How to See Who’s Stealing Your Photos


Thankfully, there are ways to find out who is stealing your photos and what you can do to stop them. Among the methods, there are both peaceful solutions and through the courts. We will analyze each technique in detail and understand how best to act in a situation when your image is stolen.

In this article, Portfoliobox will give you the best working tips for tracking down who uses your photos without authorization and how to get them taken down. Keep reading for more information.

How to Tell if a Picture Is Stolen

How to Tell if a Picture Is Stolen

It's a sad reality, but photo theft is all too common in today's digital age. Someone takes a photo from a photographer's website or social media and uses it for their purposes. If you think one of your images may have been stolen, there are a few ways to check:

  • First, do a reverse image search on Google Images to check your photo. This will show you all the places that image appears on the Internet. If your photo appears on another site without your permission, that's a good indication that it's been stolen.
  • You can also try searching for the image on TinEye. This site specializes in finding stolen images and will give you more results than a Google search.
  • If you've been using your photos long enough and you're sure the Internet is full of your works, you might want to try using Pixsy for checking. This resource helps authors protect their work. The company monitors your photos and their use by other authors without your permission. Pixsy can officially contact the thieves of your work on your behalf and refund any income you may have lost due to photo theft. However, the company does not work for free and can charge up to 50% of the amount it managed to refund.

If you find your stolen images, you can contact the site where it's being used and ask them to take it down. You can also try contacting the person who stole your photo and asking them to stop using it. In some cases, you may be able to get them to pay you for using your stolen photo.

How to Prevent Your Images From Being Stolen

How to Prevent Your Images From Being Stolen

Preventing photo theft in the first place is the best way to deal with this problem. So, let's get closer to the methods for preventing images from being stolen:

  1. Watermark your photos with your name or website address so that you will at least get credit for them if they are stolen. 
  2. Check sites before you post your photos and ensure they are secure and won't allow others to download pictures without your permission. 
  3. One of the simplest and most working methods is a copyright patent. So, by registering the copyright for your work with the US Copyright Office, you are guaranteed to defeat any thief of your work on the Internet. However, you have to pay for this service. Although the service is worth the effort and money spent, it gives a 100% result in a direct collision with thieves.
  4. Crop the part of your photo. One of the best ways to prove that the photo belongs to you, you can provide exclusive pictures. So, you can crop part of the photo and put on the Internet only the cropped one. You can show a second picture version no one else has if stolen. And if you save previous shots from the original photoset, you can show other versions of the same photo, which can help you resolve the dispute.
  5. Prevent hotlinking. At the same time, this method doesn't stop the thief from simply saving your photo and embedding it on their website. However, you can try to prevent your photos from being downloaded using the HTACCESS method.
  6. Disable right click. Try to do this, and the attacker will not be able to upload your photo or take a picture. Although this does not entirely prevent them from downloading your images, it will make them sweat and overcome many obstacles before reaching the desired goal. 
  7. Check the photo's metadata and add your information. This method will help you protect your photo ownership even better. Unfortunately, hackers can edit all this data and add something else, but all attackers know about it.

What to Do After You Find Out Your Images Have Been Stolen

What to Do After You Find Out Your Images Have Been Stolen

If you find your stolen images, you can contact the site owner where it's being used and ask them to take them down. You can also try contacting the person who stole your photo and asking them to stop using it. In some cases, you may be able to get them to pay you for using your stolen photo. 

In this case, the main thing is to understand that everything can be solved through diplomacy. Perhaps the owner of the site did not even know that the photo belonged to someone or did not earn a cent from your stolen photo. In this case, it is best first to contact the site owner and explain the situation peacefully, without lawsuits and other stressful situations.

You should first document the crime if you discover that your photo has been stolen. Take a screenshot of your screen and try to fit in as much data as possible, which you can then use as evidence. This should be done before you even contact the owner of the site where the stolen photos were found. 

Why in that order? Everything is very simple. If you write to the site owner that they stole your photo from you, they can remove it from the site and erase all evidence before you even file a claim somewhere. And if there is no evidence, the crime was not committed.

The screenshot should have:

  • Location on the site
  • URL
  • Timestamp

This will be useful if the scammer removes the photo from the site or if you cannot access the page with the image for some reason.

Watermark and DMCA

If you have a watermark on your stolen image, this will help you prove that it is yours and make it more likely that the site will take it down. If you don't have a watermark, you can try sending a DMCA takedown notice to the site where it's being hosted. This is a formal request from the copyright holder (you) asking them to remove the infringing content (the stolen image).


One of the things you can do when you notice that your photo has been stolen is to file a copyright infringement lawsuit. Although this method is the most reliable, at the same time, it is also the most difficult, time-consuming, and nervous. For the process, you need a lawyer to help you competently draw up all the necessary documents to file a lawsuit in federal court against someone who stole your photo.

Find Out What You Want

Do you want compensation for your work? If yes, which one? Your task now is to evaluate your work and the potential damage from losing a photo. You can speak to colleagues in the shop and learn all the details.

Remember that the photos you take are your own, and you decide how you want to share them.


Photo theft is a sad reality in the digital age. However, you can do a few things to prevent it from happening to you. Watermark your photos with your name or website address to make it harder for people to steal them. And be sure only to post your photos on secure sites that won't allow others to download and use them without your permission easily. If you find out that one of your images has been stolen, you can contact the site where it's being used and ask them to take it down. You may also be able to get the person who stole your photo to pay you for its use.

However, to make anyone want to steal your photos at all, you need to become a professional in your field and take fascinating pictures. Each photographer goes through many stages, from buying a camera, creating a portfolio, and ending with big orders with large fees. To some extent, we can say that if a photo was stolen from you, you are a real professional, and for a second, you can even praise yourself for it.


Is it illegal to steal pictures from Instagram?

Yes. You must obtain permission to share someone else's Instagram photo. Without it, you are infringing on someone else's copyrighted work.

Is it illegal to steal someone's pictures?

Stolen photographs and copyright infringement are both illegal. Avoid right-clicking and copying images from other websites.

What do hackers do with stolen photos?

If this is your data, hackers may begin to blackmail you and demand money or other things. If the photos were simply used on the site, the owner could make money on them.

Is it so dangerous to steal someone's photos?

Depending on the purpose for which you steal the photo. If you don't make money from it, it's not dangerous. If you make a profit for someone else's photo - get ready for court and heavy fines if you are caught.

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