How to cite an image in APA Style (6th edition)

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

APA image citation example
Format Author name. (Year). Image title [Format]. Retrieved from URL
or Museum, Location.
Reference list Delacroix, E. (1826–1827). Faust attempts to seduce Marguerite
[Lithograph]. Paris, France: The Louvre.
In-text citation (Delacroix, 1826–1827)

When you include an image or photo in your text, as well as citing the source, you also need to list it as a figure. Images you created yourself don’t have to be cited, but should still be included in the list of figures.

You can create your citations automatically with the free APA citation generator.

Generate an APA image citation

Citing images accessed online

For online images, the source location is the URL. Include a link directly to the image where possible, as it may be hard to locate from the other information given:

Thompson, M. (2020). Canyon wren [Photograph]. Retrieved from

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.

Google. (n.d.). [Google Maps map of Utrecht city center]. Retrieved January 10, 2020, from

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

[Photograph of a violent confrontation during the Hong Kong protests]. (2019). Retrieved January 5, 2020, from

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 other institution, you include the name and location of the institution where you viewed the image:

Bosch, H. [c. 1482]. The last judgement [Triptych]. Bruges, Belgium: Groeningemuseum.

Location information includes the city and state (e.g. Chicago, IL) for locations within the US, and the city and country anywhere else.

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 description/title, and an entry in your list of figures.

The title or description of a figure should appear immediately below the image itself, and will vary according to the type of image cited. For example, an artwork might include the work’s title, the artist’s name, the date of composition, and some information about the materials used:

Example of a figure in an APA paper

The format for figure captions is less fixed than it is for citations, but it will always include a figure number and a title or description of the image, and may also include copyright/permissions information, additional explanatory notes, or other elements.

Note that any figures that you didn’t create yourself should appear in both your list of figures and 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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1 comment

Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
November 5, 2020 at 4:38 PM

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