Learn and Generate Bibliographies, Citations, and Works Cited

APA Image Citations for Photos and Digital Pictures

Adding images, such as photos and digital pictures, to your sources helps your reader better visualize your research. Several sites provide access to historical photos, for example. A quick web search using the keyphrase “free historical images archive” can yield quite a few sites. Narrow your search to find a more specific image. Then, you’ll need to learn how to format an APA image citation for your research paper properly.

Citation generator

Finding Photos for Research

Check the Library of Congress website for historical photos. You may use these free images, but read the copyright statements to make sure you’re citing them correctly. Other resources available include:

  • Newspapers
  • Manuscripts
  • Maps
  • Musical scores

Another good site to find images is the National Archives. This website provides links to historical collections, such as the War Relocation archives, covering the Japanese internment camps.

Why You Need to Cite Images

As with any research source, give credit where credit is due! Even if a site provides free use of their photos and images, you still need to cite the artist or website. The Fair Use Act covers certain uses of copyrighted images for student use.

APA 7 Format for Image Citations

Photo and image citations follow the APA basic format. Use the artist or photographer’s name, if known, as the first element. Include the URL as the last element.

Students working on APA image citations for photos and digital pictures

Basic Format

Artist Last Name, First Initial. Second Initial. (Year). Title of the artwork [Format]. Source. URL


Hubbard, T. (1973). Family watching street performers [Photo]. National Archives. https://www.archives.gov/files/publications/prologue/2013/spring/seventies.pdf

Image Without Author

If you don’t know the name of the creator of the work, use the title as the first element.

Basic Format

Title of work [Type of work]. (Year image was created). Source. URL


Cast iron block used for target practice [Photo]. (1857). Fraenkelgallery. https://fraenkelgallery.com/exhibitions/photographer-unknown-anonymous-photographs-from-the-1840s-to-the-present

No Author, Title or Date

If you can’t find any information on the author, title or date, simply place the subject and type of work within brackets and include the URL.

Basic Format

[Subject and type of work]. Source. URL


[Mental institution photo]. Google. https://images.app.goo.gl/HYrS95zZdWiiJevp6

Note: If you found the photo in a physical location, such as a gallery or museum, add that location before the URL.


Using Credible Sources

Although it’s possible to find and use images and photos in your research, it’s best to find sources from known experts in their field. Simply pulling random images from Google images is not a suitable research method. As with other research sources, use primary images created by authorities in the area of study. As always, be sure to follow your teacher’s guidelines when writing your APA format paper.

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