The 11 Best Image Search Engines
These days, the humble search for images isn’t so humble anymore.
You can find almost any image type imaginable with the tools at your fingertips.
Need a high-quality, high-resolution image to use for your website or in your next marketing campaign?
Today’s tools all feature advanced image search filters that will help you weed out wrong sizes, orientations, colors, and even usage rights so you can find what you need and use it. without fear of copyright infringement.
Want to buy a license to use an image? There are image search engines that help you find what you need and buy.
Need to find the source of a specific image? Perform a reverse image search.
Looking for office inspiration or decoration? Curious to know more about a specific subject (like Van Gogh’s paintings) or what something looks like (like the Eastern Bluebird)?
Image search engines are also great for these needs.
In no particular order, here are the best image search engines.
1. TinEye Reverse Image Search Engine
TinEye is a reverse image search engine that helps you search for images and find where they appear on the web.
This tool allows you to search both by URL and by uploaded images.
Simply click the arrow icon in front of the search box and upload any image from your computer to find where it appears online.
TinEye also offers browser extensions for faster reverse image searches directly from any webpage. These allow you to right-click on any image and search for it using TinEye’s technology.
You can get an extension for Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Opera.
2. Google Pictures
You can’t beat Google Images for basic image searches. Just enter a keyword and go.
For a more in-depth search, there are also many filters.
For example, when I search [blue bird]I can limit photos to cartoons, clip art, illustrations or even logo designs.
To go even further, clicking on “Tools” gives you access to more filters: size, color, usage rights, type of photo and when it was uploaded/created.
It’s very handy for finding exactly the type of image you want, as well as royalty-free images.
Google Reverse Image Search
Google Images also offers a reverse image search tool. To access it, click the camera icon in the search box.
3. Yahoo Image Search
Yahoo Image Search is another option for image search engines.
This tool looks like Google Images, but the results are slightly different.
4. Bing Image Search
Want an alternative to Google?
The layout and functionality of Bing Image Search is still pretty close to Google’s, and you’ll get similar results:
One cool feature is the People filter, which lets you choose photos of people based on how they were photographed (only faces or head and shoulders).
Pretty useful, right?
5. Pinterest visual search tool
Did you know that Pinterest has its own visual search tool? It makes sense since it is an image-based platform.
It’s quite simple to use:
- Log in to your Pinterest account.
- Click any pin in your home feed (or any profile or board).
- Click the icon in the lower right corner of the pinned image.
The tool will return results visually similar to the image you searched for.
Pinterest has quite a large database of images thanks to user-created pins, so it’s a source you shouldn’t rule out when you need to find a particular image.
Looking for an image search engine with more varied results? Try Openverse (formerly known as Creative Commons Search).
This tool is part of the WordPress open source project.
Essentially, this search engine indexes “open licensed images from the internet”. This means that they are free, in the public domain or licensed under Creative Commons.
You won’t get results as specific as those you’ll find on Google, Bing, or Yahoo, but if you don’t need that, it could be a good tool for finding interesting photos that broadly match your keyword. .
Useful filters also allow you to narrow your search by license type, or if you intend to modify/adapt the image or use it for commercial purposes.
Flickr is a different image search engine because the pool of images comes from amateur and professional photographers sharing their work on the platform.
If you like to browse and search for beautiful photos, this is your place.
If you’re looking for photos to use in commercial or marketing projects, be sure to filter your searches based on the appropriate license agreement.
8. Getty Images
For great stock photos, check out Getty Images.
You can search by keyword Where image/video – just click “Search by image or video” in the search box.
If you’re searching by keyword, the auto-suggest feature offers helpful options to narrow your search.
Getty Images also offers an incredible array of search filters, so there’s no way you won’t find the exact type of image you’re looking for.
keep in mind: You will need to pay for a royalty-free license for the photo you want to use. Getty Images offers this image-by-image license, or you can purchase photo packs for a flat fee.
Shutterstock is another cheaper image search engine for royalty-free stock photos.
Their image library is as large as Getty Images and their search filters are just as thorough.
Shutterstock offers prepaid image packs as well as annual plans. Their most popular includes 350 image downloads/month for $169/month.
Another good option for marketers on a budget: Get a five-pack of royalty-free images for $49.
10. The New York Public Library’s Digital Collections
Looking for high quality digital images, including high resolution scans of historical books, maps, papers, sketchbooks, records, photographs, and more.
NYPL Digital Collections has an extensive archive of images in the public domain, which means you can use and reuse the images however you see fit.
It’s a great image search engine for finding unique photos.
Once the search begins, it is fun to explore the different items digitized.
For example, this search led me to an illustrated page from a book on New York wildlife.
Quite simply, these are images you won’t find anywhere else.
11. Search for Yandex images and similar images
The Yandex search engine offers various ways to search and browse images.
At Yandex Images, you can explore image collections by topic.
Clicking on it takes you to a robust image search where you can filter and sort by size, orientation, image type, file format, and more.
Similar Images is another Yandex image tool that helps you find similar items to your existing one – for example, products with similar characteristics.
Image search engines are full of potential
Biggest takeaway on this list?
Dare to step out of your Google bubble and discover the other image search engines available now.
There is a tool for every type of image search you want to perform. So don’t limit yourself to just one.
Finally, don’t forget to try different keyword variations and search filters to unearth those hidden gems. You never know what you may find.
Feature image: Kaspars Grinvalds/Shutterstock