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Images: Finding, Using and Citing

Creative Commons Licenses

Gather information

T-A-S-L (Title, Author, Source, License) - information about the image that you'll need

Title - (if there is one) and the link to the source page

  • Not all images will have a title. If yours does not, create a brief description of what the image is. Ex: Photo of a squirrel
  • The link for the source page is not a page with search results (such as a Google link). Rather, it is the page on which the image resides.

Author name - and link to the author's profile page (if there is one)

  • Not all images have the author(s) listed. If yours does not, you can still use the image without giving an author name.

Source name - and link (if not already gathered with the title)

License - Creative Commons designation and link to CC details

With this information in hand, you are ready to create a caption for your image.

Create the Caption

Use Open Attribution Builder -

  • Fill out the form using the image information that you've gathered. Select the appropriate license type. (The ? icon in each section offers tips to help you.)
  • Copy the resulting text in the attribution box and add it as a caption under (or in) your image wherever you use it.
  • Example: Creative Commons License Open Attribution Builder is licensed under CC BY 4.0. Managed by WA SBCTC.

If Needed, Create a Citation

Most images that you use should have captions, but you only need to create citations for those images used as sources in your work--just as you would do for an article, book, website, or other types of sources.

  • In general, you want to provide your readers or audience with a way to learn more about images that you have used as sources.
  • Different disciplines have different conventions and expectations about citing images. Check with your instructor, the Writing Center, or a librarian if you're unsure about disciplinary distinctions.
  • A particular image may not have some information that would normally be used to cite it. You can still provide what information you have, with explanatory text about what is missing.
  • Different citation styles vary in their recommendations for citing images. Their style guides also use different indexing terms for that guidance. Some examples are shown below.

MLA 7th edition (indexed under "photographs")

Poupeau, Gautier. "Detail de la Main de Dakini Dansante." flickr. N.p., 18 Jan. 2015. Web. 24 Feb. 2017. <>.

MLA 8th edition (indexed under "digital media")

Poupeau, Gautier. "Detail de la Main de Dakini Dansante." flickr, 18 Jan. 2015,

APA 7th edition (indexed under "audiovisual media")

Poupeau, G. (2015) Detail de la Main de Dakini Dansante [photograph]. Retrieved from

Chicago Style 16th edition (indexed under "audiovisual materials")

Poupeau, Guatier. "Detail de la Main de Dakini Dansante," January 18, 2015. flickr.

CSE Style 8th edition (indexed under "websites and other online formats")

Citation-sequence and Citation-name:

Poupeau G. Detail de la Main de Dakini Dansante [image]. Flicker; 2015 Jan 18. [accessed 2018 Oct 2].


Poupeau G. 2015 Jan 18. Detail de la Main de Dakini Dansante [image]. Flickr; [accessed 2018 Oct 2].

Links to additional sources

APA (7th edition)

MLA Style Center (8th edition)

CSE Citation Style (7th edition)

  • CSE (Council of Science Editors) Style - CSE Style guide from Washington State University Libraries. It describes and provides examples for three sub-styles: Citation Sequence; Name Year; and Citation Name. Choose the appropriate one for your document.

Quick Guide

Citing Images Quick Guide