Skip to Main Content
Skip to Library Help widget

Finding and Using Images

Citing Images MLA/APA

Attributing the creator is necessary anytime you use an image.  Whether you had to obtain permission or it was freely available to use, it is necessary to give credit to the creator or copyright holder.  Make sure to read the usage rights statements on websites to understand if there is specific wording that needs to be used. 

There are potentially three places you will need to cite.

  • In-Text Citation
  • Image Caption
  • Works Cited or References  

Consult the style guide examples in this guide for examples. 

Citing Images MLA

  • All visual illustrations/images (except for maps, diagrams, charts, tables, etc.) should be labeled Fig or Figure, then an Arabic numeral that corresponds to the figure.  (ex. Fig. 1, Fig. 2, etc.)
  • When referring the figure (in-text) do not capitalize fig or figure.
  • Figure captions provide titles or explanatory notes.
  • If the caption includes the complete bibliographic information about the source (and the source is not cited in text) no entry for the source in the works cited is necessary.
  • MLA no longer requires the URL in the citation. If an instructor requires the use of URL’s, MLA suggests placing angle brackets (<>) around the URL.
  • You will need to include as much information as possible

Web Only Image

  • Name of creator/creator/username of the image.
  • Title of image (in quotation marks) If no title exists create a brief descriptive title. 
  • Medium of work. (ex. illustration, map, cartoon, photograph, etc)
  • Date of resource creation (if available)
  • Title of webpage or article.
  • Name of site (in italics)
  • Larger Institution or organization (if applicable) 

In text

The aurora borealis (see fig.1) is a natural multicolor light display produced by solar wind particles seem in high latitude regions. 

Image Caption

Fig. 1. “Aurora Over Calgary and Spokane.” NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.    

Works Cited Example 

Last-name, First-name or Username. “Title of Image.”  Medium of work. Date of resource creation. Name of site. URL

Works Cited

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. “Aurora Over Calgary and Spokane.” Photograph. 19 Feb. 2012. Flickr.

Citing Images APA

  • All visual illustrations/images should be labeled Figure, and then numbered consecutively in italics.  (ex. Figure 1).
  • When referring the figure (in-text), make sure to capitalize Figure.  Do not refer to the image as “the figure below” or “the figure above.”
  • Image should be centered in the paper.
  • Image captions include title of image and a brief explanation.  Also provide source and copyright information.
  •  Do not put a period after the URL

You will need to provide as much information as possible.

  • Name of creator/creator/username of the image.
  • Role of the creator in parenthesis such as artist, sculptor, etc.
  • Year of creation in parenthesis. If there is no date available put (n.d.)
  • Title of image (in italics). If there is no title, create a description of the work.
  • Type of work (ex. illustration, map, cartoon, photograph, etc)
  • Retrieved from URL or database name

In text 

The aurora borealis (see Figure 1) is a natural multicolor light display produced by solar wind particles seem in high latitude regions

Image Caption

Figure 1. Aurora Over Calgary and Spokane. This figure illustrates the aurora borealis aboard the International Space Station.  Image credit: NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center via Flickr.

Example References  

Last-name, first-name initial. (Year of creation). Title of image or description of work. [Type of work]. Website. URL


NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. (2012) Aurora Over Calgary and Spokane. [Digital Image].  Flickr.

Report ADA Problems with Library Services and Resources