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Using the Gatsby Image plugin


  • Using Gatsby Image

If you’re looking for a guide on using the deprecated gatsby-image package, it can be found in the How to use Gatsby Image doc.

Adding responsive images to your site while maintaining high performance scores can be difficult to do manually. The Gatsby Image plugin handles the hard parts of producing images in multiple sizes and formats for you!

Want to learn more about image optimization challenges? Read the Conceptual Guide: Why Gatsby’s Automatic Image Optimizations Matter. For full documentation on all configuration options, see the reference guide.

Getting started

  1. Install the following packages:
  1. Add the plugins to your gatsby-config.js:

If you already have some of these plugins installed, please check that they’re updated to the latest version.

Note that gatsby-source-filesystem is not included in this config. If you are sourcing from your local filesystem to use GatsbyImage please configure accordingly. Otherwise, downloading the dependency without configuration is sufficient.

Using the Gatsby Image components

Decide which component to use

The Gatsby Image plugin includes two image components: one for static and one for dynamic images. The simplest way to decide which you need is to ask yourself: “will this image be the same every time the component or template is used?”. If it will always be the same, then use StaticImage. If it will change, whether through data coming from a CMS or different values passed to a component each time you use it, then it is a dynamic image and you should use the GatsbyImage component.

Static images

If you are using an image that will be the same each time the component is used, such as a logo or front page hero image, you can use the StaticImage component. The image can be either a local file in your project, or an image hosted on a remote server. Any remote images are downloaded and resized at build time.

  1. Add the image to your project.

    If you are using a local image, copy it into the project. A folder such as src/images is a good choice.

  2. Add the StaticImage component to your template.

    Import the component, then set the src prop to point to the image you added earlier. The path is relative to the source file itself. If your component file was src/components/dino.js, then you would load the image like this:

    If you are using a remote image, pass the image URL in the src prop:

    When you build your site, the StaticImage component will load the image from your filesystem or from the remote URL, and it will generate all the sizes and formats that you need to support a responsive image.

    Because the image is loaded at build time, you cannot pass the filename in as a prop, or otherwise generate it outside of the component. It should either be a static string, or a local variable in the component’s scope.

    Important: Remote images are downloaded and resized at build time. If the image is changed on the other server, it will not be updated on your site until you rebuild.

  3. Configure the image.

    You configure the image by passing props to the <StaticImage /> component. You can change the size and layout, as well as settings such as the type of placeholder used when lazy loading. There are also advanced image processing options available. You can find the full list of options in the API docs.

    This component renders a 200px by 200px image of a dinosaur. Before loading it will have a blurred, low-resolution placeholder. It uses the "fixed" layout, which means the image does not resize with its container.

Note: There are a few technical restrictions to the way you can pass props into StaticImage. For more information, refer to the Reference Guide: Gatsby Image plugin. If you find yourself wishing you could use a prop for the image src then it’s likely that you should be using a dynamic image.

Dynamic images

If you need to have dynamic images (such as if they are coming from a CMS), you can load them via GraphQL and display them using the GatsbyImage component. Many CMSs support gatsby-plugin-image without needing to download and process images locally. For these, you should see the individual plugin documentation for details on query syntax. See the CMS images section for a list of supported CMSs. For other data sources, images are downloaded and processed locally at build time. This includes local data sources where e.g. a JSON file references an image by relative path. This section shows how to use gatsby-transformer-sharp to query for these images.

  1. Add the image to your page query.

    Any GraphQL File object that includes an image will have a childImageSharp field that you can use to query the image data. The exact data structure will vary according to your data source, but the syntax is like this:

  2. Configure your image.

    You configure the image by passing arguments to the gatsbyImageData resolver. You can change the size and layout, as well as settings such as the type of placeholder used when lazy loading. There are also advanced image processing options available. You can find the full list of options in the API docs.

  3. Display the image.

    You can then use the GatsbyImage component to display the image on the page. The getImage() function is an optional helper to make your code easier to read. It takes a File and returns file.childImageSharp.gatsbyImageData, which can be passed to the GatsbyImage component.

Customizing the defaults

You might find yourself using the same options (like placeholder, formats etc.) with most of your GatsbyImage and StaticImage instances. You can customize the default options with gatsby-plugin-sharp.

The following configuration describes the options that can be customized along with their default values:

Using images from a CMS or CDN

Gatsby Cloud Image CDN

Image CDN is Gatsby Clouds image hosting and transformation service. It speeds up your build times by deferring image downloading and processing until the first user requests an image. Image CDN also speeds up your frontend performance by serving CDN hosted images on the same domain as your Gatsby Cloud site. In our testing this can shave up to 300ms off of frontend page load times and as a result improve your lighthouse scores.

For more information on what Image CDN is, how to use it, and what the platform limits are, visit the Gatsby Cloud knowledge base article on “What Is Image CDN?”. To learn which source plugins currently support it and how to enable and use Image CDN on Gatsby Cloud take a look at the “How-to Enable Image CDN” article.

For all supported source plugins, the query syntax and feature-set is identical. Check your source plugin’s documentation or the Gatsby Cloud knowledge base article on “Configuring source plugins for Image CDN” for more info.

Source plugins with their own CDN

Many source plugins have native support for gatsby-plugin-image, with images served directly from that CMS’s content delivery network (CDN). This means that builds are faster than local images because there is no need to download images and process them. While this is faster for builds, it isn’t as performant on the frontend as Gatsby Cloud’s Image CDN due to images being served from a different domain than the domain your site is hosted on.

The query syntax varies according to the plugin, as do the supported transformation features and image formats. Make sure you update to the latest version of the source plugin to ensure there is support. For plugins that are not in this list you can use dynamic images from gatsby-transformer-sharp.

These source plugins support using gatsby-plugin-image with images served from their own CDN.

Plugin authors

If you maintain a source plugin or image CDN, there is a toolkit to help you add support for gatsby-plugin-image. See Adding Gatsby Image support to your plugin for more details. You can then open a PR to add your plugin to this list.

Background images

Using CSS to display background images has more limited support for responsive image handling than the <picture> element. Most importantly, it does not handle fallback for next-gen image formats such as AVIF and WebP. You can get the benefits of gatsby-plugin-image for background images without any extra components.

This is an example of a hero image component with text overlaying an image background. It uses CSS grid to stack the elements on top of each other.


If your site uses the old gatsby-image component, you can use a codemod to help you migrate to the new Gatsby Image components. This can update the code for most sites. To use the codemod, run this command in the root of your site:

This will convert all GraphQL queries and components to use the new plugin. For more information see the full migration guide.


If you’re running into issues getting everything to work together we recommend following these steps.

  1. Are your dependencies installed?

Check your package.json file for the following entries:

  • gatsby-plugin-image
  • gatsby-plugin-sharp
  • gatsby-transformer-sharp (If you’re querying for dynamic images)
  • gatsby-source-filesystem (If you’re using the StaticImage component)

If not, install them.

  1. Have you added the necessary information to your gatsby-config.js file?

All of these plugins should be in your plugins array. Reminder that the gatsby-image package did not get included, so this is a change.

  • gatsby-plugin-image
  • gatsby-plugin-sharp
  • gatsby-transformer-sharp (If you’re querying for dynamic images)

If not, add them.

  1. Do your queries in GraphiQL return the data you expect?

There are two paths here.

If you’re using StaticImage:

Try running

Do you see results with .cache/caches/gatsby-plugin-image in the path?

If not, check steps 1 and 2 above.

If you’re using GatsbyImage:

Run the query you’re using in your site. Does it return a gatsbyImageData object?

If not, check steps 1 and 2 above.

  1. Do the images render when you run your site?

Do you see errors in your gatsby develop logs? Do you see errors in your browser console?

For StaticImage:

Inspect the element on your page. Does it include a div with gatsby-image-wrapper? How about an internal source element?

If not, double-check the component usage. Did you use src? Is the relative path correct?

For GatsbyImage:

Trying using console.log to check the object you’re passing as the image prop. Is it there?

If not, make sure you’re using the same object you saw return from your query.

  1. Are the images working yet?

If you still see problems and think it’s a bug, please file an issue and let us know how far in these steps you progressed.

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