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Finding and Using Image Resources

This guide is designed to provide helpful links to online image resources and help on how to cite them.

Citing images in Chicago/Turabian [17th ed.]

Note that Chicago style outlines two distinct citation styles—Notes/bibliography style and Author/date style—and that this guide covers only Notes/Bibliography style.

Footnotes and endnotes
  • Information about paintings, photographs, sculptures, or other works of art can usually be presented in the text rather than in a note or bibliography. [14.235]
  • If note or bibliography entry is needed, follow the guidelines below. 

Use the following format as a guideline

1. First Name Last Name of creator, Title of Work, date of creation or completion, medium, Name of Institution, location (if applicable), URL.


As illustrated in Three Planets Dance over La Silla[1]the phenomenon of 'syzygy' is when celestial bodies align in the sky. 

1. Yuri Beletsky, Three Planets Dance over La Silla, June 3, 2013, photograph, European Southern Observatory,

To incorporate images into the text of your paper:
  1. If you chose to incorporate images into the text of your paper, the image should appear as soon as possible after the first text reference to it. [3.8]
  2. Images should bear numbers, and all text references to them should be by the numbers (eg. “as figure 1 shows…”) The word “figure” should be lowercased and fully spelled out, unless in parenthetical references (where “fig” may be used). [3.9]
  3. Below the image, the caption will begin with “Figure” or “Fig.” followed by a number and period. (Eg. Figure 1.) [3.23]
  4. A caption may consist of a word or two, an incomplete or a complete sentence, several sentences, or a combination. [3.21]
  5. Within a caption, most titles (including those for paintings, drawings, photographs, statues, and books) will be capitalized and italicized. [3.22]
  6. A brief statement of the source of an illustration, known as a credit line, is usually appropriate and sometimes required by the owner of the illustration.[3.29]
  7. A credit line usually appears at the end of a caption, sometimes in parentheses. [3.30]
  8. In addition to author, title, publication details, and (occasionally) copyright date, the credit line should include any page or figure number. If the work being credited is listed in the bibliography or reference list, only a shortened form need appear in the credit line [3.32]
  9. Illustrations from works in the public domain may be reproduced without permission. For readers’ information, however, a credit line is appropriate. [3.35]
Chicago in-text citation example

When celestial bodies are in alignment (see fig. 1) it is called syzygy.

Figure 1. An example of syzygy (celestial alignment) above the La Silla observatory, Chile. (Photograph by Yuri Beletsky, Three Planets Dance over La Silla, June 3, 2013, European Southern Observatory,

*Note: The above formatting is meant as a guideline only. There is no definitive format for a figure caption. For example, see some examples of captions from the Chicago manual:

  • Figure 1. Frontispiece of Christian Prayers and Meditations (London: John Daye, 1569), showing Queen Elizabeth at prayer in her private chapel. Reproduced by permission of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Trustees of the Lambeth Palace Library.
  • Figure 2. Francis Bedford, Stratford on Avon Church from the Avon, 1860s. Albumen print of collodion negative, 18.8 × 28.0 cm. Rochester, International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House.
  • Figure 3. The myth that all children love dinosaurs is contradicted by this nineteenth-century scene of a visit to the monsters at Crystal Palace. (Cartoon by John Leech. “Punch’s Almanack for 1855,” Punch 28 [1855]: 8. Photo courtesy of the Newberry Library, Chicago.)

Use the following format as a guideline
  • Last name First name. Title of Work. Date of creation or completion. Medium. Name of Institution. Location (if applicable). URL.


Chicago Style citation, work of art:

McCurry, Steve. Afghan Girl. December 1984. Photograph. National Geographic, cover, June 1985.

Chicago Style citation, work of art found online:

Monet, Claude. The River, 1868. Painting. Art Institute, Chicago.

Beletsky, Yuri. Three Planets Dance over La Silla.  June 3, 2013. Photograph. European Southern Observatory.


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