How to cite an image in APA Style

This article reflects the APA 7th edition guidelines. Click here for APA 6th edition guidelines.

An APA image citation includes the creator’s name, the year, the image title and format (e.g. painting, photograph, map), and the location where you accessed or viewed the image.

Format Last name, Initials. (Year). Image title [Format]. Site Name. or Museum, Location. URL
Reference list van Gogh, V. (1889). The starry night [Painting]. Museum of Modern Art, New York City, NY, United States.
In-text citation (van Gogh, 1889)

When you include an image or photo in your text, as well as citing the source, you must also present it as a figure and include any copyright/permissions information.

You can create your citations automatically with Scribbr’s free APA citation generator.

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Citing images accessed online

For online images, include the name of the site you found it on, and a URL. Link directly to the image where possible, as it may be hard to locate from the other information given.

Format Last name, Initials. (Year). Image title [Format]. Site Name. URL
Reference list Thompson, M. (2020). Canyon wren [Photograph]. Flickr.
In-text citation (Thompson, 2020)

Missing information

It can often be hard to find accurate information about images accessed online. Try looking for alternate sources of an image, checking image sites like Flickr that provide reliable information on their images, or finding a different image in cases where the one you planned to use has no reliable information.

However, if you do need to cite an image with no author, date or title listed, there are ways around this.

For untitled images, include a description of the image, in square brackets, where the title would usually go. If there is no publication date, add “n.d.” in place of the date, and add the date that you accessed the image.

Reference list Google. (n.d.). [Google Maps map of Utrecht city center]. Retrieved January 10, 2020, from
In-text citation (Google, n.d.)

For images where the creator is unknown, you can use the title or description in the author position.

Reference list [Photograph of a violent confrontation during the Hong Kong protests]. (2019).
In-text citation ([Confrontation during Hong Kong protests], 2019)

Citing images viewed in person

If you viewed an image in person rather than online—for example in a museum or gallery, or in another text—the source information is different.

For images viewed in a museum or gallery, you include the name and location of the institution where you viewed the image.

Format Last name, Initials. (Year). Image title [Format]. Museum, Location.
Reference list Goya, F. (1819–1823). Saturn devouring his son [Painting]. Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain.
In-text citation (Goya, 1819–1823)

Location information includes the city, state/province (abbreviated), and country, e.g. Sydney, NSW, Australia. Omit the state/province if not applicable.

Citations for images sourced from a print publication such as a book, journal, or magazine include information about the print source in which the image originally appeared:

American Psychological Association. (2020). Sample conceptual model [Infographic]. In Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed., p. 238).

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Including images as figures

When you include the image itself in your paper, it should be properly formatted as an APA figure, with a number, a descriptive title, and an entry in your list of figures if you have one.

The title of a figure should appear immediately above the image itself, and will vary according to the type of image cited. For example, an artwork is simply the work’s title.

A note below the figure may include further details regarding its authorship and medium, copyright/permissions information, additional explanatory notes, or other elements.

APA image example

Note that any figures that you didn’t create yourself should appear both in your list of figures (if you have one) and on your reference page. Figures you create yourself only appear in the list of figures.

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Jack Caulfield

Jack is a Brit based in Amsterdam, with an MA in comparative literature. He writes and edits for Scribbr, and reads a lot of books in his spare time.

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