If you’re a photographer, you know how important it is to have a clear and organized overview of your photos. That’s where a contact sheet comes in. A contact sheet is a printed or digital document that displays all your photos in a single page or document. It helps you quickly browse through your photos to select the ones you want to keep and discard the ones you don’t want.

Creating a contact sheet may seem like a daunting task, but it’s actually quite simple! With the right tools and knowledge, you can easily create a contact sheet in no time. In this article, we’ll guide you through the step-by-step process of making a contact sheet so that you can make your workflow more efficient and organized!

How to Make a Contact Sheet: Step-by-Step Guide

Now that you know what a contact sheet is and why it’s important, let’s dive into the step-by-step process of creating one. Follow these simple tips to make your contact sheet effortlessly:

Step 1: Choose the Right Images

The first step in creating a contact sheet is selecting the images you want to include. Whether you’re a photographer or designer, go through your image library and select only the best photos that you want to showcase on your sheet. Aim for high-resolution images that are clear, bright, and perfectly shot.

Step 2: Organize Your Images

Organizing your images is just as important as selecting them. Arrange them in order by name, date, or any other identifiable factor. This helps you review them quickly and identify which photos you want to include on your final sheet.

Step 3: Decide on Sheet Size and Layout

Depending on your preference, you can make a contact sheet as small or large as you want. However, the most common size for contact sheets is 8.5” x 11”. As far as layout is concerned, you can decide on how many images you want per sheet, as well as the order and placement of those images.

Step 4: Create a Template

Creating a template is essential if you want to create consistent and professional-looking contact sheets. You can download and use an existing template or create a custom-made one that meets your needs. A good template will include space for images, titles, captions, and other relevant information.

Step 5: Use a Contact Sheet Software

To create your contact sheet quickly and efficiently, you can use a specialized software program such as Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom, or third-party apps such as Contact Sheet Creator or FastStone Image Viewer. These software programs offer various options and tools to help you create the perfect sheet.

Step 6: Edit Your Images

Before adding your images to the contact sheet, make sure they are edited and adjusted to look their best. Basic adjustments such as cropping, resizing, and color correction can make a big difference in how your final sheet looks.

Step 7: Add Borders and Text

Borders and text can help to make your sheet look more professional and polished. You can choose to add borders around your images to give them a consistent look, and you can add titles, captions, and other text elements to provide context and information about each photo.

Step 8: Preview Your Sheet

After adding all the necessary elements, it’s essential to preview your sheet before finalizing it. Check for any errors, misspellings, or formatting issues that could detract from the overall look and feel of the sheet.

Step 9: Save and Export Your Sheet

Once you’re satisfied with your contact sheet, it’s time to save and export it. Choose the file format you want to save it in, whether it’s PDF, JPEG, or another format. Make sure to save a copy for future reference and sharing.

Step 10: Share Your Contact Sheet

The final step in creating a contact sheet is to share it with others. You can print your sheet and share it physically, or you can share it online via email, social media platforms, or your website. Remember to include relevant information about the images on the sheet so that viewers can understand the context and importance of each photo.


Creating a contact sheet is a straightforward process that requires attention to detail and a bit of creativity. With the right tools and instructions, you can create professional-looking, visually stunning sheets that showcase your photography or design work. Follow these easy steps, experiment with different layouts and elements, and find the style that works best for you. With time and practice, you’ll be making stunning contact sheets in no time!

2. What Do You Need to Make a Contact Sheet?

Making a contact sheet is easy and requires just a few basic materials. Here’s everything you need to get started:

  1. Camera: You’ll need a camera to take photos, of course. You can use any type of camera, but a digital camera is the easiest option as you can easily transfer the photos to your computer.
  2. Computer: You’ll need a computer to download your photos and create your contact sheet. You can use any type of computer that has graphic design software installed.
  3. Graphic design software: You’ll need software such as Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom to create your contact sheet. If you don’t have these programs, there are several free alternatives available such as GIMP, Inkscape and Canva.
  4. Photos: Obviously, you’ll need some photos to include in your contact sheet. Gather all the photos you want to use before you start creating the sheet.
  5. Contact sheet template: You can create your own contact sheet template, or you can use a pre-designed template that is available online. Some software programs may even have built-in templates you can use.
  6. Printer: You’ll need a printer to print out your contact sheet once it’s complete. Any type of printer will work, but it’s important to make sure your printer is set up correctly beforehand.
  7. Printer paper: Choose the type of paper you want to print your contact sheet on. Regular printer paper is fine, but if you’re looking for a higher-quality look, consider using glossy paper.
  8. Scissors: You may need to trim your contact sheet to fit inside a portfolio or album, so a pair of scissors may come in handy.
  9. Binder or portfolio: Once you’ve printed and trimmed your contact sheet, you’ll need something to store it in.
  10. Patience: Making a contact sheet takes time, so be patient with yourself and enjoy the process.

Now that you have all the necessary materials, let’s move on to the next step: creating your contact sheet!

Choosing Your Layout and Printing Option

Now that you have selected and sorted your images, the next step is to choose the layout and printing option that works best for you. Here are some points to keep in mind:

Layout Options

There are several layout options available for contact sheets, depending on the size and number of images you want to include. Below are some of the most common layout options for contact sheets:

  • Standard layout: This layout typically includes 4 to 12 images per page, arranged in a basic grid with a small border around each image.
  • Mosaic layout: This layout can include up to 80 images per page, arranged in a mosaic pattern with varying image sizes and no borders.
  • Thumbnails layout: This layout can include up to 200 images per page, arranged as small thumbnail images with no borders.

Choosing a layout really depends on your individual needs and preferences. If you want to include more images per page, then a mosaic or thumbnail layout may be ideal. If you prefer a more traditional look, then a standard layout may be your best option.

Printing Options

When it comes to printing your contact sheet, there are a few different options available. Here are some factors to consider when choosing a printing option:

  • Home printer: If you have a high-quality photo printer at home, then printing your contact sheet yourself may be a great option. This will allow you to control the printing process and make any necessary adjustments to the images before printing.
  • Online printing services: There are numerous online services available that offer affordable and high-quality photo printing. These services often have a variety of paper and size options, so you can customize your contact sheet to fit your needs.
  • Local print shop: If you prefer to support local businesses, then a local print shop may be your best option. These shops often have the equipment and expertise to produce high-quality prints and can advise you on paper and size options.

Ultimately, the printing option you choose will depend on your budget and personal preference. Regardless of which option you choose, make sure to review the final product carefully before sharing it with others.

Final Thoughts

Creating a contact sheet can be a fun and useful way to organize and share your photos. With a little bit of planning and attention to detail, you can create a stunning contact sheet that showcases your photography skills. So take your time, experiment with different layouts and printing options, and have fun creating your own unique contact sheet!

Pros Cons
Printing your own contact sheets allows you to control the process and make any necessary adjustments to the images before printing. Home printers may not be able to handle larger format paper sizes, and the cost of ink and paper can add up over time.
Online printing services offer affordable and high-quality photo printing, with a variety of paper and size options. You may have to wait several days or even weeks to receive your prints, depending on the shipping options you select.
A local print shop can provide personalized advice on paper and size options, and may offer printing services that are not available online. Depending on the shop’s availability and workload, you may have to wait several days or weeks to receive your prints, and the cost may be higher than online options.

That’s It – Now You Know How to Create a Contact Sheet!

Congratulations on taking the first step towards creating a visually stunning portfolio to showcase your art! Making a contact sheet is relatively quick and straightforward, as you’ve seen. Don’t hesitate to experiment with different design layouts, font styles, and color palettes, as there’s no single perfect way to create one. Thanks for taking the time to read this guide, and I look forward to seeing you again. So keep creating and perfecting that portfolio – the world can’t wait to see what you’re capable of!