If you are a modern university student majoring in one of the popular social disciplines like Journalism or Business Management, you might already know APA citation basics. Still, when there is a research project or an essay where works of art or figures serve an important reference role, picture citation can easily become confusing. Citing an image APA style becomes simple when you learn by the templates. Follow the examples given in our guide to discover how images, diagrams, or works of art should be mentioned in academic writing.
Information Required for Correct Image Citing in APA
When citing images APA academic style, the general template should include the creator’s name with a year, title of your photo, format that explains what kind of picture it is, location, or URL (for digital formats). See the template:
Author’s name. (Year). Image title [Format]. Museum, Location.
For digital formats, end with a website’s name with the URL.
Pratt, C. (1965). Young girl with seashells [Oil on wood]. Curator. https://curiator.com/art/christopher-pratt/young-girl-with-seashells
Another critical aspect of image citation APA is listing every picture, regardless of source, as a figure. If it is your own work, it does not require additional citation, yet it has to be included in a figures list for the final referencing.
It means that when there is a figure in your essay that has been copied from a book or an online source, the original reference should be kept. The figures for images should be numbered consecutively with a credit given to the author.
Follow this template for print sources:
Figure X. Descriptive phrase that identifies the image. Reprinted [or adapted]
from Book Title (page number), by Author First Initial. Second Initial. Surname,
Year, Publisher. Copyright [Year] by the Name of Copyright Holder.
Reprinted [or adapted] with permission.
If the source is digital, use this:
Figure X. Descriptive phrase. Reprinted [or adapted] from Title of Website, by Author First Initial. Second Initial. Surname, Year, URL. Copyright [year] by the Name of Copyright Holder. Reprinted [or adapted] with permission.
Difference Between APA 6th and 7th for Image Citation
APA citation for pictures in APA’s 7th edition has a major change, which relates to how one specifies the URL at the end of a citation. In the previous edition, it was obligatory to write “Retrieved from” and then place the URL. In the current, seventh edition, just use the website’s title with the URL. See this example:
Carrey, F. (2013). Oak Inn Wreck [Photograph]. SmugMug. https://smugmug.com/url
Now APA citing images in 6th edition had this formatting style for References page:
Stipe, M. (2020). No time for love like now. New York, NY: Concise Stars Inc.
The latest APA 7 has changed to:
Stipe, M. (2020). No time for love like now. Concise Stars Inc.
Since some colleges use either one of APA style formats, it is important to know how to work with both.
APA Image Citation Formats
Photos, diagrams, 3D graphics, works of art, or any other multimedia types that require citing images in APA are done the same way as any other citation. However, there should be a caption with copyright information or a statement that you have permission to use or cite it. Depending on what information you have available, it is obligatory to follow the following for the print sources:
Author, A.A. (Date). Title of your book. Publisher.
Williams, J. (2016) Human Genome. GeneLabs Inc.
The in-text image citing represents the following:
DNA Genome Calculation (DNA Models), 2001. [image]
From The Human Genome by John Williams, p.34. Copyright 2016 by GenLabs Inc.
The References page:
Williams, J. (2016). [DNA genome calculation] [3D Model]. Human Genome. GenLabs Inc.
The Types of Image Citation
As a rule, you might encounter different types of APA citation for images where the sources must be mentioned.
When you have to APA cite image online, follow this template:
Artist Surname, First Initial. Second Initial. (Year). Title of the artwork [Format]. Title of the Website. URL (address of website)
In practice, it becomes this:
Jones, K. (2005). Graffiti on the train [Photograph]. Stereophonics. https://stereophonics.co.uk/url
For your in-text citation, use:
Images viewed in person (Museums, exhibitions, fairs)
For sculptures, paintings, or any other works of art seen in person, use the following template:
Author’s last name, First initial. (Publication or creation date). Title of artwork [Media format]. Name of a museum, Location of the museum. URL if applicable.
Now it becomes:
Verhaart, C. (c.1875) Flanders in Spring [Painting]. Seattle Art Museum, Washington, United States.
In-text citation would be:
(Verhaart 1875) or Verhaaet (1875) shows that…
Images as figures
Figures are obligatory for APA citing images in an essay, dissertation, or in presentations. It means there should be a numbering of each image with a corresponding figure number like what we all have seen in the books or online. For example:
[Your third image that you have in an essay] The text underneath for that is:
Figure 3. Detail from the mosaic of The Children of Kosovo, wall mosaic by Anette Olzon, 1998, plexiglass on wood.
While the formatting rules for figures are not that complex, the most important is to include the correct number and copyright information or permission notes.
The references page should include all the corresponding information as well:
Olzon, A. (1998). The Children of Kosovo [Wall Mosaic]. Wall Mosaic. Stockholm Modern Art Museum.
The APA 7 style format manual deals with infographics just like with any other image citation APA style. It must include all the necessary source information within the picture. In most cases, it is located in the bottom right corner unless specified otherwise.
The References page follows this template:
Author’s last name, First initial. (Publication or creation date). Title of infographic [Infographic]. Name of publisher or organization. URL
Connell, C. (2005). An interactive chart of Boy Scouts and Guides of America [Infographic]. BSA. http://www.bsa.org/url
If you have a map to mention, it goes just the same as placing a photo citation. According to the American Psychological Association’s latest manual, it goes like this:
Author’s last name, First initial. (Publication or creation date). Title of the map [Map]. Name of publisher or organization. URL
Harvard University Press. (1922). Historical map of the ground mineralsc. 1894 [Map]. National Archives. https://www.archives.gov/url
The in-text citing is:
Citing Authors for Images in APA Format Rules
Even though it is obligatory to provide as much information about your picture as you can, it is not always possible because some pics come from the National Archives and do not have an author, or there is more than one author listed.
Image with no author
In this case, follow the template:
Title of work [Type of work]. (Year it was created). Title of the Website. URL.
The Messenger [Photograph]. (1991). Flickr. http://www.flickr.com/user/url
For the in-text citing:
(The Messenger, 1991)
Use the default graphics citation template, which is:
Artist Surname, First Initial. Second Initial. (Year). Title of the artwork [Format]. Title of the Website. URL.
Norum, J.B. (1985). The Enchanted Forest [Oil on canvas] John Norum’s Art. http://www.url.com
More than one author
Two authors must be listed by their last names with initials. Separate them with a comma. It is also recommended to use the ampersand sign instead of the usual “and”.
What we receive is:
Lake, C.R., & Palmer, V.N. (2019) The little gnomes [Photograph] Washington State Museum Archives. http://www.url.com
The in-text citation:
(Lake & Palmer, 2019)
No author, title, or date
[Subject and type of work]. Title of the Website. URL.
[Photograph] Pixabay. www.pixabay.com/url
Cite Images in APA Free & Fast
Still confused? You can safely use our APA image citation generator to save some precious time. Just remember to fill in as much information as you can, so the source becomes reliable. Most importantly, it is free, without registration or any limitations!
How do I specify that I cite an online picture in APA if the author is unknown?
How to cite infographics from a scientific journal?
Nuclear Eye Surgery. (2020). Sample research among prepubescent children [Infographic]. In Publication manual of the Ophthalmology ScienceDirect (3rd ed., p. 34). https://doi.org/000000
Is it a mistake to cite my image in APA 6 instead of the latest 7th edition?
No, it is not! Most universities across the United States accept both editions, as long as everything is done right without spelling or formatting mistakes. If in doubt, consult with the assigned course professor.