Contact sheets are just as useful in this era of digital photography as they were when darkrooms were still common. A contact sheet is a single sheet of photo paper with multiple thumbnail representations of full-size photos. When you use Adobe Photoshop, contact sheets are also a lot easier to make than in the darkroom. You can design your own Photoshop contact sheet using Adobe Bridge, photo-organising software that comes packaged with Photoshop.
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Open Photoshop and then open Bridge. In Bridge, go to the upper right corner and select "Output." A right-sided tool set will appear that allows you to create contact sheets. Make certain the "PDF" button is selected.
Select the images you want to be part of the contact sheet. You can do this by navigating to the folder where your digital images are stored. Then select the appropriate images for the contact sheet from the "Content" section at the centre bottom area of Bridge.
Name all the image files according to how you want them to be read on the contact sheet. One major advantage in creating a digital contact sheet is that the file names will appear on the sheet under the correct photo. So, it is a good idea not to leave the names as they were when they were created by your digital camera. The exception to this is if you are placing one entire photo shoot on contact sheets and need to recognise the images by numbers rather than by names. Name the images by clicking on the image, then clicking again. This will highlight the name of the file and allow you to type the new name.
Determine how you want your contact sheet to look. You can set the size of the paper for final printout. If you have a regular home inkjet printer, you probably will want to stick with letter size. This is the most common form of photo paper you can buy. Then, select whether you want your contact sheet to be oriented to portrait (vertical) or landscape (horizontal). Set the paper quality for the best printout.
Customise your contact sheets by selecting how many columns and rows of images you want to appear on each sheet. Remember that the more images you want on a single sheet, the smaller those images will be. You also can customise the size and shape of the images, and rotate the images to fit best. Then set the font and its size and colour. This will determine how the image file's name appears on the contact sheet. Bridge allows you to add a watermark, which will make it impossible for someone to make their own enlargements from the thumbnails.
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