Running a photo contest? Do a reverse image search!

By

Published January 12, 2021

The grand prize winner of Globe’s Picture Perfect 2.0 has been accused of submitting an image from a stock photo site for his winning entry.

Charles Chamberlaine Igot won the grand prize for his entry “Sunset Catcher.” Igot, who has since deactivated his Facebook account, posted photos on March 6, 2020 when he got his prize: P50,000 and a trophy.

It turned out that the winning photo was actually taken by Vietnamese photographer Quang Nguyen Vinh. According to the image information, it was of fishermen in Phu Yen province in Vietnam. The photograph, which was taken in 2017, is available for free download and use in various stock photo sites such as Pexel.

Globe Picture Perfect 2.0
Charles Chamberlaine Igot’s winning entry as featured in the Globe website for the contest.
The photo download page on Pexels.

It’s an embarrassing turn of events. Organizers of the contest, however, could have avoided it by performing a simple reverse image search. For the unfamiliar, a reverse image search is when you upload a photo and a search engine like Google then scours the web to check if it has been used elsewhere and on which sites.

When you do a reverse image search using the grand prize photo featured in Globe’s website, you’d see that it has been used as stock photo in many websites, including Philippine sites. To do a reverse image search, you just download the photo in question and upload it to Google (click on image search). On Chrome it’s much simpler: you just right click on the photo and choose “Search Google for image” in the menu.

USED IN MANY SITES. A reverse image search shows that the winning photo was in fact used in many websites, indicating a high likelihood of being a stock image.
USED IN MANY SITES. A reverse image search shows that the winning photo was in fact used in many websites, indicating a high likelihood of being a stock image.

Igot was recently in the spotlight when his prenup photos of a couple in a muddy paddy went viral after being shared by several social media accounts of news organizations. Here, here, and here. (It seems pre-nup photos are a reporting beat now in newsrooms.)

NO THANKS. Generous photographers like Quang Nguyen Vinh allow people to use their beautiful images for free and often without a photo credit or backlink.
NO THANKS. Generous photographers like Quang Nguyen Vinh allow people to use their beautiful images for free and often without a photo credit or backlink.

By Max Limpag

Max is a journalist and blogger based in Cebu. He has written and edited for such publications as The Freeman, The Independent Post, Today, Sun.Star Cebu, and Cebu Daily News. He is also a mobile app and web developer and co-founded InnoPub Media with his wife Marlen, who is also a journalist.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *