Finding & Using Images


This guide is intended for informational purposes and should not be construed as legal advice or guidance. If you have specific legal questions, please contact EMU's Legal Affairs Office.

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Why Cite Images?

When you use an image that was created by someone else, you need to acknowledge this. Not only does this acknowledgment recognize the work of someone else, but it also leads others to your sources, and helps you avoid claims of plagiarism.

If you are writing a scholarly paper, you may cite images you use at the end of the work in a bibliography or list of references, or within the paper in the figures descriptions.

Images used in other types of projects, such as webpages or posters, still need to be acknowledged, with a statement of attribution near the image or in a separate section of credits or attributions.

Our guide on Citing Sources can lists different citations styles and tools for creating citations.

Citing in a Bibliography



Artist: Frédéric Bazille

Title of Work: Young Woman with Peonies

Date Created:  1870

Medium: oil no canvas

Source: National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., United States


Image Use:  public domain



APA Style, 7th Edition
Bazille, F. (1870). Young woman with peonies [Oil on canvas]. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., United States.

MLA Style, 9th Edition
Bazille, Frédéric. Young Woman with Peonies. 1870. National Gallery of Art.

Chicago Manual of Style, 17th Edition
Bazille, Frédéric. Young Woman with Peonies. 1870. Oil on canvas. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Informal Attributions

If you are using images in works that are not scholarly, acknowledging their use following the conventions of a formal citation system is not necessary.

However, you still need to provide an acknowledgment or "attribute" the work to the creator.

Luckily, some sites, such as those with free stock images (morgueFile and Unsplash, for example), specify the wording to use in an attribution.

If you need to create the acknowledgement, follow the Best Practices for Attribution from Creative Commons.

Your attributions need to include:

  • Title - the name of the material
  • Author - the owner of the material (link to the author/owner's page)
  • Source - where to find the material (link to the webpage)
  • License - how it can be used (link to the license explanation

Here is an example:


Title: Reading the Tourist Guide

Author: Pedro Ribeiro Simões

Source: found on Flickr

License: CC BY 2.0


"Reading the Tourist Guide" by Pedro Ribeiro Simões is licensed under CC BY 2.0