Sometimes it may be a relatively harmless occurrence, with perhaps a blogger or Facebook user posting a photo without realising they ought to ask for permission. Other times it's more serious and damaging to the artist where there have been Facebook pages and websites set up using images and offering to create replicas of handmade items or prints of original artworks cheaply.
Whilst there are a number of things people can do to try and prevent such theft - such as watermarking photographs, it's not 100% foolproof. After all, artists and makers need to make sure their images are presented nicely enough for people to want to buy their products and if somebody is determined enough and is able to use Photoshop, they can get round watermarks to a degree.
Quite a big part of the problem is that the owner of the images often doesn't even know their images are being used. This is where Google comes in. When I was discussing it, quite a few people seemed unaware of the function in Google Images whereby you could search for copies of your image that had been indexed by Google. What's more, you could even use it to try and track down the original artist of a piece photographed if you wanted to. It's really easy as you'll see from these instructions:
1. Go to Google Images, or go to Google and click on Images at the top of the screen. Then in the search bar click on the little camera icon (as pictured below).
2. Decide whether to paste the URL (web location address) of the image or to upload it from your computer or device, then click search.
3. Hey presto! Google returns a list of all the places it knows of that have your image.
That's about it! I know it won't help prevent people from taking your images but at least if you know about it, you can begin to do something about it. And perhaps if people know that they're more likely to get found out, they'll be less inclined to take images in the first place.