We as photographers in this digital time are taking more photographs than ever. After learning how to make a contact sheet in Bridge, it simplified the overwhelming amount of images I had.
Whenever I was trying to make sense on all the images I wanted to see them all to be able to compare them. Using Adobe Bridge gave this option on your laptop too, but you could only see a bunch of the images.
Many times your clients want to see the final work but you feel hesitant sending them the actual images. I would advice to never send RAW-files to your clients and even large jpeg’s are a no-no.
Instead, using contact sheets to provide the broad selection of the images without giving them up is a great way to examine the whole photoshoot. In this article I will take you through using Bridge in making the selection of your images but also the making of the contact sheet. This is a step-by-step guide to use Bridge on you Mac.
What is a PDF contact sheet?
It might sound like something more like a business card with your information on it, but it is actually a compilation of images. It is a file with multiple images that you have chosen to add on one page to better view them before the final selection.
Why to send a contact sheet for your clients?
Imagine you did a wedding photoshoot and now you have chosen 100 best images to send to your clients.
When creating a contact sheet you want to be able to select the right images quickly. Bridge will place them on a sheet and even name them correctly, after you’ve marked them. If this isn’t making your life easier, you’re not working with enough clients.
How To Make A Contact Sheet in Adobe Bridge
1. Open the files with the images
Open your external hard drive and select the folder with your images. You will be able to find this under the computer on the upper left side of the screen.
2. Mark your images
Select your preferred images and mark them from low to high importance (1-5 stars).
You can do this by using command + the number of your choice – in this case: command + 5
If you want to take it a step further and mark the images with specific colors, lets say to differentiate your favorites from your clients favorites, you can use command + 6 (or just any number higher than 5).
3. Choose the starred selection
From the upper right you can filter the images you prefer.
Choosing only to show the 5 star selection, but you can also clear the selection if you still wish to go through the rest of the images.
This also lets you filter the images by color.
4. Select all marked images
Once you have your images marked and filtered in Bridge, you can select all of the images you want to use in the contact sheet.
You can do this with pressing command + A (selecting them all).
If you still only wish to select just some images of the high rated ones, you can do so by pressing command continuously and clicking on the images.
5. Open the selection
Then from the upper bar select Output. You will be taken to a new window where you can edit the contact sheet.
On the right side bar you can decide how many columns and rows your contact sheet will have.
You can see how it will look in the final sheet. If you do not need to see so much of the details, you can choose more rows and columns, and the images will be of smaller size.
Once you have chosen this select all of the images again with command + A. You can also include to show the filename or remove the filename in the Document-section.
Output Preview panel
The Output Preview panel displays a preview of the PDF contact sheet with your photos aligned in rows and columns.
Any modification in the Output Settings panel is rendered in the Output Preview panel instantaneously.
You can drag photos from the Content panel at the bottom of the screen onto the canvas in the Output Preview panel.
Output Settings panel
You can use the Output Settings panel to choose a predefined template or customize the template for the PDF contact sheet.
You can customize settings such as Document, Grid and Margin, Header and Footer, Watermark, and PDF Properties.
The changes you make in this panel are rendered in the Output Preview panel instantaneously.
6. Drag the images
Once you have made the necessary changes in the grid you can just drag and drop your images into the grid. Command + A (select all) and holding your touchpad continuously.
Now you can see how your final contact sheet is going to look like. Now just export the file into a final PDF.
7. Now you have a contact sheet
And your contact sheet is done. You can include the file names, but sometimes it looks more pleasing without them, especially if it’s just for yourself to choose from.
You can also add unedited files too, so your client can make the first round of choosing the images. In the end you can send them the final round of images they’ll be choosing from.
To find more information on Adobe Photoshop and Bridge softwares, click here.
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