Author Options:

Using original pictures... Is there a way to tell? Answered

lol... this is my 2nd pet peeve.  (My first pet peeve is clicking on an Instructable that isn't an Instructable... or a half-@ss one at best.) 

Back to the question... is there a way to tell if the photographs in an instructable are original or just something snagged from the www? 

Disclaimer: I occasionally use the photo below (snagged from the www) for the final step of some Ibles .  It's always under the title "Author's Notes".  

Now another notetoself:  Take your own dang picture since this bugs you so much, ;-)


A lot of people on instructables are subject matter experts for specific fields and view instructables for those topics. When your pictures look like they come from different cameras, at different resolutions and
"staged" differently then you got problems.

For example: Check out a definitive guide to airsoft. The first picture (or last) will be someone actually in the military.

You can also just drag an image into google and it will tell you where it first appeared on the internet and show you visually similar images. your image brought up 338 sources in 0.3 sec.

"You can also just drag an image into google and it will tell you where it first appeared on the internet and show you visually similar images. your image brought up 338 sources in 0.3 sec."

This course of action sounds extremely useful.  I'll just need to learn how to do it!  Thanks!!!

oh.. was just typing images.google.com and explaining a bit then i saw your post.. :)

Mea culpa! I have used in the past a few pictures that are either public domain or that have a Creative Commons license. I can recognize the author's pictures because most times they have been taken with poor lighting, odd angles, and low resolution cameras. On the other side we also have a few professional photographers here whom take awesome pictures. But with most Instructables is very easy to tell when someone have downloaded a picture from somewhere else when you look to the whole project.

The particular Ible I'm thinking about... well... the entire Ible looks to be using an outside source for the photographs. At least compared to the author's previously-exhibited photography skills. 8-/

Sounds like one of mine. When I wrote a certain ible the subject matter wasn't available anymore. So I found photos on the net that "appeared" to be in public domain and used them.

Some subjects don't lend themselves to easy photography and it's either use something available on the net or don't do the ible.

Publishing an ible uses several different skills and not all of us have them as equal strengths.

Often it is a matter of gut feeling, but I look for discontinuity of style & background, changes in size between steps, changes in resolution or visual texture (for want of a better word).

If there's doubt over the provenance of an image, I often simply ask, using various levels of subtly, depending on the depth of my suspicions.

A big giveaway is if the style of writing in the project is radically different to the style and skill of the (alleged) author's casual comments.

Other times, the dodgy photos are revealed by other stolen content - googling for a distinctive sentence can discover the source of both text and images.

Interesting... and sleuthing! Thanks for the tips!


5 years ago

  • Took a detailed look at the pic
  • looked for near-visible text / symbols at 6X
  • Inverted colors at 6X
  • Image was Left Right transpose
  • Individual character stringing for text
  • Increased size by 11%
The only hint that it isn't your picture is the word "MEDIUM" in the file name.


wow... you are thorough!!!


Go to tineye.com and paste the URL of the picture. It searches the web for similar images and gives you a list of them. If it doesn't find any results however, that isn't an indication that it's unique.


Thanks for this, I just put the add on into my firefox.

I ran her image and it comes back with 12 results, one of which appears to be the origin. It is a stock photo that is for sale.

I tried an ible picture of mine to stock-photo, that I know has been
republished and there was a Zer0 result, from 2.2 billion.

Yet it can be found by typing  iron penny   on Google images..

I'm not impressed...


It found several that I tried . It may work from indexed images rather than real time and it might look for the most popular or most viewed images not bothering with those that are only a few in number.


5 years ago

It is possible to embed a watermark into a picture and thus tag it with an identity if a person is worried about it being used with out their permission. I have thought of doing it with some of my pictures but haven't bothered with it so far. If someone were to use one of my pictures commercially and make a profit on it I would get a little upset. If you can find out who actually took the picture (or pictures) a request to use it would be appropriate. I think a bigger question mark is downloading a picture and editing it, cropping out most of it to use a specific blowup or altering it drastically from the original. So much can be done with software now that it is a question as to where the original stops and the picture becomes a new creation.

Well if the author is a good author and honest then there will be an acknowledgment somewhere on the page or picture notes. I've done this once or twice because I forgot to take a picture of a tool I used. It sounds like though that the particular author in question isn't the type to acknowledge borrowed photos. I've found that typically your first and second pet peeves go hand in hand and you can avoid the second one by avoiding the first.


5 years ago

When I go to links in the ible and the company selling a product has the same pictures that are in the ible, I suspect they aren't original to the ible. Of course, the author may work for that company as a photographer or otherwise have rights to them.

Do the photographs flow

Are they good quality ( not always an indication of probability)

Is their detail

Do the pictures match the text