to read.

And another thought.
With the Orphan Works Bill looming on the horizon, (which should be scrapped in my opinion), TinEye could easily be used by those who are searching for the author or authors of certain pieces of work.

Stay tuned.
TinEye could be in your future!!
(and I am not getting paid to say it neither!)

Jim Goldstein conducted a interview/podcast with Leila.
Interesting, and a bit educational as well.
Check it out here.

Everyone take care,

“Macro Art In Nature” – Website

June 13, 2008 - Posted by | abstract, art, blog, botanical, canon, composition, Digital, DSLR, fauna, Fine Art Nature Photography, flora, flowers, hiking, horticulture, insects, landscapes, life, macro, Macro Photographer, nature, Nature Photographer, outdoors, paintings, Photo Blog, photoblog, photography, photoshop, Wildlife | , , , , ,


  1. I’ve seen several favourable reports on TinEye; but like you say Michael, cost will be the deciding factor for most photographers!

    Comment by Chris/Aperture Image | June 14, 2008 | Reply

  2. Chris, … it is now to the point that I can’t even go pick up a few CF cards without the wife giving me the evil eye, … so yes, the “cost” for TinEye would be the overall deciding factor.

    Time will tell.

    Thanks for stopping by Chris,


    Comment by macroartinnature | June 14, 2008 | Reply

  3. Hi Michael,

    Good work on finding your images. I haven’t found any yet myself. Are you billing the offenders?

    Len Wilcox

    Comment by Len Wilcox | June 14, 2008 | Reply

  4. Hi Len,
    Not billing anyone yet. I guess if I find some unauthorized usage in a commercial sense on the internet or in print, I would certainly send them a bill.
    For blogs, right now I am simply sending a message to them and asking for the removal of the images.
    Of course, some of them are in a language that is hard to figure out, and their ISP’s are of no help or they are hard to figure out as well.

    Still, this certainly will become useful at some point in time when a lot more images are indexed fully for TinEye use.

    Thanks again Len,

    Comment by macroartinnature | June 14, 2008 | Reply

  5. Michael,
    Thanks for taking TinEye for a spin. Happy to see that you have found some results. Our index is still small as we mentioned previously but we are growing it so I m sure more relevant results will be coming your way soon. As to pricing: TinEye will always have a free component!

    We are open to feedback so if you would like to share future experiences just drop us an email at tineyefeedback@ideeinc.com so far the feedback we have received has been amazing and that keeps us moving along!


    Comment by Leila Boujnane | June 14, 2008 | Reply

  6. […] from macro art in nature takes TinEye for a spin and is impressed. His review and comments are pretty much in line with what we have been hearing […]

    Pingback by The Idée Blog » Blog Archive » Taking TinEye for a spin | June 14, 2008 | Reply

  7. Very cool. I’ve requested an invite and will be interested to see what comes of it. About time something like this came along, but I hope the price won’t be prohibitive since it’s not really likely that many of these use infringements could be successfully prosecuted – especially within foreign countries.

    By the way the image, and the painted version, are gorgeous, so at least your thieves have good taste!

    Comment by Roberta | June 14, 2008 | Reply

  8. Thanks Leila for stopping by, … I certainly do wish you guys/gals the very best with TinEye!

    Thanks again,

    Comment by macroartinnature | June 14, 2008 | Reply

  9. Hi Roberta,
    Yes, … those foreign countries will always be tough to deal with.
    And yes, it is about time something like this came along.
    It was only a matter of time, especially with the way technology is advancing at a rapid pace.

    Good hearing from you Roberta, and thanks again for stopping by.
    Hope you and the family are all doing well.

    Take care Roberta,

    Comment by macroartinnature | June 14, 2008 | Reply

  10. Thanks Mike I got my acceptance e-mail! :-)

    Comment by Doris J | June 14, 2008 | Reply

  11. Hey Doris, … give the plugin a try.
    Works like a charm using it directly from your browser, and saves you a ton of time on searching.

    Comment by macroartinnature | June 14, 2008 | Reply

  12. Thanks again Mike, like always something actually useful in your post! (I’m still waiting for the copyright office to get their electronic version on line lol government)! Its good to see you making post again as long as it doesn’t mean that your running out of business that is. Have a great day!

    Comment by Theodore | June 14, 2008 | Reply

  13. Thanks again everyone!

    Leila Boujnane was kind enough to allow me 20 invitations for individuals to give the “TinEye Image Search Engine” a try.
    You will not have to sign up for the beta waiting list.

    This is “first come, … first served”, … immediate approval.
    (I only have 17 invitations left right now)

    Follow this link to my Photoshelter Archives.
    In the upper left corner under my handsome face, click on “Contact Photographer”.
    Then, … simply send me your name and e-mail address.
    I will send the “TinEye” invitation to you as soon as I receive the message.

    Please note:
    Today is Father’s Day here in the states, so I may be gone for awhile later today.

    Comment by macroartinnature | June 15, 2008 | Reply

  14. I appreciate hearing about programs that streamline things. Thanks, Mike. (Good to see you surface now & then.)

    Comment by Photo Buffet | June 17, 2008 | Reply

  15. This is off topic. I’ll tell you what is really weird though. Your shot of the butterfly was so close to mine, I had to investigate. I feel relieved you didn’t lift my picture. Go to the link (http://kenkisch.com/travel/china/default.php) and go to image 50. Sorry you have to keep clicking the forward arrow. Similar butterfly, similar flowers, similar composition only rotated. Maybe try re-orienting your image and scan my website and see if it declares a match.

    Comment by Ken | June 17, 2008 | Reply

  16. Agreed in FULL….it is an amazing tool and I have found numerous instances of my images being lifted as well. Seems a lot are on Russian wallpaper sites, FWIW…this is a massive step fwd though in being able to track down things.
    –John http://jdebordphoto.blogspot.com/

    Comment by John De Bord | June 17, 2008 | Reply

  17. Good to see not only here, but others around various blogs and forums are finding their images in use, … and TinEye is getting ready to index about 200 million more images.

    Cool stuff!

    Thanks for stopping by everyone,

    Comment by macroartinnature | June 20, 2008 | Reply

  18. I use another picture-finding-service and they found only one illigal used picture at time. But http://www.picscout.com/ only scans business websites. Maybe this is not enough. Thank you for talking about TinEye.

    Comment by Fiona | June 20, 2008 | Reply

  19. ts really good to have an optimized engine and get quality searches

    Comment by ramson enotoriuwa | July 26, 2008 | Reply

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