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CDU APA Referencing: Visual works (images, figures, tables...)

A guide to help you better understand CDU APA 7th Referencing

On this page...

Visual work from an online collection

Personal/Organisation as author

NO title (most Pexel/Pixabay)

Image in the public domain

Visual work from a resource

From a journal article

From a book

From a web page (no copyright holder)

From a web page (copy right holder identified)

From social media (title provided)

From social media (no title provided)

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Images, figures, tables, graphs, and other visual works can provide useful evidence and reinforcement to your research, but as with other resources, content and ideas must be credited.

When reproducing images, be aware of copyright and licencing restrictions. Images can be found in journal articles, books, on web pages or in online image collections like Flickr. Not all images are freely available to use and might be subject to copyright restrictions.

Allowed Not Allowed
Use copyrighted images for study purposes (e.g., in an assignment) with relevant attribution and reference. Publishing work (e.g., poster created for assignment used in your workplace) as this would breach copyright. UNLESS copyright permission is attained from owner.

If referencing images, when do you use...

in-text citation? a caption? a reference list entry?

Use an in-text citation when you have referred to the image in your writing.

Use a caption when you have reproduced (inserted) the image in your work. Always include a reference list entry for a visual work you are using in your work.

There are two styles of referencing for visual works in this guide.

1. Referencing a visual work from an online collection. ‘Image collections’ refers to image sites such as Pixabay, Flickr, PxHere, Pexels, Wikimedia Commons, etc.

2. Referencing a visual work which is a part of a resource e.g., in a report, on a website, etc.


Visual work from an online collection

Caption format

From Title of Image [Format], by A. A. Author, Year, Publisher. (DOI/URL). Licence (e.g., CC BY 2.0).


  • It is acceptable to resize the caption to a smaller font if it is too long
  • If created by you and published (e.g., Facebook) use this format
  • If unpublished, cite visual work as personal communication
  • To help identify works other than articles, books, reports, web pages, etc. provide a description of the format in square brackets after the title and before the full stop (e.g. [Photograph], [Clip art], …)
  • For more information about CC Licenses check out


From Zebra Finches [Photograph], by R. H. Lee, 2009, Flickr. ( CC BY-SA 2.0.


Reference list

Lee, R. H. (2009). Zebra finches [Photograph]. Flickr.


  • If the image has a long title, use the first few words of the title in the in-text citation.
  • The image title in the in-text citation has capital letters on all words as it is a part of the text of your essay.
  • Include the full title of the image in the reference.
  • Use sentence case capitalisation in the reference list entry.

The photo of a brown bear is by Rasmus Svinding, 2006, Pexels. ( CC0.


Reference list

Svinding, R. (2006). [Brown bear] [Photograph]. Pexels.


  • In the caption provide a brief description of the image.
  • In the reference list entry, enclose the brief description of the image in square brackets.

From Schematic Diagram of the Human Eye [Photograph], by Rhcastilhos, 2007, Wikimedia Commons. ( In the public domain.

Reference list

Rhcastilhos. (2007). Schematic diagram of the human eye [Photograph]. Wikimedia Commons.


  • Cite images in the public domain/with a CC0 Licence even if no attribution required.
  • If it is a clipart with no attribution details, please add a visual description in the caption.
  • Give the author’s name exactly as it appears on the source page of the image.



Visual work from a resource

Caption format

From Title of Resource, by Author, Year. (DOI/URL).


  • If it is not discernible that the image is licenced under Creative Commons or is in the public domain, assume that the image is under copyright.
  • If no copyright holder is mentioned with the image (esp. images on web pages), omit ‘Copyright year by author’ (see referencing examples below)


From “Romantic Relationship Development: The Interplay Between Age and Relationship Length,” by A. Lantagne and W. Furman, 2017, Developmental Psychology, 53(9), p. 1744 ( Copyright 2017 by the American Psychological Association

Reference list

Lantagne, A., & Furman, W. (2017). Romantic relationship development: The interplay between age and relationship length. Developmental Psychology, 53(9), 1738-1749.

From Plant Anatomy: Images and Diagrams to Explain Concepts (p. 6), by S. M. Bellairs, 2018, Charles Darwin University ( CC BY-SA 4.0.

Reference list

Bellairs, S. M. (2018). Plant anatomy: Images and diagrams to explain concepts. Charles Darwin University.

From How Tobacco* Impacts your Health by Department of Public Health, n.d. Commonwealth of Massachusetts. (

Reference list

Department of Public Health. (n.d.). How tobacco* impacts your health. Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

From From 9/11 to Christchurch Earthquakes: How Unis Have Supported Students After a Crisis, by P. Gonzalez, 2020, The Conversation ( Copyright n.d. by Hubert Boesl/DPA.

Reference list

Gonzalez, P. (2020, January 23). From 9/11 to Christchurch earthquakes: How unis have supported students after a crisis. The Conversation.


  • When the copyright holder of the image is identified add: Copyright 'year' by 'Copyright holder name'.

From Vaping Products Aren’t Regulated so it’s Difficult to Know Exactly What They Contain [Image], by Lung Foundation Australia, 2023, Instagram (

Reference list

Lung Foundation Australia [@lungfoundation]. (2023, February 7). Vaping products aren’t regulated so it’s difficult to know exactly what they contain [Image]. Instagram.

The image about building a supply chain with regenerative cotton is by Eileen Fisher, 2023, Facebook, (

Reference list

Eileen Fisher. [@EILEENFISHERNY]. (2023, April 13) [Building a supply chain with regenerative cotton]. [Image]. Facebook.

From DALL-E (version 2) [Large text-to-image model] by OpenAI, 2023, (

Reference list

OpenAI. (2023). DALL-E (version 2) [Large text-to-image model].

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