How to cite a picture or image

This guide covers how to cite a picture or image regardless of whether you found those images through a web page, google images, some museum website, or through lecture notes or an online article.

We’ll cover how to use a text citation and make sure you format the citation correctly given the website name, image description, title of image, table caption  date of access and best practices when it comes to citing digital images. Like all citations, it’s important to cite the original source which could come from an institution or an individual photographer or creator of the image. 

Do keep in mind that for some visual works, you may need additional permissions.

APA [7th edition]

Whole book

Reference list format   Last Name of author, Initial[s]. (Year published). Book title. Place of publication: Publisher.
Reference list example C   Wesley, C. A. (2019). The importance of audio-visuals in teaching and learning.New York: Titan.
Copyright statement Format From [or Adapted from/Data in column 1 are from] Title of Book [including any edition or volume information, p. xxx], by Author’s First Name Initial[s]. Last Name, year published, Place of publication: Publisher. Copyright year by Name of copyright owner. Reprinted [or Adapted] with permission.
Copyright statement Example   Adapted from The importance of audio-visuals in teaching and learning (p. 37), by C. A. Wesley, 2019, New York: Titan. Copyright 2019 by Titan Press. Reprinted with permission

Edited book chapter

Reference list format   Last Name of author, First Name. (Year published). Title of chapter. In First Name Initial[s] of editor, Last Name (Ed.), Title of book (page numbers). Place of publication: Publisher.
Reference list example      Erwin, G. (2021). The causes of rapid increases in population. In K. Ridgeway (Ed.), The economic consequences of global demographic variations (pp. 41–60). Sheffield, England: Porter Publishing Company.  
Copyright statement Format From [or Adapted from/Data in column 1 are from] “Title of Chapter,” by Chapter Author’s First Name Initial[s], Last Name, in Editor’s First Name Initial[s]. Last Name (Ed.), Title of Book [including, any edition or volume information, p. xxx], year published, Place of publication: Publisher. Copyright year by Name of copyright owner. Reprinted [or Adapted] with permission.
Copyright statement Example   From “The Causes of Rapid Increases in Population,” by G. Erwin, in K. Ridgeway (Ed.), The Economic Consequences of Global Demographic Variations (p. 54), 2021, Sheffield, England: Porter Publishing Company. Copyright 2021 by Porter Publishing Company. Reprinted with permission.

Website

Reference list format Name of website. (2015). Title of post. Retrieved from URL
Reference list example C    Farming Simulator. (2021). Media. Retrieved from https://www.farming-simulator.com/media.php?lang=en&country=us
Copyright statement Format From [or Adapted from/Data in column 1 are from] “Title of Web Document,” by A. N. Author and C. O. Author, year (http://URL). Copyright year by Name of copyright owner. Reprinted [or Adapted] with permission. In the public domain
Copyright statement Example   From “Media,” by Farming Simulator, 2021 (https://www.farming-simulator.com/media.php?lang=en&country=us). In the public domain.

Note that “Reprinted [or Adapted] with permission” should only be included in cases when you have sought for and obtained copyright permission.

Where to attach the copyright statement

If the image you are working with is a table, then the copyright statement should be located at the end of the general table note. If not, APA Style papers will regard it as a figure meaning that the copyright statement should be placed at the end of the figure caption. In case you are working with a PowerPoint presentation, be sure to position the statement at the bottom of the slide containing the reproduced image.

MLA [8th edition]

Citing an image reproduced in a book

The MLA prescribes that when citing an image reproduced in a book, referring to the image in your text and also creating a works-cited-list entry for the entire book is usually sufficient. However, there may be cases when an image appears on a page with no page number and vice versa. Both instances are described below.

Page with no page number

Reference list format   Last Name of book author, First Name. Book title. Publisher, Year published.
Reference list example  Clyde, Sandra. Introductory Geography. First Class Publishers, 2019.  
In-text citation format Parenthetical: (Last name of picture/image creator, figure number). Narrative: Initial[s] of picture/image creator. Last Name (figure number)
In-text citation examples   Parenthetical: (Clyde, fig. 9). Narrative: S. Clyde (fig. 9)

Page with page number

Works cited list format Last Name of book author, Initial[s] of First Name. Book title. Publisher, Year published.
Works cited  example  Clyde, S. Introductory Geography. First Class Publishers, 2019.  
In-text citation format Parenthetical: (Last name of picture/image creator, figure number, page number). Narrative: First Name Initial[s] of picture/image creator. Last Name (Figure number, page number).
In-text citation examples   Parenthetical: (Clyde, fig. 9, p. 61). Narrative:  S. Clyde (fig. 9, p. 61).

Citing an image reproduced in a periodical

For an image sourced from a periodical, the citation format is similar to that of an image obtained from a book. Thus, all you have to do is refer to it in your text and create a works-cited-list entry for the work and the periodical in which the image appears.

Works cited list format   Last Name of author, First Name. Name of Periodical, Volume number, Issue number, Month Year, page numbers 
Works cited example Hutchinson, Patricia. “Contemporary art in the 21st century.” Journal of Creative Arts, vol. 49, no. 11, Jan. 2019, pp. 21-29.  
In-text citation format Parenthetical: (Last name of picture/image creator, figure number, page number). Narrative: Last name of picture/image creator (figure number, page number)
In-text citation examples   Parenthetical: (Hutchinson, fig. 1, p. 22). Narrative: Hutchinson (fig. 1, p. 22).

Citing a photo or image reproduced on a website article

Citing an image reproduced in an article on a website also follows the template for the other cases discussed above – you can refer to the image in text and then key the reference to your works-cited-list for the website article.

Works cited list format   Last Name of article author, First Name. Title of Article [with the image/picture in italics].” Name of website, Day Month Year published, URL.
Works cited example Grovier, Kelly. “The detail that unlocks the Mona Lisa.” www.bbc.com,
12 Feb. 2021, https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20210211-the-detail-that-unlocks-the-mona-lisa.  
In-text citation format Parenthetical: (Last name of picture/image creator). Narrative: Last name of picture/image creator
In-text citation examples   Parenthetical: (Grovier) Narrative: Grovier