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Classic Citation Guide: Citing Images in MLA 8th/9th

This guide provides tips on citing various citation styles most frequently used at Manhattanville.

How to cite an image in MLA (Scribbr) Revised on July 2, 2021.

Including images as figures

If you include an image directly in your paper, it should be labeled “Fig.” (short for “Figure”), given a number, and presented in the MLA figure format.

Directly below the image, place a centered caption starting with the figure label and number (e.g. “Fig. 2”), then a period. For the rest of the caption, you have two options:

  1. Give full information about the source in the same format as you would in the Works Cited list, except that the author name is not inverted.
  2. Or give just basic information about the source, like the author, title, and year.

How do I cite an image found through an online search engine like Google Images?

Tips for Citing Images

Reverse Image Search

Citing Images in MLA 8th/9th Edition

Citing Images from a Website (from EasyBib)

How to cite a digital image found on a website in MLA 8 from EasyBib:

To create a citation for a digital image found on a website in MLA 8, locate the following pieces of information:

The name of the creator of the digital image
*The title of the digital image
The title of the website that the image was found on
The names of any other contributors responsible for the digital image
Version of the image (if applicable)
Any numbers associated with the image (if applicable)
*The publisher of the image
The date the image was created or published
*The location of the image, such as a URL
*Access Date

If the digital image does not have a title, include a description of the image. Do not place this information in quotation marks or italics.

If the picture was found using Google Images, do not cite Google Images as the publisher. Instead, click on the picture and use the information from the website that is hosting the picture.

When including the URL in the citation, omit “http://” and “https://” from the site’s address. In addition, if the citation will be viewed on a digital device, it is helpful to make it clickable. This ensures that readers will be able to easily access and view the source themselves.

Structure of a citation for an image found on a website in MLA 8:

Creator’s Last name, First name. “Title of the digital image.” Title of the website, First name Last name of any contributors, Version (if applicable), Number (if applicable), Publisher, Publication date, URL. Access Date.

Examples of citations for digital images found on websites in MLA 8:

Vasquez, Gary A. Photograph of Coach K with Team USA. NBC Olympics, USA Today Sports, 5 Aug. 2016, Accessed 24 April 2018.

Gilpin, Laura. “Terraced Houses, Acoma Pueblo, New Mexico.” Library of Congress, Reproduction no. LC-USZ62-102170, 1939, Accessed 26 April 2018.

Tables and Illustrations

Tables and Illustrations

Illustrative visual material—for example, a photograph, map, line drawing, graph, chart, videos, podcasts, etc—should be labeled Figure (usually abbreviated  Fig.), assigned an Arabic numeral, and given a caption. (See Fig. 1 below)  (MLA 7th 118; Russell, “Figures”).

“A label and caption ordinarily appear directly below the illustration” (MLA 7th 118).

“If the caption of a table or illustration provides complete information about the source and the source is not cited in the text, no entry for the source in the works-cited list is necessary” (MLA 7th 118).

NOTE: Include the URL/link to the source if image was retrieved online. 

Frankenstein-Actor Boris Karloff


Fig. 1. Promotional Photo of Boris Karloff from The Bride of Frankenstein as Frankenstein's Monster. 1935. Universal Studios. Wikimedia Commons 21 Sept. 2016.

Online Image from a Database

Structure of a citation for a digital image found on a database in MLA 8:


How to Cite a Meme

General Steps in Creating a Citation for an Image

1) Author/Creator. Not available?  Skip to #2.
2) Title of image (in italics or quotation marks) Not available?  Image doesn’t have a
     title? Create brief descriptive title (Photograph of horse running.  Drawing of brain). 3)  Date that image was created or published. Not available?  Skip to #5.
4) Version-Medium of the image (Chart, Diagram, Graph, Illustration, Map, Photograph,
5) Names of any other contributors
6) Any numbers associated with the image (if applicable)
7A) The publisher of the image
7B)  Where image is housed-name institution and city where located
     (Container 1) —museum,   gallery, title of article, etc.
8) Title of where the image is located.  (Container 2). Title of web page or
     title of database—italicized.      
9) *The location of the images, such as a URL or DOI number (“How To”; Russel,
10)  Access date. (Optional, suggested by Manhattanville librarians)