How to cite an image in MLA

The format in which you cite an image in MLA style depends on where you viewed the image. Images are often found by searching online; in this case, you’ll cite the website where the image is hosted, in the following format.

Format Creator last name, First name. “Image Title.” or Description of image. Website Name, Day Month Year, URL.
Works Cited entry Quinn, Pete. “European Grey Wolf Portrait.” Flickr, 21 Dec. 2019,
In-text citation (Quinn)

Note that if you find an image using a search engine like Google, you should cite and link to the site hosting the image, not the search engine.

Including images as figures

If you include an image directly in your paper, it should be labeled “Fig.” (short for “Figure”), given a number, and presented in the MLA figure format.

Directly below the image, place a centered caption starting with the figure label and number (e.g. “Fig. 2”), then a period. For the rest of the caption, you have two options:

  1. Give full information about the source in the same format as you would in the Works Cited list, except that the author name is not inverted.
  2. Or give just basic information about the source, like the author, title, and year.

If you go for option 1, you can leave this source out of your Works Cited list, since you already give full information in the caption. With option 2, you do need a Works Cited entry giving full information. The example below takes the second approach.

MLA 9 figure example

Citing images from museums and galleries

To cite an artwork from a museum or gallery, mention the name of the institution and the city it is located in (unless the city name is already part of the institution’s name).

Format Artist last name, First name. Artwork Title. or Description of artwork. Year, Institution Name, City.
Works Cited entry Rembrandt. The Night Watch. 1642, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.
In-text citation (Rembrandt)

If you viewed the artwork on the museum’s website, instead of in person, you should include the website name (usually the same as the name of the museum) and the URL.

Format Artist last name, First name. Artwork Title. or Description of artwork. Year. Website Name, URL.
Works Cited entry Goya, Francisco. Saturn Devouring His Son. 1820–23. Museo del Prado,
In-text citation (Goya)

What can proofreading do for your paper?

Scribbr editors not only correct grammar and spelling mistakes, but also strengthen your writing by making sure your paper is free of vague language, redundant words and awkward phrasing.

See editing example

Citing images from books

When you refer to an image you encountered in a book, it’s often sufficient to just cite the book as a whole. Include a figure and/or a page number to identify the image you’re referring to.

Format Author last name, First name. Book Title. Publisher, Year.
Works Cited entry Aarts, Bas. Oxford Modern English Grammar, Oxford UP, 2011.
In-text citation (Aarts, fig. 3.1, p. 67)

But if the image is by someone other than the book’s main author, provide details of the image (i.e. author, title or description, year) followed by details of the book in the usual format.

If the Works Cited entry specifies a single page on which the image appears, you don’t need to add a page number in the in-text citation.

Format Image creator last name, First name. Image Title. or Description of image. Year. Book Title, by Author first name Last name, Publisher, Year, p. Page number of image.
Works Cited entry Hals, Frans. The Clown with the Lute. 1625. The Norton Shakespeare, 3rd ed., edited by Stephen Greenblatt, W. W. Norton, 2016, p. 35.
In-text citation (Hals)

A similar format is used to cite an image reproduced in a PowerPoint.

Citing images from journal articles

Images from journal articles can also often just be referred to in the text, citing the whole article with a figure and/or page number specifying the image’s location. This approach makes sense when the image was created by the article’s author(s).

Format Author last name, First name. “Article Title.” Journal Name, vol. Volume, no. Issue, Month Year, pp. Page Range, DOI or URL.
Works Cited entry Abrahms, Max, et al. “Explaining Civilian Attacks: Terrorist Networks, Principal-Agent Problems and Target Selection.” Perspectives on Terrorism, vol. 12, no. 1, Feb. 2018, pp. 23–45,
In-text citation (Abrahms et al., fig. 2, p. 30)

Where the image is not by the author(s) of the article, it’s better to list details of the image followed by the usual details for a journal article.

Format Author last name, First name. Image Title. or Description of image. Year. “Article Title,” by Author first name Last name, Journal Name, vol. Volume, no. Issue, Month Year, pp. Page Range, DOI or URL, p. Page number of image.
Works Cited entry Rembrandt. View of Amsterdam. 1640. “Art in Social Studies: Exploring the World and Ourselves with Rembrandt,” by Iftikhar Ahmad, The Journal of Aesthetic Education, vol. 42, no. 2, Summer 2008, pp. 19–37,, p. 26.
In-text citation (Rembrandt)

Frequently asked questions about MLA citations

When do I need to include an image citation in MLA style?

Whenever you refer to an image created by someone else in your text, you should include a citation leading the reader to the image you’re discussing.

If you include the image directly in your text as a figure, the details of the source appear in the figure’s caption. If you don’t, just include an in-text citation wherever you mention the image, and an entry in the Works Cited list giving full details.

How do I cite a source with no title in MLA style?

When a source has no title, this part of your MLA reference is replaced with a description of the source, in plain text (no italics or quotation marks, sentence-case capitalization).

Mackintosh, Charles Rennie. Chair of stained oak. 1897–1900, Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
How do I cite a source with no author or page numbers in MLA?

If a source has no author, start the MLA Works Cited entry with the source title. Use a shortened version of the title in your in-text citation.

If a source has no page numbers, you can use an alternative locator (e.g. a chapter number, or a timestamp for a video or audio source) to identify the relevant passage in your in-text citation. If the source has no numbered divisions, cite only the author’s name (or the title).

If you already named the author or title in your sentence, and there is no locator available, you don’t need a parenthetical citation:

  • Rajaram argues that representations of migration are shaped by “cultural, political, and ideological interests.”
  • The homepage of The Correspondent describes it as “a movement for radically different news.”
How do I cite a source with multiple authors in MLA?

In MLA Style, if a source has two authors, name both authors in your in-text citation and Works Cited entry. If there are three or more authors, name only the first author, followed by et al.

Number of authors In-text citation Works Cited entry
1 author (Moore 37) Moore, Jason W.
2 authors (Moore and Patel 37) Moore, Jason W., and Raj Patel.
3+ authors (Moore et al. 37) Moore, Jason W., et al.
Is this article helpful?
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.


March 14, 2021 at 9:58 PM

How would you cite an image that has no title?


Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
March 15, 2021 at 2:00 PM

MLA recommends just providing a short description of the image, in plain text, in place of the title. See this FAQ.


December 13, 2020 at 12:24 PM

Hi, how do you cite a screenshot from a YouTube video?


Shona McCombes
Shona McCombes (Scribbr Team)
December 16, 2020 at 6:58 PM


Your best option would be simply to cite the YouTube video itself, and include the timestamp of the screenshot in your in-text citation. Hope that helps!


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