Digital Photography Workflow – from shoot to Pdf Contact Sheet.

Hello everyone. I had some enquiries about sharing workflows using Lightroom, Photoshop and maybe Bridge as well. Hence I decided to share a tutorial on complete workflow from downloading your images from the memory card to your computer to making a selection for a Contact sheet or a pdf presentation in Lightroom, editing images in Photoshop and creating a pdf in Bridge.

First, we will start with downloading the images from a memory card onto the computer using Lightroom, I am using Lightroom 3 Beta to show you new exciting Import Dialog Box. There have been many changes and improvemens in Import feature and now it works much better and faster than before.

Import in Lightroom 3

Under Metadata Preset you can create your own Preset and apply it automatically to all the images upon import (ie. copyright info, your web address etc.).

After imporing images, go through images selecting the best images you want to use and create a new Collection. To create a new Collection, go to Collections Panel on the left side and click on the plus sign to create a new Collection.


When Create Collection dialog box opens, you will see “Include Selected Photos” option selected. That’s what we want so we can automatically include these images into our collection. Give your new collection a name and confirm it. This creates a new collection without copying your files anywhere. This just creates a link to your images which is a great feature of Lightroom.

Next, we will do some adjustments in Photoshop before we use Bridge. Select one of the images you want to edit, go to Photo menu -> Edit In -> Edit in Photoshop.


Once the image opens in Photoshop you can make some adjustments to the image and return to Lightroom. If you shoot raw, the image will open in 16Bit mode which is a huge advantage over Jpeg files which only work with 8Bit. After doing editing, the images can be saved as Psd files, Lightroom recognizes Psd as well.

Go back to Lightroom and export selected images to a folder on your computer. We are going to use this folder to create a pdf. To export the files, select the Collection we have just created. If you saved any files as psd, they should automatically appear in the collection.

With the collection selected, click on Export button in the left side panel (you need to select all the images before you do it) . I’m going to export them Jpg files as it is a perfect format for a pdf Contact Sheet and I will set Image Size to Resize to Fit to about 800px and a resolution of 72dpi. Click Export and we’re done in Lightroom.

Open Bridge, navigate to the folder with images and open Output Panel on the right.

bridgeNow set your options in the right panel for your pdf file and you’re ready to go. If you want to export is as a Contact Sheet, you would set Layout to number of columns and rows depending how many images you would have. I used 3 columns and 4 rows as I had 10 images. After selecting options for colours, sizes and header/footer, click Save… at the bottom of the panel and enjoy!

50 thoughts on “Digital Photography Workflow – from shoot to Pdf Contact Sheet.

  1. ive falling behind (missed a class) on digital workflow. Our instructions are to import photos to Bridge do a batch rename resize all images to be 8″x12″ @ 72ppi or @ 300ppi. Then need to make 1 or 2 contact sheets with all the images we took for given assignment
    4*5 (4rowsx5columns?) save in PDF files. Im looking for the proper order to do this workflow using Bridge and CS4. Can you help me?

    Many Thanks

  2. Hi Brian,

    Thank you for comment. I will create a tutorial with your challenge so keep an eye on the blog.

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    Hopefully you are on my Mailing list or join if you are not. I will be sending some more free videos and tutorials soon.

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