Last Updated: Dec 15, 2022     Views: 5344

Many images found online are specifically licensed for use by anyone, whether with restrictions (like a Creative Commons license) or without restrictions (public domain). Other images are owned specifically by vendors who will sell you a license to use their property. You should not use these images unless you have purchased the license or they have a Creative Commons or public domain license.

Class Presentations

When you are giving a presentation in a class your use usually falls under fair use guidelines and you can cite it with a copyright attribution.

Place the citation under the image or at the bottom of the slide. You can decrease the font to make it less noticeable, as long as it is still legible.


If the license associated with clip art or a stock image states “no attribution required,” then do not provide an APA Style reference, in-text citation, or copyright attribution.

For example, this image of a cat comes from Pixabay and has a license that says the image is free to reproduce with no attribution required. To use the image as a figure in an APA Style paper, provide a figure number and title and then the image. If desired, describe the image in a figure note. In a presentation (such as a PowerPoint presentation), the figure number, title, and note are optional.



Citation Format:

From Title of Webpage, by A.A. Author, year, Site Name (DOI or URL). Copyright [year] by Name, OR In the public domain., OR Creative Commons license such as CC BY-NC.


Carpenter, R. (ca. 1857-1860). Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston [Digital image]. Digital Commonwealth.




Photographer, P. (Year of publication). Title of photograph [Photograph]. Source. URL

Ryan, S. (2019). [Sea smoke on Lake Michigan] [Photograph] New York Times.

Note: if the photograph does not have a title, describe the photograph and put that description in square brackets.

Published presentation

If your presentation will be published, you should obtain permission from the copyright holder as per the guidelines of the publishing organization you’re working with. You can learn more about copyright and use permission guidelines on the APA website.