How to reference an image in Harvard style

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Referencing images can be confusing. Do you reference the photographer or the subject of the image itself? Do you include where you saw or found the image? What if you took the photograph yourself? This guide will help clear up the confusion! 

Below, the guide will cover how to cite images in different scenarios, both as an in-text citation and a reference. For each scenario, you will be given a citation structure, along with examples to illustrate each case.

Online images/photographs 

Today, finding and citing a digital or online image is simple. You’ll need the following information:

  • Photographer’s name
  • (Year published) 
  • Title of the photograph, italizised
  • Available at: URL (Accessed: the date you sourced the image) 

In-text citation structure and example:

(Photographer’s name, Year published)

OR

Photographer’s name (Year published)

B.B. King’s beautiful Gibson semi-hollow body ES-355 guitar (Joseph, 2001) ……

Reference list structure and example:

Photographer’s Last Name, Initial. (Year published) Title of the photograph. Available at: URL (Accessed: the date you sourced the image) 

Joseph, J. (2001) Lucille. Available at: http://www.jackjoseph.co.uk/photo_23456.html (Accessed: 22 August 2016)

Online images/photographs from a curated collection 

As we know, the Internet has a vast repository of curated image collections, especially on sites like Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram, to name just a few. The rules stay pretty much unchanged in this case, as well. 

You will just need to direct the viewer/reader to the source where you viewed or uploaded the image. You may cite relevant information about images sourced from such Internet collections as follows:

  • Photographer’s name
  • (Year published)
  • Title of the photograph/collection, italicized
  • Available at: URL (Accessed: the date you sourced the image) 

In-text citation structure and example:

(Photographer’s name, Year published)

OR

Photographer’s name (Year published)

Photographs by Gustavo Grandissimo (2015) …

Reference list structure and example:

Photographer’s Last Name, Initial. (Year published) Title of the photograph. Available at: URL (Accessed: the date you sourced the image) 

Grandissimo, G. (2015) The heights of abstraction. Available at: https://instagram.com/theheightsofabstraction (Accessed: 10 August 2012)

Images without a listed photographer or artist 

You may cite information about images without a listed creator. You’ll need the following information:

  • Title of the photograph, italicized
  • (Year published)
  • Available at: URL (Accessed: the date you sourced the image) 

In-text citation structure and example:

(Photographer’s name, Year published)

OR

Photographer’s name (Year published)

As you can see in the image of the controversial protest rally (Up in arms, 2019) …

Reference list structure and example:

Title of the photograph (Year published) Available at: URL (Accessed: the date you sourced the image) 

Up in arms (2019) Available at: http://www.therevolutionbeat.com/protests/2019/image_34567.html (Accessed: 10 March 2019)

Prints or slides

A print refers to a printed reproduction of a popular work of art or image. A slide, on the other hand, is a transparent photograph that consists of chromogenic dyes mounted inside a plastic frame to be projected onto a large screen. 

Information needed:

  • Photographer’s name
  • (Year published)
  • Title of the photograph, italicized
  • [Photograph]
  • Place of publication: Publisher’s name, if available

In-text citation structure and example:

(Photographer’s name, Year published)

OR

Photographer’s name (Year published)

The expanding mushroom cloud from the resulting blast was captured on that fateful day (Tanaka, 1945)

Reference list structure and example:

Photographer’s Last Name, Initial. (Year published) Title of the photograph. Available at: URL (Accessed: the date you sourced the image) 

Tanaka, N. (1945) The day Fat Boy fell to Earth [Photograph]. Hokkaido: Kurosawa Publishers 

Images photographed by you

It is not necessary to provide a reference to a photograph or image if you are the creator. However, check with your tutor about the most appropriate way to present original images or photographs in your work.

If you need to reference an original image, you can use the following citation structure:

  • Your name (Year published or taken)
  • Title of the photograph, italicized
  • [Photograph]

In-text citation structure and example:

(Photographer’s name, Year published)

OR

Photographer’s name (Year published)

…lays emphasis on the fact that the sun doesn’t need to be the focus of a picture (Koenig, 2019)

Reference list structure and example:

Your Last Name, Initial. (Year published) Title of the photograph [Photograph] 

Koenig, K. (2019) The sunset [Photograph] 


Published October 29, 2020.


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