Given a user’s query, traditional image search systems rank images according to its relevance to a single modality (e.g., image content or surrounding text). Nowadays, an increasing number of images on the Internet are available with associated meta data in rich modalities (e.g., titles, keywords, tags, etc.), which can be exploited for better similarity measure with queries. In this paper, we leverage visual and textual modalities for image search by learning their correlation with input query. According to the intent of query, attention mechanism can be introduced to adaptively balance the importance of different modalities. We propose a novel Attention guided Multi-modal Correlation (AMC) learning method which consists of a jointly learned hierarchy of intra and inter-attention networks. Conditioned on query’s intent, intra-attention networks (i.e., visual intra-attention network and language intra-attention network) attend on informative parts within each modality; a multi-modal inter-attention network promotes the importance of the most query-relevant modalities. In experiments, we evaluate AMC models on the search logs from two real world image search engines and show a significant boost on the ranking of user-clicked images in search results. Additionally, we extend AMC models to caption ranking task on COCO dataset and achieve competitive results compared with recent state-of-the-arts.