our everyday life

How to Locate Someone With Just a Photo

by Colleen Collins

You need to locate a person. but all you have is a photo. This search requires some effort on your part, from showing the photo to people to posting an ad in a newspaper, to obtain information on that person's whereabouts. Although this search is more difficult if you don't have a name, it's still possible to find a person based on a photo alone.

Show it to people. If you know the area where this person might live, work, exercise or conduct other activities (or may have done so in the past) show the photo to businesses, organizations and people in that area. Ask if they recognize the person, and if so, whether they can provide further information (a phone number, address, place of employment).

Distribute flyers. Create a flyer with the photo, a brief explanation why you're looking for this person, and your contact information (phone number, email address). Distribute the flyers in the region where you think the person might be located, request businesses and organizations to post the flyers in a public place for their customers or community to see (for example, on kiosks).

Create a website. Set up a website that contains a scan of that person's picture, an explanation of why you're trying to locate the person, and your contact information (phone number, email address).

Place a newspaper ad. If you know the region where a person might have lived, worked, or conducted another activity, place an ad in that local newspaper. Include the photo, the reason why you're trying to find the person, and your contact information.

Search missing persons websites. It may be the person you're seeking is also listed in a missing persons website. You can check photos to see if any match your photo in both the National Center for Missing Adults (Theyaremissed.org) and The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (Namus.gov). If you don't find a photo, and you believe the person you're seeking is officially missing, contact either of these organizations to register your photo. Both of these organizations also offer solutions and other resources for finding missing persons.

Conduct a reverse image search. TinEye is a reverse image search engine that lets people search, using an image, for copies of that image on the Internet. Go to Tineye.com, press the "Choose File" button to upload a scanned image of the photo, and follow the instructions. If there are copies of the same photo on the Internet, there might also be information on that site that helps you locate the person. For example, if you find a website that contains a copy of your photo, check the website content for information about the photo (such as a name or contact information for that person). You can also contact the website owner and ask for more information about the person in that photo.

About the Author

In 1997 Harlequin published Colleen Collins' first novel, followed by many more by Harlequin and Dorchester. Her articles and writing have appeared in "P.I. Magazine," "Pursuit Magazine" and "Cosmopolitan." She earned a B.A. in theater arts from University of California, Santa Barbara and is an active member of Mystery Writers of America.