A contact sheet is simply a page of thumbnails for a set of images, so they can be used for reference. It’s a handy layout when it comes to selecting a choice of photos from a shoot, for example, as you can quickly browse all the options in one place, before picking a final photo. Photoshop always used to have an automated option for creating these contact sheets, but it disappeared. CS5 users had to create contact sheets through Bridge or download and install the service as an optional plug-in.
Photoshop CS6 sees the feature making a comeback in the Automate menu and it’s as easy to use as ever. It’s best to ensure that all the images you want to create a contact sheet for are well organised before you begin. If you want to use the filenames as captions make sure they are something useful, rather than the default ‘P123456789.jpg’ or whatever your camera creates. You can also organise images into sub-folders if you want to automatically create separate contact sheets for different categories.
Step 01: Automated option
First, make sure that all your photos are organised ready to start creating a contact sheet. Next, open Photoshop CS6 and go to File>Automate. Among the many options here you will see Contact Sheet II, which will bring up a new dialog box to start adding your information.
Step 02: Set the options
Select the folder where your images will be coming from. You can ask Photoshop to look at the sub-folders and tick if you want them to be added as new contact sheets. You can then choose options such as a size, colour mode, resolution and the like for the page.
Step 03: Let it run
When you are done, you can hit OK. Photoshop will now take each photo, put it on a layer, resize it to fit the page, add a text layer for the caption and repeat for every image. The final step is to flatten it all down and you will be left with a contact sheet ready to send out to clients.