How to Use Lightroom's Stacks Feature

There are all sorts of hidden features in Adobe Lightroom.  One of my favorites is the “Stacks” feature.  We've only been using this feature for a few months now but it's really helped us keep our images in Lightroom more organized.  

What is the Stacks feature?

Think of the Stacks feature like you would a "stack" of anything--papers, books, logs, etc.--a way to save space by piling things vertically.  It works the same way in Lightroom, except you're stacking images in the Library module.

Why would I use the Stacks feature?

There are many scenarios where the Stacks feature really earns its keep.  For example, say you're a sports photographer and you have a burst of images from a split-second moment of a game.  Instead of having 10-15 frames taking up valuable horizontal space in the Library module, you can stack the selected images into one grid square.  

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Or, if you're a wedding photographer and you want to show your client two versions of the same image--one color and one black and white, as seen above--you can stack Virtual Copies of the images to save yourself valuable space in the Library module.

How do I use the Stacks feature?

The Stacks feature is incredibly simple to use.  Before the images can be stacked, they need to be grouped.  To group the images:

  1. Highlight the images you want to stack.
  2. Right-/Control-click the highlighted images and select Stacking > Group Into Stack.  (You can also click Photo > Stacking Group Into Stack or press Command-G).
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Now, the images are grouped and ready to be stacked.  To stack the images:

  1. Highlight the grouped images and Control-/Right-click Stacking > Collapse Stack.
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Now, the images are stacked on top of one another!

When you stack two or more images, you'll notice in the upper-right corner of the frame a white, boxed number.  This number indicates how many images are in the stack.

Photos are stacked according to their sort order, meaning the farthest-left image in the expanded group will be on top.

How do I see the images in the stack?

Expanding the stack of your images is simple.  Simply Control-/right-click on the stack and select Stacking > Expand Stack.  You can also click the numbered white box to expand the stack. 

What else can I do with Stacks?

Here's a list of the other commands and functionalities in the Stacking menu:

  • Unstack - Deletes the stack for the group of images.
  • Remove from Stack -- Removes selected image(s) from the stack.
  • Split Stack -- Splits a single stack into two stacks.
  • Expand Stack -- Expands the group of images in a stack.
  • Collapse All Stacks -- Collapses all stacks in your collection.
  • Expand All Stacks -- Expands all stacks in your collection.
  • Move to Top of Stack -- Moves a selected image to the top of the stack.
  • Move Up in Stack -- Moves a selected image up in the order of the stack.
  • Move Down in Stack -- Moves a selected image down in the order of the stack.
  • Auto Stack by Time Capture -- Automatically stacks photos based on their capture time

Good luck with using the Stacks feature!

If you need help with wedding photo editing, please contact us!