Batch Processing in Photoshop


When we received this order of 1,000 + 3×4 collect prints laid out 2-up on a 4×6 print, we had to ask how the client how she did it!

We contacted Heather – who come to find out, is a font designer at The Lilypad – Check out her shop!

Heather documented 3 years of her life in the Collect Photo App (avail for iPhone only). She also came up with a quick and easy batch processing workflow to save money by laying out 2 3×4 files on one 4×6 print. Heather has been generous enough to share her strategy…

PLEASE NOTE: This tutorial is for photoshop users. Batch processing 2 3×4 images onto one 4×6 format will work with any 3×4 formatted file. Persnickety Prints uses the Collect Photo App for personal memory keeping, but is not affiliated. Please direct any questions about the app itself to the Collect team.

1. Organize Photos

I use Aperture to organize my photos. The first thing I did was change the version name to be year-month-date so I could browse through everything easy peasy. I rated my photo for each day with 3 stars (mostly because this star number does not get used often during other organizing).

2. Collect Photos for Transfer to iPhone

I searched for all my three star photos, selected them, then transferred created a Photo Stream for the year.

3. Caption Photos in CollectApp

I then started to caption everything in Collect. Tap the date. Choose the photo. Search for photo in photo stream. (I kept Aperture handy and open so I could peek at the day I was looking for. It was like a built in cheat sheet.) I gave the photo a small caption. Some events deserve more attention, and they will get separate journal cards or inserts, so just a touch of a caption.

4. Export Photos from the CollectApp

Then the time came to export the images. Pay for the App. The trial/free version will NOT export a print ready file. Set the export size to 3×4. Make sure the bleed option is on. Wait for the process to finish. Then import the 3x4s into your computer. (I took a break from the process and got a second set of eyes on the cards. I enlisted upon some family and friends to check for spelling and typos. I recommend a private Facebook album so they can comment on the photos and you will have all the feedback in one place.) Annette Haring has an additional detailed video tutorial here.

5. Gather Photos for Photoshop

First I gathered the photos by month to make sure they were all there. And there were no duplicates. And all the corrections were the final ones. I made a duplicate of the folder and threw all the photos in without any monthly sub folders.

6. Merge 3×4 Cards in Photoshop with a Contact Sheet & Save using a Batch Action

I’m a Photoshop CS6 user and found the easiest thing would be to create a contact sheet.

Here’s How!
Video tutorial and a list of steps:

[tabs style=”default” title=”BATCH PROCESS IN PHOTOSHOP”] [tab title=”CONTACT SHEET”]

Contact Sheet

1. Open Photoshop
2. Click File
3. Go to Automate.
4. Click Contact Sheet II
5. Under Source Images, use Folder.
6. Click Choose
7. Navigate to the Folder that is holding your images.
8. Click Open
9. Make sure the Document settings are as Follows:
Units are set to inches,
Width is 6,
Height is 4, and
Resolution is 300.
10. Make sure the Thumbnails settings are:
Place across first,
Columns 2, and
Rows 1.
11. Click Ok.
12. Wait while the magic happens.
13. Then you are done.

[/tab] [tab title=”RECORD AN ACTION”]

Record an Action

1. Open Actions
2. Create a New Action
3. Title it.
4. Click Record
5. Click File
6. Click Save As.
7. Make sure you are in the location you want to save in.
8. If not, create a New Folder.
9. Title It.
10. Click Create.
11. Change the Format to JPEG.
12. Click Save.
13. Set your preferred quality preference.
14. Click OK.
15. Click File.
16. Click Close Window.
17. Or Command W.
18. Click Don’t Save.
19. Click the Stop Button.

[/tab] [tab title=”BATCH PROCESS”]

Run a Batch Process

1. Click File
2. Go to Automate.
3. Click Batch.
4. Set will be the folder that holds the action.
5. Then select the Action.
6. Set Source to Opened Files.
7. Then Click OK.
8. A little more magic.
9. Then it’s done.
10. Check the folder and all your images should be there.

[/tab] [tab title=”AUTOMATOR”]

Change Names in Automator (Optional)

1. Double Click on the Hard Drive.
2. Click Applications.
3. Double Click Automator
4. Select Workflow.
5. Click Choose.
6. Under Library select Files and Folders.
7. Drag Rename Finder Items into the Workflow Window.
8. Change the option to Make Sequential.
9. Change Add Number to New Name.
10. Type the name.
11. Choose how many digits long you want the numbers to be.
12. Open the folder with your images.
13. Select them all.
14. Drag the images and drop them above rename action.
15. Click back into Automator.
16. Click Run.
17. Done.


Upload Photos to Persnickety Prints! Photos arrive at your door in a few days! (4×6 prints will not be cut in half unless requested)



printing3x4_collectapp_cIGphotoThey’re now organized into my Project Life Design F Page Protectors. To see more of my final project, check my Instagram feed @talktoheather


Hope this tutorial helps!

     ♥ Heather

Tell us what you think!

  1. Great tutorial, but the Persnickety Cart/Checkout crash when I try to order over 300 photos. When will this problem be fixed? Thanks!

    • 300 photos is prob timing out depending on your wifi connection. Our developers have changed the upload to be the first step. You’ll be able to upload in batches. Waiting for Apple to release the update! Thanks for your patience!

  2. Did Heather ever get back to you with an action for this using PSE? I would love to try this to order my photos!

    • Hi Jude,
      I figured out how to do it in PSE. :)
      Give it a try and let me know how it works out for you. As a reference I have PSE 11.

      1. Open Photoshop
      2. Click File
      4. Click Contact Sheet II
      5. Under Source Images, use Folder.
      6. Click Choose
      7. Navigate to the Folder that is holding your images. *Might want to create a new folder for each month going forward
      8. Click Open
      9. Make sure the Document settings are as Follows:
      Units are set to inches,
      Width is 6,
      Height is 4, and
      Resolution is 300.
      10. Make sure the Thumbnails settings are:
      Place across first,Columns 2, and Rows 1.
      11. Click Ok.
      12. Uncheck “Use Filename as Caption”
      13. Wait while the magic happens.
      14. Then you are done.

      Once you have all your photos on the contact sheets, go to File > Process Multiple Files.
      You want to make sure the following settings are made.
      1. Process files from: Opened Files
      2. Point your destination folder you want the new 4×6 photos in.
      3. Make sure the Rename files field is checked and use whatever naming convention works for your process
      4. Make sure the Convert files to field is changed to JPEG Max Quality
      5. Click ok

      I hope that helps. Please let me know if it works for you! :)


  3. I have 100 photos to print from the Collect app. Before I send for printing, I need to ask a question: Will I lose quality by sending each Collect photo individually to Flickr, then to Persnickety for printing? I do not have ios7 (because of memory limitations on phone) so I do not have the latest version of Collect. I do have the paid version though. I have been been sending each individual photo daily from Collect to Flickr. I linked my Flickr to my Persnickety account. I am not able to bulk export to camera roll (memory issue) so I am worried about the quality of my prints because I circumvent the steps from Heather’s tutorial (bulk export, and add print bleed).

    • Good question Sabrina! Let’s try it- if they’re low resolution, we’ll catch it.
      You can also check the pixel dimensions in photoshop if you’re worried. 1200 pixels would be sufficient.

  4. This is so great. One question: I’m confused about bleed. I saw a recommendation to use Wendy’s action to submit in bleed size 4.25 x 6.25. But these instructions just indicate 4×6 and they came out perfect. What am I missing, when do you add the larger bleed size?

    • Hi Lori! Thanks for your concern about bleed. Bleed is so confusing! Our job on the print side is so difficult when there isn’t “bleed”. To be safe- as long as the ratio’s are correct (a 4.25×6.25 and a 4×6 are the same ratio) AND you leave a decent amount of space away from the edges (in this case the card background is white:) you’re ok! The Collect Card background are all white (yay!) which makes it easy for us to adjust.

  5. Thanks for the great tutorial! I was able to create the contact sheet, but since i’m using PSE11 I am unable to record the action. Any ideas on how i could automate the process of saving all of these files???

  6. Love this!! I love the tutorial but only have PS Elements. Any suggestions for how one might make a contact sheet in PSE?

  7. This is awesome! Thanks for sharing your process. I already use the Collect App, but have been dreading the process of combining the two 3×4 images onto one 4×6 sheet for a gazillion pictures. You just made my day for showing me how to automate that process. I can’t thank you enough! I also never thought about going back to previous years and “running them through the Collect app”. May have to try that too. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!