How to Cite a Digital Image in APA

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Referencing visual media in your research paper, thesis, or dissertation can be an engaging and effective way to support your argument. Photographs, paintings, infographics, and maps are only a few examples of the many types of visual content that can be included. 

In this guide, you will learn how to create accurate APA citations for digital images, infographics, maps, and even artwork from museums. The information from this guide comes from the 7th edition of Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (Chapter 10, Section 10.14). 

Looking to cite a different type of media, like an audio recording or a radio interview? EasyBib.com has citing tools that can help!

Citing vs. ‘Reproducing’

This guide provides information on how to cite images and photographs. However, reproducing the image inside of your essay or research paper might require additional permissions and/or attributions. Section 12.15 of the Publication manual provides more information on reproducing images and graphics. 


Video Overview


What You Need

The guidelines for citing visual works are detailed in section 10.14 of the APA handbook, and include a number of different image and source types. In every case, the following information is required:

  • Name of author, artist, or photographer 
  • Date of publication or creation
  • Title of work
  • A bracketed description of media type (e.g., [Photograph] or [Painting])
  • Publisher, production company, or museum name
  • Location of publisher (if a museum or university)
  • URL if accessed online 

For most images sourced online, the above information is easily accessible and usually provided alongside the image. 

For digital images, using Google’s reverse image search is an effective way to determine the creator and creation date of a particular image.


Citing a Digital Image or Photograph

Creating an APA 7 citation for a digital image is easy. In the following example, we are going to show you how to cite a digital image found online.

Reference Structure:

Author last name, First initial. (Publication or creation date). Title of image [Type of media]. Name of publisher, museum, or university. URL

Reference Entry:

Stone, M. (2020). [Picture of fireflies at night in Congaree National Park] [Photograph]. National Geographic. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2020/06/synchronous-fireflies-rare-look-congaree-national-park/#/fireflies-congaree-1994.jpg

Note: In the above example, the photograph is not presented with a title. For untitled photographs, a description of the photo is included inside of square brackets in the place of the title. 

In-text Citation (Parenthetical):

(Stone, 2020)

In-text Citation (Narrative):

Stone (2020)


Citing an Image from a Museum or a Museum Website

The following citation structure can be used for all types of museum artwork, including paintings, photographs, drawings, and even sculptures. 

Reference Structure:

Author last name, First initial. (Publication or creation date). Title of artwork [Type of media]. Name of museum, Location of museum. URL if applicable. 

Reference Entry:

Monet, C. (c. 1900) Waterloo bridge [Painting]. Denver Art Museum, Colorado, United States.

Note: If you accessed an image through a museum’s website or online collection, then include the URL at the end of the reference entry.

In-text Citation (Parenthetical):

(Monet 1900)

In-text Citation (Narrative):

Monet (2020)


Citing an Infographic

According to APA 7, infographics are treated identically to any other type of image or photograph. Infographics tend to include all the necessary reference information within the image itself, usually in the bottom corner. 

Reference Structure:

Author last name, First initial. (Publication or creation date). Title of infographic [Infographic]. Name of publisher or organization. URL

Reference Entry:

Lutz, E. (2014). An animated chart of 42 North American butterflies [Infographic]. Tabletop Whale. http://tabletopwhale.com/2014/08/27/42-butterflies-of-north-america.html

In-text Citation (Parenthetical):

(Lutz 2020)

In-text Citation (Narrative):

Lutz (2020)


Citing a Map

Reference Structure:

Author last name, First initial. (Publication or creation date). Title of map [Map]. Name of publisher or organization. URL

Reference Entry:

Cambridge University Press. (1912). Historical map of the religious divisions of Germany c. 1610 [Map]. Emerson Kent. http://www.emersonkent.com/map_archive/germany_1610.htm

In-text Citation (Parenthetical):

(Cambridge 2020)

In-text Citation (Narrative):

Cambridge (2020)


Citing a Map from Google Maps

Dynamically created maps like those generated by Google Maps do not have titles, so  the map must be cited with a clear description in brackets, as well as a retrieval date (Publication manual, p.347).

Reference Structure:

Program or service. (n.d.). [Description of map]. Retrieval month, day, year, from URL 

Reference Entry:

Google. (n.d.). [Google Maps directions for driving from Auckland to Wellington, New Zealand]. Retrieved June 13, 2020 from https://bit.ly/37wTTvx

Note: Some Google Maps links can get unnecessarily long. Link shortener services like Bitly and Ow.ly allow users to create shortened links that will make your references list cleaner and easier to look at. 

In-text Citation (Parenthetical):

(Google, n.d.)

In-text Citation (Narrative):

Google (n.d.)


References

American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.). https://doi.org/10.1037/0000165-000

Cambridge University Press. (1912). Historical map of the religious divisions of Germany c. 1610 [Map]. Emerson Kent. http://www.emersonkent.com/map_archive/germany_1610.htm

Google. (n.d.). [Google Maps directions for driving from Auckland to Wellington, New Zealand]. Retrieved June 13, 2020 from https://bit.ly/37wTTvx

Lutz, E. (2014). An animated chart of 42 North American butterflies [Infographic]. Tabletop Whale. http://tabletopwhale.com/2014/08/27/42-butterflies-of-north-america.html

Monet, C. (c. 1900) Waterloo bridge [Painting]. Denver Art Museum, Colorado, United States.

Stone, M. (2020). [Picture of fireflies at night in Congaree National Park] [Photograph]. National Geographic. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2020/06/synchronous-fireflies-rare-look-congaree-national-park/#/fireflies-congaree-1994.jpg


Published 20, 2012. Updated June 23, 2020.

Written and edited by Michele Kirschenbaum and Elise Barbeau. Michele Kirschenbaum is a school library media specialist and the in-house librarian at EasyBib. You can find her here on Twitter. Elise Barbeau is the Citation Specialist at Chegg. She has worked in digital marketing, libraries, and publishing. 

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