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How to Use Google More Effectively

Boolean operators, site searches, & country internet codes are just a few of the things we cover to help improve your searches.

Why do a Reverse Image Search?

Young monk seal underwater

Doing a reverse image search allows for you to find artist/photographer/creator information when you have nothing but an image itself to go by. Why would you want to do this kind of search?


Well, have you ever found a piece of art and wondered who made it but been unable to find the artist/photographer/creator's name? Have you ever taken a photograph and wondered if anyone else was using it online? Have you ever found a visually stunning picture and wanted to find more like it? These are all very good reasons to do a reverse image search. 

"Young Monk Seal Underwater" by NOAA/PIFSC/HMSRP [CC BY 2.0], via Flickr.

How to do a Reverse Image Search

Depending upon which web browser you are using there are two ways to perform a reverse image search; from anywhere on the web, or directly from your computer's desktop.

If you are using Google Chrome and looking at an image on the web, simply right click on the image in question and select "search Google for image" from the menu that appears. This is illustrated below in the image on the left. This type of search ONLY works with Google Chrome.   

Hawaiian monk seal right click with "search Google for image" selected Google reverse image search from computer desktop

If you're doing your reverse image search from a file on your computer's desktop click on the file image and (while holding down the left mouse button) drag and drop the icon into the Google Images search bar (images.google.com). This is illustrated above in the image on the right. This type of search can be performed using any standard web browser (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc...). 

The results that are returned will be the same regardless of the way that the reverse image search was performed. 

Once you do your reverse image search Google will typically return three different types of results. 


First, you will get a definition of your image, and a few web pages related to that definition.

Reverse image search results for Hawaiian monk seal; definition and image sizes


Next, you will see a variety of images that are visually similar. 

  Reverse image search results for Hawaiian monk seal; visually similar images


Lastly, you will see links to a variety of web pages that include matching images.  

Reverse image search results for Hawaiian monk seal; web pages that include matching images


When you're done searching for your images and image information don't forget to create a citation or attribution for any/all images that require it.


To cite this LibGuide use the following templates:

APA: Northern Essex Community College Library. (Date updated). Title of page. Title of LibGuide. URL

MLA: Northern Essex Community College Library. "Title of Page." Title of LibGuide, Date updated, URL.