Tear sheets are used by professional and amateur photographers to showcase their skills and accomplishments. A tear sheet is a piece of paper that includes photographs with a tear-off portion (on the right side) and the attached images (for example, on the bottom).

These photos can include events, people, and even animals, either taken in a studio or in public. Agencies create tear sheets to show prospective clients different looks, hairstyles, and overall body images that may fit with their product or service.

In this guide, we will cover everything you need to know about tear sheets and building a portfolio as a professional photographer.

What Is a Tear Sheet?

what is a tear sheet

A tear sheet is an advertisement taken from a magazine and used to promote a product or service. This could be demonstrated in a variety of ways, including ads, brochures, social media campaigns, magazine covers, and feature stories in magazines.

If the client incorporates your images into any of their marketing materials, it can be helpful to have proof that they used your image.

The name “tear sheet” comes from days when photographers found their images in magazines and tore them out of the magazine. You can take that sheet from the magazine and show it in your physical portfolio.

Today, tear sheets are usually PDFs or JPEGs that the client sends you after they have composed the layout incorporating your photos.

Tear sheets may be used to promote products and services but are also useful for other purposes. For example, they can be used to demonstrate the media coverage an organization has received in its industry or to share information with prospective clients or customers.

Tear sheets can also be used as reference material when writing business documents such as press releases and newsletters.

Tear sheets are called by different names depending on where you live:

  • Ad pullout
  • Advertorial
  • Product information sheet

Why Do You Need Tear Sheets?

Tear sheets are a great way to promote your brand. They are also great for displaying your work and showing off your talent.

Tear sheets are proof of your work. If a potential client wants to see samples of your work, it’s hard to show them all the photos you have taken on a disk or website. You need to make it easy for them to see everything at once.

A tear sheet allows them to flip through all your work in seconds and see exactly what they want. It is easier for clients to choose their photographer based on their tear sheet portfolio.

Tear sheets can be used for many things, such as:

  • Building your portfolio
  • Obtaining new clients
  • Showing off your work to potential clients
  • Marketing yourself as a photographer

How to Ask the Client for Your Tear Sheet?

How to Ask the Client for Your Tear Sheet

As a photographer, getting clients can be difficult. The best way to get them is to ask for them as soon as possible.

If you have been a freelancer for a long, chances are that you have had clients ask for a tear sheet. A tear sheet is a sample of your work that shows the layout or design of an actual printed piece.

Asking for your tear sheet from a client can be tricky, especially if you’ve never done it before.

Here are some tips on how to ask the client for your tear sheet:

  1. Before you start shooting, ask your client if they will supply you with a copy of the photos from the shoot. Suppose they say no, ask why not and if they can provide any other reference material, such as links or PDF files of their website or social media pages.
  2. Ask casually and directly. Don’t beat around the bush or be indirect about what you want. If the client has offered to pay, it’s because they are interested in your services. Ask directly for a tear sheet. If the client hesitates, ask why they aren’t sure about using your services again. You might learn something useful that will help you get more clients.
  3. Ask after every meeting or every couple of meetings when they call or email to check in with you. Don’t wait until the end of the project; it’s easier to say “yes” at the beginning than at the end of a project when they’re already invested in time and money (and possibly emotion).
  4. When editing their images, send them an email with a link to your online gallery (if you have one). Ask them which ones they like best so you can send them over files in those sizes or colors. They’ll appreciate being asked what they like best because they don’t have to guess which photos, they like best out of all the ones they’ve seen so far!
  5. Send over the files once they’ve chosen some favorites, and tell them that if any additional sizes or colors are needed, just let them know, and you’ll be happy to send those over as well!
  6. Before you publish a tear sheet on a client’s website or blog, be sure to get their approval. Clients don’t like seeing their work made public before they approve it.

How do you make a tear sheet if you cannot get it from the client?

A tear sheet is a term used in the advertising industry. It refers to an advertisement page that has been cut out and used as a sample. The client will usually provide you with one or two tear sheets, which you can use as inspiration for your design.

But what if you cannot get tear sheets from clients?

Here are some ways on how you can make one or two:

1. Screenshots


If you have photographed a client and used the images on their website, you can easily take a screenshot of those images. Screenshots are important because they help protect your copyright.

Your food photography can be used to promote your website, get you featured in online food magazines and blogs, or even sell your images through e-commerce sites.

If your photography is being used on a client’s website, ensure you get screenshots before the site gets redesigned. When big brands redesign their websites, they often change everything again–including your photos.

2. Photoshop


You can use Photoshop software to create your own tear sheet, which is a collection of your best work. You can add captions and mention the company name you worked for.

You can use your client’s logo in your design if you do not violate any copyright laws.

You should be careful where you display images with client logos. Technically, you are not supposed to use the logo of the client. That is a violation of trademark law; however, showing your work in progress can help secure future business for yourself.

3. Use Extensions to Create a JPEG or PDF


A browser extension can be a great tool for helping you create files from websites. This is especially true if you’re working in Microsoft Office, as many applications don’t have built-in functionality to create PDF files or JPEGs from webpages.

You recommend you to use Fireshot or Lightshot for creating JDF and JPEG. These tools are one of the best to capture the whole page. Lightshot also gives you the option to save it as Jpeg or PDF.

There are several extensions available for most web browsers that allow you to take screenshots. The best one for Safari can be found by googling “best Safari (or whatever browser you use) extension for webpage screenshots”. Once you choose an extension and install it, follow their instructions for taking a screenshot.

4. Take Images of Your Photographs in Use

take images

Photographing food for a restaurant or café is a great way to get paid for your work.

However, suppose you have taken photographs of food for a restaurant or café that does not publish the images online. In that case, you may want to visit one of these establishments and ask if they would be interested in adding your images to their website.

You can use this photo as an example of some of your best work and ask if they would be interested in hiring you to photograph their menu items.

If they are interested, you can either negotiate how much they will pay per image or provide them with a price list to choose which photos they want.

5. Make a Demo If Suitable

make a demo if appropriate

You can make a real demo or mockup of Tear Sheets; you can create one with the help of Photoshop.

You can also use video editing software like Adobe Premiere Pro to create a video demo. Make sure that your demo is attractive and eye-catching. The main thing you need to remember is that your demo should be related to the project you are going to create.

This is the most effective way to show your potential customers how your product works.

If your portfolio does not include any tear sheets, make some with the help of Photoshop or any other graphic design software.

Wrapping Up,

Tear sheets are one of the most sought-after forms of press, but they are often misunderstood as to what exactly they are. Photographers love tear sheets because they prove to their clients and future clients that the photographer has been published increasing the value that these photographers offer.

In short, photography tear sheets describe the images you provide to a client. Although they may be referred to as tear sheets, they don’t necessarily have to be torn—all it refers to is a physical print (or an electronic image file) that was selected by a client and used for a specific purpose.