How to Cite a Picture Taken From the Internet in APA

••• Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images

Images can provide the researcher with information not possible via textual sources. With millions of photos, illustrations and other visual works readily available online, pictures are more valuable than ever as a research tool. Using APA style, you can complete the important step of documenting your research.


The references list includes every source cited in the paper alphabetically. Use a hanging indent, with all lines after the first indented by 1/2 inch. The entry begins with the creator’s last name and then first initial(s). Follow this with the date of the work in parentheses, the title, type of material in brackets, Web address and date you accessed it. If one element is missing, such as the title, just omit it, but if the website provides very little information, create a modified listing that begins with a brief description of the image in brackets followed by the Web address and access date.


An entry in a references list for an artwork with complete information might look like this:

Satrapi, M. (2007). Persepolis [Online image]. Retrieved April 28, 2013, from

An entry for an undated online photo might look like this:

Girl Scout Founder [Online image]. Retrieved April 28, 2013, from

In-Text Citation

When referencing an online photo in the text of your paper, give the creator’s last name and the date of the work in parentheses; if the work has no creator, give the title or descriptive phrase, in quotation marks, plus the date. The general rule is to cite in parentheses the element that will come first in the references list. If the source is undated, use the abbreviation n.d., meaning “no date.” For the examples above, parenthetical citations would look like this:

(Satrapi, 2007) or (“Girl Scout Founder,” n.d.).


About the Author

Jennifer Spirko has been writing professionally for more than 20 years, starting at "The Knoxville Journal." She has written for "MetroPulse," "Maryville-Alcoa Daily Times" and "Some" monthly. She has taught writing at North Carolina State University and the University of Tennessee. Spirko holds a Master of Arts from the Shakespeare Institute, Stratford-on-Avon, England.

Photo Credits

  • Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images