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WRIT - Photographs: Citing Images

Citing Images

Whether you found an image for a paper or project through Google Images, a library database, or in a book, be sure to cite it properly. By citing your sources you avoid plagiarism and you give credit to the creator of the image, video, or text you are using. Be sure to include at a minimum:

  • The title
  • The creator, artist, or photographer
  • The source (book, journal, database, poster, or website)

The guidelines in this tab are largely based upon MLA and Chicago.  Recently, MLA has added information about citing images to their website, that will be useful:

Citing museum images viewed firsthand or online.

Citing images found using a search engine such as Google Images.

If an image is found using Google Images, cite the website where the image is located, not Google Images.  For example, see Figure 1 to the right.  The Adams photograph was found using Google Images, but the image is on the Library of Congress website, so Library of Congress is in italics followed by the URL (without the http://).

Where to place citations for images

All visuals are labeled sequentially in the research paper as Figure or Fig., starting with Figure 1 or Fig. 1.

Cite the source for the image directly below the figure.

Refer to the figure in the text with the number that corresponds to the image, but do not capitalize: figure 1 or fig. 1.

Example of reference to a figure in the text:

Ansel Adams photographed the Japanese packing up their belongings to be transported to Manzanar Relocation Center...(figure 1).

Examples of citations for images

Creator, if known (Last name, First Name). Title. Date created, medium. Institution, location. Source where image found.

Source for figure 1:

Figure 1. Adams, Ansel. Loading Bus, Leaving Manzanar for Relocation, Manzanar Relocation Center, California. 1943, photograph. Library of Congress,

Source figure 2:

Figure 2.  Frazier, David R. Migrant Laborers Work in a Corn Field, Canyon County, Idaho. n.d., photograph. Britannica ImageQuest.