Abstract One of the challenging tasks in today image processing is image registration. Image registration is inevitable whenever images taken for example at different times or from different perspectives need to be compared or integrated. Typically, the location of corresponding points in the different views of one object or even different objects is distorted, for example, due to motion or different properties of the underlying optical systems of imaging devices. Thus, a basic problem is to find a meaningful spatial transformation of one image, such that the transformed image becomes similar to a second one. For many application, it is also desirable to guide the registration by additional information, for example, the locations of outstanding points. In this note, be present a general variational based approach for image registration which allows the choice of a user supplied similarity measure and a user supplied regularizer as well as the integration of external knowledge, like, for example, the location of outstanding points.