Q. How can I correctly use and cite photos/pictures found on the internet for educational purposes?

Correct usage and citation of photos/pictures found on the internet for educational purposes? For powerpoint lectures or professional presentations, all for educational purposes, I copy the URL from which the image was copied and cite this under the photo. Is this enough? Is this appropriate use/citation? I do not include it again at the end for references. APA 7th edition is the format


I think these questions fall into some gray areas, so instead of telling you what you "should do". I'll tell you how I approach the use of images in PowerPoint presentations and give you some options.

Copyrighted Material

First, we should consider copyright in the context of using images. Under "Fair Use" you can use copyrighted images in both the classroom and in scholarly presentations - although, I would be a little more careful about using copyrighted images if you think your slides will be widely shared or reproduced after a presentation. . Fair Use allows you to use copyrighted images without obtaining permission, but attribution is still required. (This is covered on pages 386-387 of the handbook).  The only times I can think of where you do not need to provide an attribution for an image is if it is in the public domain or if you have been granted a license to use images through a software program. 

Determining Copyright Status or License

First, it's a good idea to assume that most images are copyrighted and need an attribution. As I noted above, the exceptions to this are if you find an image in the public domain or if you use clipart found in a program such as Word or Powerpoint as the purchase of the software allows for free use of the images. I'm a big fan of starting my search for images there for that reason! However, if I can't find an image I like in Powerpoint, I try to use licensed images, specifically images with creative commons licenses. This is the best way that I know to feel completely comfortable with using an image and to know that appropriate credit is being given to the content creator.  To find images with Creative Commons licenses I use this database: https://search.creativecommons.org or I do an advanced google image search and search by license. When using the creative commons database, I follow the specific guidelines for attributing a photo as it is licensed. Here's an example: https://creativecommons.org/use-remix/attribution/.

Citing Images in PowerPoint


I would use this link for guidance, basically, you want to cite each image as you would a figure in an APA paper, but for a PP presentation it's optional if you want to include the figure number and the title, the note under the image is not optional. Technically, you should include images in the references at the end of the presentation. If you can't find anything about an image, use this format: [Subject and type of work]. (n.d). URL 

I hope this helps and doesn't put too much pressure on you - I'm happy to help with specific examples or assist with image searches. Let me know if you have questions! 





  • Last Updated Mar 11, 2021
  • Views 4
  • Answered By Jen Hasse

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