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What is APA Image Citation?

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.

In-text citation: 

Pratt, 1965.

References page: 

Pratt, C. (1965). Young girl with seashells [Oil on wood]. Curator.

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.

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. 

For example:

Williams, J. (2016) Human Genome. GeneLabs Inc. 

The in-text image citing represents the following: 

Figure 1 

DNA Genome Calculation (DNA Models), 2001.

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

The Types of Image Citation

As a rule, you might encounter different types of APA citation for images where the sources must be mentioned.

Online image

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.

For your in-text citation, use:

(Jones, 2005).

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. 

In-text citation: 

(Connell 2005)

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.


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.

The in-text citing is: 

(Harvard 1922)

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.

For the in-text citing:

(The Messenger, 1991)

Single author

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.

In-text citation: 

(Norum, 1985)

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.

The in-text citation: 

(Lake & Palmer, 2019)

No author, title, or date

[Subject and type of work]. Title of the Website. URL.
[Photograph] Pixabay.

Cite Images Free & Fast With Our APA Picture Citation Generator

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!

FAQs To APA Photo Citation Generator

How do I specify that I cite an online picture in APA if the author is unknown? 

Covid-19 Panic [Online image]. (2020). Unsplash.

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.

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.