Jargon 2 - Sheets Verses Prints

November 26, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Jargon is a term which identifies technical language used by a specific industry among professionals in that industry.  Understanding Jargon is vital when learning about services that an organization offers.  This holds true for most industries, but especially so when looking to hire a photographer.  In this 4 part series we will look at Photography Jargon and explore the different things this Jargon refers to and how it applies to your photo session.


(Part 2/4) Sheets Verses Prints

So, you’ve just finished a wonderful session with a great photographer and now you sit down to review and order your pictures.  A disc, of course, is great.  We all know what a disc is, how to use it and what it has on it. Some discs come with a copyright release (which gives consumers the right to print off of them). Often times, however, they don’t, which means that if you want printed copies of images on the disc, you can’t legally use the disc to make them.  Even if you do have the release and can print your own copies the quality of paper offered by a true professional is usually far better than what you can get at a kiosk or print in your own home. For example, at Southern Moon Photography, LLC, we use a special highly durable thermo paper which is waterproof for over 48 hours. 

So you decide you also want printed copies of the image.  As you’re considering what sizes you need, your sales guide begins talking about the collections, including how many sheets you get with each.  It’s here where the confusion comes in.  When you ask how many copies those sheets are the guide tells you that the number of prints is determined by the Print sizes you choose and the number of Sheets you want!  Well, that can be down-right confusing for many people, because most consumers don’t understand the difference between a Sheet and a Print.


Think of it this way,  A print is an image that’s been applied to paper, and can be printed in multiple sizes.  A sheet is the paper the image(s) is printed on.  They can also come in a variety of sizes.  Both larger and smaller copies are considered a print.  Here’s where they differ...  A Sheet can have multiple copies of the same image.  The stress here being “same image.” A sheet is limited to one image or pose (a single image or shot captured during the session is considered one pose), but can have multiple sizes of the same image printed on it.  For example an 8X10 Sheet can include 2-5X7 Prints or 1-5X7 & 4 wallets (see illustration on left). A sheet can also be a single Print as in the case of an 8X10 Print on an 8X10 Sheet. 



An image is a picture, whether it’s on paper or not.  Unlike Sheets, Prints refer to a single copy of that image.  So in essence the Sheet can have 1 Print on it or it can have multiple Prints on it.  If you want multiple poses (ie: images), each separate pose must be printed on a different Sheet.  When ordering by Prints you order by the number of copies you want of each pose.  Then your sheet count will vary depending on the sheet size, how many different poses you want, and the Print size of the poses you select.



This can still be confusing, so let’s look at an example (Using 8X10 as a standard sheet size):

Say you like 10 images out of your session.  You want your favorite (we’ll call it #A) as a 16X20, and also as 8-3.5X5 sized Prints to hand out.  Then you decide that you want 2-5X7s of the next four shots (say #s B, C, D & E). Finally, on the last five poses (#s F, G, H, I & J) you want 3-5X7s and a few wallets of each.


Since 5X7s come 2-5X7 Prints to a Sheet or can be ordered as 1-5X7+4 wallets, to get 3-5X7s and some wallets a customer needs only order two Sheets of each pose to get those sized Prints.  Likewise, since 3.5X5s come 4 to a Sheet, a consumer need only purchase 2 Sheets of 3.5X5s to get 8 Prints of any one pose in that size.  (Again each Sheet can only include 1 pose.)


The order would look like this:

Shot #

Print Sizes Requested

Total Number of Sheets


16X20 & 8-3.5X5 sized copies

16X20 + 2 Standard Sheets











2-5X7s 1


3-5X7s + 4 wallets



3-5X7s + 4 wallets



3-5X7s + 4 wallets



3-5X7s + 4 wallets



3-5X7s + 4 wallets


Total Sheet Count

16X20 + 16 Standard Sheets


When ordering a collection that includes Sheets, the best way to determine which collection is a good match for you is to figure up what sizes and quantities of each pose you want Prints of. Then you should figure out which configurations (sheet options) will get you all those Prints while using the least amount of Sheets.  Next use that information as a starting point.  Choosing the collection that comes closest to your needs is the simplest solution, but if you have to, you can always eliminate poses or Prints (number of printed copies) to narrow down your Sheet count and get into a smaller collection. 


Many collections may include additional items that you would like! This is a huge bonus if you already have a collection that offers a great value to begin with.  Sometimes those other items aren’t something you need or want.  If that’s the case, or if you just need to get the cost down, you can always ask to adjust the collection.  This can be done by either swapping out equal value products (including prints) or removing items altogether, ultimately reducing the collection price by the cost of that item.  However you sum it up, collections based on sheet counts can save you money, providing you discounts on Print purchases, by ordering copies as Sheets instead of individually. Kinda’ like buying bulk at the grocery store.  We (Southern Moon Photo) sell 5X7s individually at many of the festivals we participate in.  They go for around $10 depending on the set-up and event.  At those same events we sell Double and Combination 5X7 Sheets also.  Those go for $18 each on average.  So, if a booth guest needs 2 or more copies of an image they save 10% by purchasing an 8X10 sheet with multiple prints!


Once a consumer understands the difference between Prints and Sheets, and how those differences affect the options for purchasing their professional photographs, it seems a lot simpler to understand the ordering process and take a good majority of the stress out of the whole photography experience. 


Be sure to check back in a couple weeks for the 3rd part of this Informative Consumer Report on Jargon in the Photographic Industry; Titled, “Collage… Mosaic? What’s the Difference?”




By: Sarah Whitcell

Southern Moon Photography, LLC – February 20, 2014


No comments posted.

Don't Forget You can Upload images that Illustrate or Depict the Subject of your Blog at our Blog Photo-Share Facebook Page!  So Let's Get Posting!!!


January February March April May (2) June July August September October November (8) December
January February March April May June July August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December