Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
askus Ask us


A guide to resources for finding images in UVic Libraries

Subject Guide

Profile Photo
Christine Walde
Christine Walde,MLIS
Room 404, University Librarian's Office
Mearns Centre for Learning-McPherson Library
University of Victoria
PO Box 1800 STN CSC
Victoria, BC V8W 3H5
Subjects: Art, Journalism, Theatre

Additional citation guides

For further guidance with citations, see UVic Libraries' Citation Help page and the Citation Management Software Libguide.

For authoritative prescriptions on how to use each style, see the official guide to APA style, the MLA handbook (available online through UVic), or the Chicago Manual of Style (also available online through UVic).

Citing images in APA format

In-text citations of images in APA format follow the same (Author, date) convention as books and journal articles. Use the artist's name as opposed to the author's, and omit the page number if using a web source.

The basic format for citing an image in your reference list in APA format looks like this:

Creator last name, first initial. (date). Title of work [medium]. Source information. URL.

If the work is untitled, provide a short, descriptive title for it in square brackets. You should make an effort to discover the title of an image if possible. Using tools like Google Reverse Image Search to search using a digital image file can be a simple way to gather more information about a photo.

Images from online databases and websites

If you found the image in a database or website, the reference list citation would look as follows:

Creator last name, first initial. (date). Title of work [medium]. Database or website name. URL.

An example would look something like this:

Clausen, R. (2005). Victoria BC British Columbia Parliament building dome 2005 [Digital photograph]. Wikimedia Commons.

The in-text citation for the image cited above would simply read: (Clausen, 2005).

If the full name of a creator is unknown, it is acceptable to cite the user's screen name - in other words, if the real name is identified, then use that, but if not, then cite 'coollibrarian42' as the creator.

Images from a museum or a museum website

If you are citing an item in a museum collection, include the location of the museum and the URL for the item in the museum’s online catalogue, if available.

Creator last name, first initial. (date). Title of work [medium]. Art gallery, location. URL.

Ashoona, S. (2017). Untitled from the polar world [Drawing]. The Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

The in-text citation for the image cited above would simply read: (Ashoona, 2017).

Images from a book

If you are citing an image as reproduced in the book, the reference list citation should include the creator of the photo (if possible) and the title of the image, in addition to the citation information for the book.

Creator last name, first initial. (date). Title of work [medium]. In Author (date if different from image date), Title (p. number or pp. range). Publisher.

Bastien, A. (1917). Canadian gunners in the mud, Passchendaele [Painting]. In P. Fussell (2009), The Great War and modern memory: The illustrated edition (p. 173). Sterling Publishing.

The in-text citation for the image cited above would simply read: (Bastien, 1917).

Images with an unknown creator

You should make an effort to discover the photographer of an image if possible. Using tools like Google Reverse Image Search will allow you to search using a digital image file. This can be a simple way to gather more information about a photo's creator.

If the individual creator is unknown, you may cite the group or organization responsible for the image as the creator. This may be appropriate for images printed in a newspaper with no individual photographer credited, or photos taken by government agencies - and may lead you to crediting "The Globe and Mail" or "National Aeronautics and Space Administration" as the author. For instance:

National Aeronautics and Space Administration. (2019). Curiosity at 'Glen Etive' [Photograph].

Note that in the example above, the website name and the creator's name are the same - so we omit the website name which would normally be listed before the URL.

If there is no individual or group creator for the image, you may cite using the title and no author. Note that '(n.d.)' is included as the date is also unknown.

Queenstown publicity [Photograph]. (n.d.). Archives New Zealand.

An in-text citation for the example cited above would read (Queenstown publicity, n.d.).

Images without a title

If you cannot find the title of an image, you may cite the image using either the file name - if a descriptive file name has been provided by the creator - or provide a short descriptive title in square brackets yourself.

The example provided below is a citation for an untitled image found online by a creator known only by a screen name.

Phil. (2020). [Photograph of the Assabet Woolen Mill building in Maynard, Massachusetts]. Flickr.

Including images in your paper

If you include an image in your paper, APA conventions require you to label it with a figure number. A detailed guide from APA Style lays out the expectations for including figures - including maps, graphs, and images - in your paper.

Discussion of the image in the body of the paper should make reference to the image by figure number as shown below:

Good examples for formatting an image to include in your paper can be found in UVic's LibGuides (see Figure 1).

If the paper is intended for broader circulation - if it will be published or posted online - you should also include the citation and license information below it, in the following order:

Title, author, date, source (URL). License.

An example might look something like this:

Figure 1
A houseboat located in Victoria, B.C.

Photograph of a houseboat in Victoria, B.C.

Note. From Fisherman's Wharf Park, Victoria, British Columbia 08 [Photograph], by Michal Klajban, 2018, Wikimedia Commons (,_Victoria,_British_Columbia_08.jpg). CC BY-SA 4.0.

Images included in your paper should also have reference list entries as laid out earlier in this guide. The title of this image is derived from the image file's title.

Klajban, M. (2018). Fisherman's Wharf Park, Victoria, British Columbia 08 [Photograph]. Wikimedia Commons.,_Victoria,_British_Columbia_08.jpg.

For more details, check this link for an APA guide to adding captions to images which you include in your paper.

Creative Commons License
This work by The University of Victoria Libraries is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License unless otherwise indicated when material has been used from other sources.