They say a picture tells a thousand words—so photographs can serve an important purpose in essays you’ve written or presentations you’re working on. Google Images, which contains images from thousands of websites at the click of a button, is one of the easiest places to find photos on the Internet. Knowing how to cite an image found on Google Images is, therefore, pretty helpful.
While you might know how to cite a thousand word long journal article, citing an image might seem more difficult, especially if you’ve obtained that image from an online source. Luckily, citing a picture you’ve found on Google Images isn’t all that different from citing a website you found after doing a quick Google search.
Say you’re working on an biographical paper or PowerPoint presentation about President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and you want your title page or opening slide to contain a photograph of the former president, who has the distinction of being the only president to serve more than two terms and who led the country out of the Great Depression and throughout much of World War II.
Google Images has you covered on the picture—the site has pages and pages of images, including this neat one of FDR sitting at his desk in the Oval Office—and if you want to cite the photo in MLA format, APA format, or Chicago style, we’ve got you covered on that.
Before continuing, you should understand that many of the images found through Google and other search engines are copyright protected. This means that you are not allowed to make money from the use of these images. For example, it is illegal to make and sell t-shirts that display this image of Franklin D. Roosevelt. However, according to Chapter 1, Section 107, of the Copyright Law, you are allowed to use images for research and classroom purposes.
After finding the image that you’d like to use, to the right of the image, click the button that says, “Visit page.” This is where you’ll find the information you need to cite the image.
Here’s the specific information you’ll need to locate when citing an image you found on Google Images:
*Please note that if putting these citations in a printed paper, the lines should be double-spaced and indented.
Last name, First name of creator. “Title” or description of the image. Title of the Website, Publisher, Date of publication, URL.
How to cite the example image in MLA 8:
Photograph of Franklin D. Roosevelt at his desk. The Washington Post, 25 Apr. 2017, www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2017/04/25/the-white-house-boo-boo-in-counting-roosevelts-executive-orders/?utm_term=.06cac0ac12e5.
Image creator’s Last name, First initial. Middle initial. (Year published). Title of image [Photograph, Cartoon, Painting, etc.]. Website Name. URL.
The reference list entry for the image consists of its author, year of publication, title, description in brackets, and source (usually the name of the website and the URL).
How to cite the example image in APA:
US National Trust. (2017). Franklin D. Roosevelt at his desk [Photograph]. Google Images. https://www.google.com/images/the-white-house-boo-boo-in-counting-roosevelts-executive-orders/?utm_term=.06cac0ac12e5
Last name, First name Middle initial of creator of image. “Title of image” or Description. Digital Image. Title of Website. Month Day, Year Published. Accessed date. URL.
How to cite the example image in Chicago:
Franklin D. Roosevelt at his desk. Digital Image. The Washington Post. April 25, 2017. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2017/04/25/the-white-house-boo-boo-in-counting-roosevelts-executive-orders/?utm_term=.8d30c188c74c.
“Chapter 1: Subject Matter and Scope of Copyright.” Copyright Law of the United States, p. 19, www.copyright.gov/title17/chapter1.pdf.
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