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How to Stack Photos in Lightroom

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Lightroom stacking is a great way to help your workflow. Lightroom is already a fast and effective way to edit your images, but stacking makes the process faster by removing clutter from your work space temporarily.

To find out what Lightroom stacking is, and how to stack photos in Lightroom, read on.

a screenshot showing how to stack images in Lightroom

What Is ‘Stacking’ in Lightroom?

Stacking is something that I use for portraits or interior photography. It helps you sort out your images from one shoot, where differences occur.

With portrait photography, it might be a change in clothes or a different pose. With interior photography, I use Lightroom stacking to separate the different angles, or images from the same room.

It is basically a great sorting function. It happens in the preview bar at the bottom of the develop module. This is where you’ll find the thumbnails of the entire work load you brought into Lightoom.

Here, you select images, and ‘stack’ them, minimising hundreds of images into a little folder. This stack lets you know that there are many images enclosed within with the use of a clever icon design.

There is also a number attached, letting you know how many images you can find there.

a screenshot showing how to stack images in Lightroom

Why Is Stacking in Lightroom Helpful?

Let’s say that you just photographed a wedding and took over 1000 images. It could happen and often does. Especially with beginner photographers who are cautious not to miss any moments.

Those 1000 images go into Lightroom, where you make sure of keywords and tags to seperate them into specific topics. Scenes such as ‘wedding dress’ and ‘groomsmen’ are helpful, but what about that initial culling period.

This first step can be daunting as you sit infront of your computer and go through many images of the same types. What if you only need 40 images.

Stacking is a great way to process your images quickly. You’ll no doubt have many images of the bride and groom together, but you only need that magic one, super shot.

By stacking, you place similar images into a ‘bundle’. You can then go into this area and look through all the images of that one scene.

This stops you from going from images _0177, _3489 and _8945 trying to compare. All three images you need are there, allowing you to compare them easily.

You can stack across many different topics. As the choice is down to you, you can use it as you wish. The extra time you put in at the beginning will save you plenty of time in the future.

Especially when the Bride and Groom want to see the others as they don’t like the way their hair looks in your chosen shot.

There is no limit on how many images you can put into a stack. There is also no limit on the number of stacks you can make either.

a screenshot showing how to stack images in Lightroom

How to Stack Photos in Lightroom

Stacking the images is easy.

First, you want to consider the best way to stack the images you have. This might depend on a perspective, a camera used, or even a setting. Think about how which system is going to help you the most.

Head over to the Develop module. Make sure all images have been added from the shoot, as adding images to stacks is a little time consuming and complicated.

At the bottom, you’ll see all the thumbnails of the shoot. Select the images you want to add as a stack.

Hold down the Ctrl key (PC/Mac) while you select individual images. Use the Shift key (PC/MAC) to select a sequence of images.

While they are selected, right-click on one of the images and go to Stacking>Group Into Stack.

Editing and Adjusting

When working with stacks, it is important to know what happens when you edit or use adjustments when a stack is highlighted.

If you see the collapsed stack in the preview bar, adjustments or tags will only affect the top images. The other images in the stack will remain the same.

When in a stack, only individual images will be added to collections (either Quick or otherwise), not the entire stack.

a screenshot showing how to stack images in Lightroom

Expanding/Collapsing a Stack

To expand a stack, you need to right-click and choose Stack>Expand Stack. This allows you to see all the images in that bundle.

You can also click the number you see on the stack (relating to how many images sit inside) to expand it.

It is also possible to expend all stacks by clicking on Stacking>Expand All Stacks.

Collapsing a stack works in a similar way. Stacking > Collapse Stack does that for one, where as Stacking > Collapse All Stacks does it for all of them.

a screenshot showing how to stack images in Lightroom

Removing/Adding Images From/To a Stack

By removing an image from a stack, you keep it in the Lightroom Develop module. If you delete it, then it is removed from Lightroom all-together.

Photo>Stacking>Remove From Stack will remove images, where as Photo>Delete Photos will delete them.

To add images to an existing stack, you need to select the stack, and the images you want to include. Then go to Photo>Stacking>Group Into Stack.

a screenshot showing how to stack images in Lightroom

Unstacking Images

If you no longer want the images stacked, select the thumbnail of the stack, then choose Photo>Stacking >Unstack.

Why not check out our posts on how to Color Correct in Lightroom or best Lightroom sports presets next!

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