This study presents a new method of estimating the size distribution of river bed gravel through image processing. The analysis was done in two steps; first the individual grain images were analyzed and then the grain particle segmentation of river-bed images were processed. In the first part of the analysis, the relationships (long axes, intermediate axes and projective areas) between grain features from images and those measured were compared. For this analysis, 240 gravel particles were collected at three river stations. All particles were measured with vernier calipers and weighed with scales. The measured data showed that river gravel had shape factors of 0.514~0.585. It was found that the weight of gravel had a stronger correlation with the projective areas than the long or intermediate axes. Using these results, we were able to establish an area-weight formula. In the second step, we calculated the projective areas of the river-bed gravels by detecting their edge lines using the ImageJ program. The projective areas of the gravels were converted to the grain-size distribution using the formula previously established. The proposed method was applied to 3 small- and medium- sized rivers in Korea. Comparisons of the analyzed size distributions with those measured showed that the proposed method could estimate the median diameter within a fair error range. However, the estimated distributions showed a slight deviation from the observed value, which is something that needs improvement in the future.