citing images in APA

How to Cite Pictures in APA

Citing pictures is a crucial step when using information from other people’s images for your paper. The number of citations you need to give differs based on the image’s source and if it has fallen under copyright.

Most images will need to be cited in both in-text and references, while others may only need to be included in the reference section. There are different citation styles, but in this article, we’ll discuss the APA style.

General Rules When Citing Images in APA style-7th Edition

The following are the details to include in the reference list entry:

• Name of artist/ author/photographer
• Publication or creation date
• Work/publication title
• Media type description in square brackets. e.g., [painting] or [photograph]
• Production company/publisher/museum
• Publisher’s location
• URL for online images

When citing data visualization tools like graphs, include clear definitions to help your readers understand the images.

For in-text citation, it depends on where the image was found.

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How to Cite Images from a Museum Website or a Physical Museum

Use the following structure to cite all museum artwork: photographs, sculptures, paintings, or drawings.

Reference entry: Author’s last name, First name initial. (Publication date/creation date). Artwork title [media type]. Museum name, museum location. URL, if any.

Example: Bright, H. (c. 1800) Springs bridge [Drawing]. The Creatives Museum, Colorado, U.S.A.

In-text citation: (Author’s last name and publication date)
Example: (Bright, 1800)

Citing a Photograph or Digital image

Digital images like Google images are accessed through a modern browser like internet explorer and others. Whether it’s a stock image or a commercial image, it should be cited correctly to avoid plagiarism.

Reference entry: Author’s last name, first initial. (Publication/creation date). Image title. [media type]. Publisher name, university or museum.URL

Example: Mueller, D. (2002). [Young blond woman with a cross around her neck] [Photograph]. Alcuin Library. https:

In-text citation: (Author’s last name, publication date)
Example: (Mueller, 2002)

Infographic Citation

Infographics are graphic visual representations of data or information. According to the American Psychological Association, Infographics are treated like other images. The reference information is usually within the infographic at the bottom.

Reference entry: Author’s last name, first initial. (Creation or publication date). Title of the infographic. [infographic]. Publisher’s name or the organization. URL

Example: Weidmann, T. (2011). The true cost of goods [infographic]. Noodle Livewire.

In-text citation: (Author’s last name and date)
Example: (Weidmann, 2011).

How to Cite a Map Created on Google Maps

Reference entry: Program or service. (n.d.). [Map description]. Retrieval time from the URL-month, day, year

Example: Google. (n.d.). [Google maps directions for biking from New York to Boston]. Retrieved April 24th, 2019 from

In-text citation: (Program or service n.d.)
Example: (Google, n.d.)

Maps created on Google maps don’t have map titles. In this case, a bracketed description will do during citation in the reference list entry.

Citing Online Images with Missing Details

For example:
Reference list: [Photograph of a crying baby during the Civil War]. (2018).

In-text citation: ([Photograph of a crying baby during the Civil War], 2018)

Sometimes you find awesome images online, but the creator is unnamed. In such a case, you can write a description or title in the author’s name place.

Citing Physically Viewed Images

If you visited a museum or a gallery and saw amazing images, you may want to include them on the reference page. Also, if you find images in another text and would like to cite them, there’s a format for that. Citing such pictures is similar to citing other physical artwork.

Reference entry: Author’s last name, first initial. (Year of creation). Title [format]. Museum, Location.

Example: Kandinsky, W. (1913). The blue rider [Oil on canvas]. Alcuin Library, University of North Dakota.

In-text citation: (Author’s last name, year of creation).
Example: (Kandinsky, 1913)

How to Include Images as Figures in your Paper

Including images on your paper requires special treatment. Also, if the pictures aren’t your creation, you should make an entry in your list of figures and the reference page too.

Immediately above the picture, write the figure title. Below the picture, there should be a figure note with identification details.

Your photo or own image only requires a caption without in-text or reference list citations.

Images from other sources require a caption with full citations. The caption contains the following details:

  • “FIGURE”-In capital and italics
  • A number-Image 1= FIGURE 1, Image 2 is FIGURE 2 and so on.
  • A figure title-If the image had no tile, then add a description
  • In-text citation (author, date, source page number.), e.g., (source: Darius, 2011. p. 21).

Finding More Information for Online Images

Most online images show limited details that may not be enough for proper referencing. However, modern browsers offer extra features to get all the information you need. To find more information about an image, you can:

  • Check the bottom part of the image
  • Click on the image
  • Go to the given URL
  • Formatting
  • Both proofreading and editing
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Bottom Line

Images are essential parts of academic writing. They help you to convey your message easily and raise the chance of publication in a journal. Citing images often requires a particular format, but you’ll have no problems once you get the hang of it.

The examples discussed here are not exhaustive but should be helpful in most image citation cases. You can also ask your instructor for more information or read other guides on citing images in APA.

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