In this automated world, it's only fair that our computers should provide ways to automate some of the more mundane tasks that we must occasionally do, such as making contact sheets and picture packages.
If you have a background in darkroom photography, as I do, you're already used to making contact sheets of every roll of film you process. Fortunately, Elements enables you to print pages of thumbnails. All you need to do is save the images for the contact sheet into a folder or, if you use iPhoto, locate the folder for the roll you want to work with.
You can even place several subfolders inside one main folder. Then select File, Print Layouts, Contact Sheet to open the dialog box shown in Figure 22.27 and select the folder you want to make contacts of.
Figure 22.27. Click Include All Subfolders if you want their contents to be included in the contact sheet.
If you're going to print your contact sheets, be sure that the document size is no larger than the paper in your printer. Low resolution (72 dpi) is usually good enough to see what's going on, and saves time and space. The Flatten All Images option has to do with the finished thumbnail file, not your images. It's typically best to select this option, unless you plan to manipulate the individual thumbnails for some reason.
Decide how many thumbnails you want per page, and arrange them across or down as you prefer. Finally, if you want their filenames to appear on the contact sheet (which I strongly recommend), click the Use Filename As Caption check box and select a font and size for the caption. When you click OK, Photoshop will automatically open your files one at a time, create thumbnails, and paste them into a new document. You can then save and print this contact sheet just like any other page. Figure 22.28 shows a typical contact sheet. Note that the pictures are in alphabetical order. Filenames, if too long, will be truncated.
Figure 22.28. Each little photo has its filename as its title.
Remember school pictures? You got a page with one 5x7 print, a couple of "stick-on-the- fridge "- sized pictures for the grandparents, and several wallet-size photos for mom and dad. Around the holidays, your local discount store or department store offers similar deals. You don't need to bother with them. You can do your own and save a bundle.
Use File, Print Layouts, Picture Package to open the dialog box. There's a menu in the Source area that lets you locate the photo you want to package, or you can use whatever's already open. Choose a paper size based on what your printer can handle. In Photoshop Elements 2, you have options for 10x16 and 11x17 paper as well as 8x10. Figure 22.29 shows the dialog box with a layout selected.
Figure 22.29. Portrait sizes, wallet sizes, even passport sizes ”what more could you want?
Label your photos, if you want to, with the name of the subject, your studio name and copyright notice, date, proof warning, or whatever else you want. Choose a font, size, color , and opacity for this type, and decide where on the page it should go. Unfortunately, you are limited to only a few fonts, most of which are more suitable for copyrighting or captioning than for adding an elegant title.
Set the resolution as appropriate for your printer, and click OK. Elements will assemble the package for you in a new file, just as it does with the contact sheets. When you're ready, save and/or print it.