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How to Cite an  Oline Image in APA?

Citing sources is part and parcel of any academic writing process. Thus, students who submit essays and research papers to their professors need to master the basic citation styles, like APA and MLA, early during their studies. It’s vital to apply proper referencing skills to avoid plagiarism accusations and conduct ethical academic research. But even those who have already mastered the author-date citation format of the APA style may find it difficult to grasp the principles of citing images. Visual data differs from published textual materials, like books or journal articles. To help you out, we have created this manual that covers all the fundamentals of citing an image in APA style.

What Is an APA Image Citation?

APA, the referencing style of the American Psychology Association, is one of the standard referencing approaches in hundreds of Western universities, colleges, and schools. It follows the author-date citation format that simplifies referencing and requires only the indication of the author’s last name and the date of the cited source’s publication in the parenthetical reference. If the student cites a piece of data word by word, the direct quote should be placed in quotation marks, and a page number should be added to the citation.

However, images don’t contain pages or paragraphs, and citing them may seem problematic at first. You may avoid image use in your academic works altogether. Still, this approach is counter-productive, as you might need diagrams, photos, or video material citations in many types of academic assignments. So, here we cover the essentials of citing images in the APA style and offer a couple of handy templates to guide you in the process of citation creation.

Types of Image Citation

Images are available in various forms today. As an Art student, you may receive a task to analyze an oil painting from any of the Old Masters or cite digital images in your papers. Additionally, you may refer to personal images of some people (the so-called user-generated content, or UGC) in social media and digital communication studies. Each of these image types comes with specific formatting guidelines that you should know.

Citing a Picture in APA Format

In a nutshell, you will need the same data for a picture’s citation in the APA format you would need for citing a book or periodical. The APA citation’s elements are:

  • Name of the picture or image
  • Its author
  • The format in which it is available (print or digital)
  • Location of that picture
  • Year of the picture’s creation by the artist

For instance, if you know that the Mona Lisa picture is currently stored in the Museum of Louvre, it was painted by Leonardo da Vinci in 1506, and it is an oil painting, you can cite the work as follows:

Da Vinci, L. (1506). Mona Lisa [Painting]. Musée du Louvre, Paris, France.

Citing a Digital Image APA

Digital images usually don’t have physical, offline analogs, so their citation should refer to their digital address and cover all their digital credentials, such as:

  • The author’s name (a creator, photographer, or publishing organization)
  • Date of the work’s creation and publication online
  • Title
  • Place of publication (an online website)
  • Publisher’s name
  • Type of material this image represents (whether it’s a chart, diagram, image, or photo)
  • URL where the image can be accessed

An example of such a citation would be:

Jefferson, K. (2021). Fire in the Canadian forest [Photograph] National Geographic.

Citing a Photo in APA

The same credentials discussed above are relevant to citing a photo in the APA style. Depending on whether the photo was published in a print source or online, you will need to follow one of the two templates provided in the previous two sections.

APA Video Citation

Citing videos in the APA format is different from citing photos since videos contain various materials, and students usually cite a specific video fragment in their work. It’s okay to refer to the whole film as well if you only talk about some general message of its director or want to talk about some visual techniques they used. However, when referring to particular fragments, you should indicate the range of the video you’re citing. Here are some illustrations and examples for video citations.

APA Citation YouTube Video

To complete a citation of a video in the reference list, you should find the following details about your cited material:

  • Name of the video’s author or publishing organization (sometimes it will only be the name of the YouTube channel)
  • Title of the video
  • Description of the content type in square brackets
  • The resource’s name (YouTube)
  • The URL of the concrete cited video

Following this template, let’s cite the YouTube video of APA’s training video:

APA Publishing Training. (2019). Inserting references and in-text citations [Video] YouTube.

APA In-Text Citation Video

Now let’s briefly cover how a video citation looks in the text of your APA essay or research paper. First, it’s vital to note that your citation format will depend on whether you refer to the whole film/video or only a specific fragment in it. This way, if you cite the whole video and want to communicate some general idea about it, the citation will be like (Johnson, 2019) or (APA Publishing Training, 2022).

However, if you want to refer to a specific fragment, you will need to indicate the time range where the reader can find the content you’re citing. An example of that citation would look as follows: (APA Publishing Training, 2022, 1:58).

Naturally, if the video’s production or publication date is unknown, you will need to indicate (n.d.) in the parentheses, like: (Maryjane, n.d., 0:25-0:32).

Tips for Using Our APA Online Image Citation Generator

Citing images may be tricky for people who have never done this before or are unfamiliar with the intricacies of APA referencing. Thus, our automated image citation generator can greatly help you, ensuring that your citations look professional and fully compliant with the APA conventions. The only details you need to provide for generating a citation are as follows:

  1. Indicate the image type (an in-print photo, a website image, or an image from an online database). These details are not needed if you want to cite a personal photograph.
  2. For open-source materials, you should indicate the photo title, the collection in which it was published, the museum/institution/owner of that image, and the date and location of that photo’s production.
  3. You should state the contributor if they are known (their first and last name).
  4. Additional details for images published in books or periodicals should cover the source title, the volume, edition, and series, and the print source’s publisher. It’s also helpful to indicate the concrete page on which the photo was published.

Due to our generator’s advanced machine-learning algorithms, you may also go a simpler way and only indicate the URL where you found that image. If there’s no intervening data and no other images on that webpage, the machine-enabled citation generator will create a correct, concise APA citation for that image without a problem.

Even if the process of filling out the information seems tedious at first, you’ll quickly grasp the essence and will be able to generate top-quality APA citations for the images you’re using. Don’t forget that photos and images are also other people’s intellectual property, so their correct and full citations are a vital part of ethical, professional referencing.

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