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How do I Cite Pictures in Chicago Style?


The Chicago Manual of Style is a guide for formatting research papers with citations. While less common than APA or MLA styles, CMS is used when writing about the humanities, particularly literature, history and the arts, as well as in social, physical and natural sciences. The 16th edition, published in 2010, outlines rules for creating footnotes and bibliographic citations. Photographs are cited much like any other source, so the citation includes the picture's creator, title, year of publication and where the photograph was obtained.

Photographs from Print Sources

When referencing a photograph from a print source, such as a book or magazine, you must include the following information in both the footnote and bibliographic citation: Author, photograph title, year the photo was taken, book or magazine title and page number. A sample footnote citation follows the format: Steve McCurry, “Afghan Girl,” 1984, in National Geographic (Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society, 1985), cover page. The book or magazine title in this citation should be italicized. Subsequent footnotes of the same citation should simply read: McCurry, “Afghan Girl”. The bibliographic citation contains the same information, but in a slightly different format: McCurry, Steve. “Afghan Girl.” 1984. In National Geographic. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society, 1985, cover page.

Citing Electronic Sources

If you obtain a photograph from the Internet, include the URL in place of the publication location and page number, as follows: Stuart Franklin Magnum, Tiananmen Square (italicized), 1989, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/photography/8883935/Magnum-Contact-Sheets.html?image=5. The bibliographic citation follows the same format, but with periods in place of the commas, and the author’s last name precedes a comma and his first name. The shortened footnote contains the author’s last name, followed by a comma and the photograph title, italicized.

About the Author

Cara Batema is a musician, teacher and writer who specializes in early childhood, special needs and psychology. Since 2010, Batema has been an active writer in the fields of education, parenting, science and health. She holds a bachelor's degree in music therapy and creative writing.

Photo Credits
  • Andersen Ross/Blend Images/Getty Images