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APA: Citing Electronic Images

Examples of how to cite digital, electronic and online images using APA 6th edition style.

How to Cite Google Images in APA


How do you cite an image from Google Images?  Simple. You do not.


Google Images is a search for images.  The search does not own images.  Care must be taken to find the original owner of the image. In Google Images, there is a link to the right of the image that says "Visit Page."  Sometimes this link goes to a page that does not identify origination, creator, name or owner of image.  If there isn't enough information to cite an image, locate a more credible image.

More simply, trying to cite an image found on Google Images is the same as citing a Google  for a website located using the Google search. Google finds items but does not own, have authority, create or hold the resource.  It simply finds them unless the URL contains or the copyright is affiliated clearly with Google.

Have an image that needs identification? The reverse image search on sometimes helps find an original owner of an image.  There are often many to sort through. Use criteria used to locate credible internet information to narrow down leads to original source.

The best strategy is to find and use credible images with licenses that allow their use. Remember, though a site or license does not require attribution or citation, a Professor likely will. Image sites to use instead of Google Images:

  1. Search FLICKR using Creative Commons license to suit your project. 
  2. Search Unsplash. All photos published on Unsplash are licensed under Creative Commons Zero which means you can copy, modify, distribute and use the photos for free, including commercial purposes, without asking permission from or providing attribution to the photographer or Unsplash. 
  3. Search Pixabay.  All images and videos on Pixabay are released free of copyrights under Creative Commons CC0. You may download, modify, distribute, and use them royalty free for anything you like, even in commercial applications. Attribution is not required by Pixabay, but will be required by your Professor.
  4. Search Creative Commons. Select "modify, adapt, or build upon."
  5. Search Wikimedia Commons.
  6. Search United States Government sites.  Many items are public domain and free to use.


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