How to Cite an Image (With Examples)

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Over half of students admitted to plagiarizing off the internet according to one survey.

And, those are just the students that admitted it. Plagiarizing is more than intentional copying and pasting. Failing to cite your sources can land you in serious trouble with your school or organization. 

Did you know you also have to cite your images? Unless you took the image yourself, you have to cite every image in your project. Learn how to cite an image with our guide below!

Information Needed

Regardless of what format you use, you will need the following information for your citation. 

You’ll need:

  • The photographer or creator’s name
  • Title
  • Location
  • Date
  • Website, print source, etc.
  • Publisher/database information
  • Version (if applicable)

As with every citation, you will need different information depending on how you found the image. For a step by step guide on how to cite an image for every kind of formatting, you can check out citation guides online. 

MLA Format Image Citation

One of the most common citation formats, you’ve probably used this format for school or research papers. 

The basic citation structure for MLA images is: 

Creator’s Last Name, First Name. Title of the image (in Italics). Medium. Website or Publication Name. Website or Publication’s Publisher, Publication date. 

For online sources, you will also need a URL and access date. Print sources need a page and figure number. 

APA Format Image Citation 

Used the most for scholarly sources and research papers, APA format needs less information than MLA.

The basic citation structure is: 

Creator’s Last Name, Initials. (Year). Image Title [Medium]. Website or Publication. Location. URL

Remember you have to cite images viewed in person too. For these, you will need the location you viewed the image. 

Chicago Format Image Citation

Most historical research uses Chicago style. It’s the only style that needs citation of the image’s dimensions. 

Here’s the basic format:

Creator’s First and Last name, Title of Work, Date, Medium, Dimensions, Location or Publication, date accessed and URL

Missing Information

You saw an image online but it’s missing the title, what now?

If you can’t find the creator of the image, start with the title.

For images without a title, you should come up with a short description of the image. For example, ‘brown dog chasing cat.’ But, do not italcize or use quotes with this description. 

When in doubt, add as much information as you can find. Are there other contributors to the image? Include their names too. 

In-Text Citations

If you include images in your project, you will need in-text citations. Unlike regular citations, you will need figure numbers for each image reproduced in the text. Number each image abbreviated as “Fig. 1” and so on. 

For referencing images in your text, you should include the title in italics with the creator’s name in parenthesis. 

How To Cite an Image

Don’t become a plagiarism statistic and remember to cite your sources! 

Most students know to cite books and research material, but images can slip through the cracks. Use this brief guide on how to cite an image, but you should always double-check your citations according to which format you use. 

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