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Images: Referencing & Captioning in APA 7th

A multidisciplinary guide to searching, evaluating & referencing different types of images

Icon Important!

This page provides information on referencing images in the APA 7th referencing style. For help referencing images in other referencing styles, ask a librarian. 

The referencing information provided on this page is relevant to UTS undergraduate & postgraduate coursework students. If you are doing a research degree or writing a publication, please contact your Faculty librarian for referencing assistance. 

If you are using Indigenous content or works, please note there are additional sensitivities and legal/cultural issues and care should be taken in reusing or repurposing Indigenous work in your studies. Please check with the Library for assistance. 

Referencing vs Copying


When you mention, describe or analyse an image or artwork in the text of your work, you are referring to the image and therefore you will need to reference it.

When you include an image in your paper, however, this is considered copying or reproducing an image, and you will need to caption it and write a copyright attribution.

An easy way to remember this is by the root word: 

Action Referencing Copying
Elements required
  • In-text citation
  • Reference list entry
  • Figure number
  • Title
  • Copyright Attribution

...created by the use of primary colours (Mondrian, 1935/1942).



Mondrian, P. (1935/ 1942). Composition with Yellow, Red and Blue [Painting]. Google Arts and Culture. 

Figure 1
Composition with Yellow, Red and Blue

Geometric Painting

Note. From Composition with Yellow, Red and Blue, by P. Mondrian, 1935/1942, Google Arts and Culture. Copyright Vidal Sassoon


Depending on whether you are just referring to an image, copying an image or both, you will either need an in-text citation/reference list entry or a copyright attribution, or both. 

How to reference an image


When you talk about or mention an image in your work using words (i.e. text ONLY), you need to reference it the same as you would a book or journal article. This applies to any image, whether it be an artwork, graph or design. 

This means including: 

  • an in-text reference
  • a full reference in your Reference list

Watch the video to learn how to reference an image.

How to caption an image


If you are including an image in your assignment, you need to caption it.

A caption includes: 

  • A Figure number
  • A title or description
  • A Copyright attribution (as a Note below the image)

Below is an example of how to caption an image. 

Images - Captioning - Goose

Check out pages 140-146 of the Library’s APA 7th Referencing guide, to learn how to write a Copyright attribution.

Captioning images in a PowerPoint presentation


When including images in a PowerPoint presentation, you need to include a caption. However, the way you do this is slightly different from a written work, to keep it more visually appealing.

On a slide, include:

  • The Figure number 
  • title or description of the image.


Example of image caption in a presentation slide

And, at the end of the PowerPoint presentation, before your reference list, include a List of Figures, with copyright attributions for all the images you included in your presentation. 


Example of List of Figures

Referencing & captioning your own work


If you created an image and used it in your assessment, you are required to caption it, even though it’s your own creation.

Your caption should include: 

  • A Figure number
  • A title or description

You do NOT need to include a copyright attribution.

However, you should make it clear in the text of your assessment that the image was created by you.

IconYou do NOT need an in-text reference or reference list entry for images you created. 

Images referencing: Hints & tips

  • For photographs or images taken of an artwork or other creative work, reference the date of the work depicted in the image (e.g. for a photograph of the Mona Lisa, the date referenced should be the date the Mona Lisa was created, NOT the date the Mona Lisa was photographed). 
  • When including images in your work, these can go either in the body of your work, or after the reference list but before any Appendices.