Technique #59. Indesign Contact Sheet
Although Photoshop has a built-in automation called Contact Sheet ll, it's pretty challenging to customize the results. Thankfully, Adobe InDesign also has a contact sheet and this one is pretty simple to customizejust about any way you want.
In InDesign, create a new document that is the size you want for your contact sheet. Turn off the Facing Pages checkbox, choose the orientation of the page, and most importantly, set the margins. The area inside the margins determines where your photos will be placed, so if you want to add a logo to the bottom of the page, make that margin larger (as I've done here).
After the page has opened, in the Pages palette, double-click on the icon called A-Master to edit the master page. It's important that you put things like your logo on this master page so that it will appear on every page that is created.
Here I placed on the master pageoutside the bottom margina Photoshop file that I had created and saved. You can make other changes in InDesign, such as adding a large colored rectangle (to change the page color).
Save the document as an InDesign template by choosing (oddly enough) InDesign CS2 Template from the Format pop-up menu in the Save As dialog.
Switch to Bridge and select the images you want in your contact sheet by Command-clicking (PC: Control-clicking) on them. From the Tools menu, choose InDesign>Create InDesign Contact Sheet, and in the resulting dialog, set the options for your contact sheet: the layout (columns, rows, spacing, and rotation), any captions, whether you want to save it as a PDF, and most importantly, select the template you previously saved. Click OK.
Here's the result (shown in InDesign). It's important to note that every part of this layout remains fully editable, either by working on the master page to change master items, or by working with the elements on the page itself.
A note about the captions created by the automated Create InDesign Contact Sheet command: the default font is Times 10 pt. Although you can easily change this after the layout has been created, it is also possible to change the font in your template. First, let's look at editing the font and size after you've run the automated command. In the Paragraph Styles palette, double-click on the style called "labels" to bring up the Paragraph Style Options dialog and pick a new font and size (under Basic Character Formats) or any other setting you'd like to change, such as alignment. All the labels in the document will update once you click OK.
To change the font in your template, in the Paragraph Styles palette, click on the Create New Style icon at the bottom of the palette to add a new style called "labels" (lower case). Then, double-click on it to bring up the Paragraph Style Options dialog and set the attributes in the Basic Character Formats.
Although you can change the font, alignment, color, and other settings, it seems as though the label size will always default to 10 pt, regardless of the size you choose. Here I changed the font, alignment, color, and size for the label style in my template, but when I ran the Create InDesign Contact Sheet command, the size remained at 10 pt.
I decided to use the InDesign contact sheet for a different purpose: to create a one-photo gallery layout. I created a template that was in landscape format with a black border and text at the bottom. Again, I made certain to set the margins for the positioning of the placed photograph. After saving the template, I selected one image in Bridge and used the Create InDesign Contact Sheet command, changing the rows and columns to 1 each (so that only one photo was imported). Here's the result.
Variation 1: Contact sheet as one-photogallery print
In this example, I placed a large lightened photo on the master page and altered the margins so that the contact sheet photos would only appear to the right of the model in the background photo.
Variation 2: Lightened photo as background