I’m a professional photographer and in the old days, I’d share sets of photos with clients by sending them proof sheets, a single print that would have ten or more thumbnails on it. Now I’m working digital and there’s a lot I like about the change, but I haven’t figured out how to create PDF proof sheets or contact sheets to send to clients. What’s the easiest way to do this in Aperture?
I can’t believe you’re only just getting around to digital. I mean, yes, film still has a warmer tone and finer details than all but the most expensive pro digital cameras, but the median performance of a digital SLR has long since put it in the same basic range, and most of the pros I know have switched to an all-digital existence and completely stopped buying all those darn chemicals.
Aperture definitely has support for creating proof sheets, but if you want to have them as PDFs it’s a bit more convoluted than if you just want to send the sheet of prints to your color or photo printer. It’s odd, really, because so many photographers now are just working online, not intending to have other than the most exceptional of photos ever make it into print.
Here’s how I do it…
Go into your current project and select all the images you want to include in your proof sheet. To select more than one you can click-drag to define a region: everything in that region will be selected. Add additional with Cmd-Click rather than just a regular click.
You can see I’ve only selected one in the above image. To select everything, I choose Cmd-A (or you could use File -> Select All), then select “Print Images…” from the File menu:
Now you’ll be in the print setup window, which has a lot of things to notice:
Most importantly, on the top left one of the presets is “Contact Sheet”. Click on it.
On the lower left you can adjust the number of rows and columns on the sheet to get thumbnails that are large enough to be inspected but small enough so you can fit a lot on each page. We also want to add some metadata, so click on the “Metadata View” menu:
I like to add filenames so it’s easy for people to tell me what pictures they want, which you can accomplish with “Name Only”.
Tweak the preview to your heart’s content, then click on “Print” on the lower right. This is where it’s a bit confusing, actually, but don’t worry, there’s another print dialog hiding behind that button.
When it shows up, you’ll see the familiar elements:
The trick here is to click on “PDF” on the lower left, which brings up a menu of output options:
If you’re guessing that “Save as PDF…” is a good choice, you’d be right. Do so and Aperture will prompt you for the name and destination folder for the new proof sheet:
In this case, I’ve called it “lego proof sheet.pdf” and saved it on my Desktop. When I’m done there it is, sitting on my desktop:
That’s all there is to creating a PDF proof sheet in Aperture. I realize it looks complicated, but with a bit of practice you’ll find you can fine tune and produce PDF contact sheets in seconds, ready to email to clients as necessary.