Using images in templates

The image tag inserts an XHTML-compatible img element into the page, setting its src, width, height and alt. See also More control over the img tag.

The syntax for the tag is thus:

{% image [image] [resize-rule] %}

For example:

{% load wagtailimages_tags %}

{% image width-400 %}

<!-- or a square thumbnail: -->
{% image fill-80x80 %}

In the above syntax example [image] is the Django object refering to the image. If your page model defined a field called “photo” then [image] would probably be The [resize-rule] defines how the image is to be resized when inserted into the page; various resizing methods are supported, to cater for different usage cases (e.g. lead images that span the whole width of the page, or thumbnails to be cropped to a fixed size).

Note that a space separates [image] and [resize-rule], but the resize rule must not contain spaces.

The available resizing methods are:


(takes two dimensions)

{% image max-1000x500 %}

Fit within the given dimensions.

The longest edge will be reduced to the equivalent dimension size defined. For example, a portrait image of width 1000, height 2000, treated with the max dimensions 1000x500 (landscape) would result in the image shrunk so the height was 500 pixels and the width 250.


(takes two dimensions)

{% image min-500x200 %}

Cover the given dimensions.

This may result in an image slightly larger than the dimensions you specify. e.g A square image of width 2000, height 2000, treated with the min dimensions 500x200 (landscape) would have its height and width changed to 500, i.e matching the width required, but greater than the height.


(takes one dimension)

{% image width-640 %}

Reduces the width of the image to the dimension specified.


(takes one dimension)

{% image height-480 %}

Resize the height of the image to the dimension specified..


(takes two dimensions and an optional -c parameter)

{% image fill-200x200 %}

Resize and crop to fill the exact dimensions.

This can be particularly useful for websites requiring square thumbnails of arbitrary images. For example, a landscape image of width 2000, height 1000, treated with fill dimensions 200x200 would have its height reduced to 200, then its width (ordinarily 400) cropped to 200.

This filter will crop to the image’s focal point if it has been set. If not, it will crop to the centre of the image.

On images that won’t upscale

It’s possible to request an image with fill dimensions that the image can’t support without upscaling. e.g an image 400x200 requested with fill-400x400. In this situation the ratio of the requested fill will be matched, but the dimension will not. So with that example 400x200 image, the resulting image will be 200x200.

Cropping closer to the focal point

By default, Wagtail will only crop to change the aspect ratio of the image.

In some cases (thumbnails, for example) it may be nice to crop closer to the focal point so the subject of the image is easier to see.

You can do this by appending -c<percentage> at the end of the method. For example, if you would like the image to be cropped as closely as possible to its focal point, add -c100 to the end of the method.

{% image fill-200x200-c100 %}

This will crop the image as much as it can, but will never crop into the focal point.

If you find that -c100 is too close, you can try -c75 or -c50 (any whole number from 0 to 100 is accepted).


(takes no dimensions)

{% image original %}

Leaves the image at its original size - no resizing is performed.


Wagtail does not allow deforming or stretching images. Image dimension ratios will always be kept. Wagtail also does not support upscaling. Small images forced to appear at larger sizes will “max out” at their native dimensions.

More control over the img tag

Wagtail provides two shortcuts to give greater control over the img element:

1. Adding attributes to the {% image %} tag

Extra attributes can be specified with the syntax attribute="value":

{% image width-400 class="foo" id="bar" %}

You can set a more relevant alt attribute this way, overriding the one automatically generated from the title of the image. The src, width, and height attributes can also be overridden, if necessary.

2. Generating the image “as foo” to access individual properties

Wagtail can assign the image data to another variable using Django’s as syntax:

{% image width-400 as tmp_photo %}

<img src="{{ tmp_photo.url }}" width="{{ tmp_photo.width }}"
    height="{{ tmp_photo.height }}" alt="{{ tmp_photo.alt }}" class="my-custom-class" />

This syntax exposes the underlying image “Rendition” (tmp_photo) to the developer. A “Rendition” contains just the information specific to the way you’ve requested to format the image i.e dimensions and source URL.

If your site defines a custom image model using AbstractImage, then any additional fields you add to an image e.g a copyright holder, are not part of the image rendition, they’re part of the image model.

Therefore in the above example, if you’d added the field author to your AbstractImage you’d access it using {{ }} not {{ }}.

(Due to the links in the database between renditions and their parent image, you could also access it as {{ }} but this is clearly confusing.)


The image property used for the src attribute is actually image.url, not image.src.

The attrs shortcut

You can also use the attrs property as a shorthand to output the attributes src, width, height and alt in one go:

<img {{ tmp_photo.attrs }} class="my-custom-class" />

Images embedded in rich text

The information above relates to images defined via image-specific fields in your model, but images can also be embedded arbitrarily in Rich Text fields by the editor (see Rich Text (HTML)).

Images embedded in Rich Text fields can’t be controlled by the template developer as easily. There are no image objects to work with, so the {% image %} template tag can’t be used. Instead editors can choose from one of a number of image “Formats” at the point of inserting images into their text.

Wagtail comes with three pre-defined image formats, but more can be defined in Python by the developer. These formats are:

Full width
Creates an image tag using the filter width-800 and given the CSS class full-width
Creates an image tag with the filter width-500 and given the CSS class left
Creates an image tag with the filter width-500 and given the CSS class right


The CSS classes added to images do not come with any accompanying stylesheets, or inline styles. e.g the left class will do nothing, by default. The developer is expected to add these classes to their front end CSS files, to define what exactly left, right or full-width means to them.

For more information about image formats, including creating your own, see Image Formats in the Rich Text Editor