How to Stack Images in Lightroom

By Tata Rossi 13 days ago, Lightroom Tips

The question of how to stack images in Lightroom comes to the mind of every user who stores a huge number of photos on their hard drive. Stacks represent an efficient method of managing a big photography folder that contains plenty of similar pictures.

By stacking photographs, you don’t make any changes to them, but rather introduce a better-optimized organization system. In this article, I’m going to tell you how to stack photos in Lightroom in manual and automatic modes and work with created stacks.

Standard Photo Staking Method

Stacking images in Lightroom is something that you can widely use for portrait photography or interior photography. It’s very useful for organizing your photographs that look similar or were taken within a single time frame.

When using the standard method in Lightroom, you remain in full control of the process and choose the photos you need, while in automatic mode, Lightroom stacks photos taken at a specific time by itself.

1. Creating a New Stack in Lightroom

how to stack images in lightroom

Pick the images you need to stack either in the Grid or Filmstrip sections of the Library tab. To do so, press and hold the SHIFT key and choose several adjoining photos or hold the Ctrl key and choose different pictures that aren’t next to each other.

photo stacking lightroom
  • Select Image > Stacking > Group into Stack.

The newly stacked images will be sorted contiguously and show their order number in the thumbnail’s upper edge. The top image is marked “1,” the second image “2,” etc. Congratulations, now you know how to stack images in Lightroom!

2. How to Ungroup a Stack

lightroom stacking

When in Grid or Filmstrip view of the Library tab, click on a collapsed stack or choose any image of an expanded stack.

unstack photos in lightroom

There’s no need to choose all the images contained within the stack.

  • Pick Image > Stacking > Unstack.

3. How to Add New Photos to a Stack

photo stacking lightroom

Go to the Grid or Filmstrip section of Lightroom’s Library tab. Choose the needed stack and the images you want to be added to it.

how to stack photos in lightroom
  • Choose Image > Stacking > Group into Stack.

Afterward, simply drag the new stack into the required album.

4. How to Expand and Collapse Stacks

You can expand a stack to see all the images it contains. On the flipside, collapsing a stack hides all the other photos behind the thumbnail of the top image. You can check the overall number of pictures contained in a stack by looking at the upper-left part of the thumbnail image.

expand stack photos in lightroom

Go to the Grid or Filmstrip part of the Library module and perform one of the photo stacking Lightroom actions listed below:

  • Expand a stack by right-clicking (Windows) or Control-clicking (Mac OS) a collapsed stack and picking Stacking > Expand Stack, or pressing the number shown in the upper part of the stack’s thumbnail. Alternatively, you can pick a collapsed stack and click Photo > Stacking > Expand Stack.
  • If you want to expand all stacks, right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) on an image and pick Stacking > Expand All Stacks, or choose a picture and click Photo > Stacking > Expand All Stacks.
collapse stacking images in lightroom
  • If you want to collapse a stack, right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) a stacked image and select Stacking > Collapse Stack, or press the stacking number in the thumbnail image. Alternatively, you can pick a stacked image and select Photo > Stacking > Collapse Stack.
  • To collapse all stacks, right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) an image and pick Stacking > Collapse All Stacks, or choose any image and select Photo > Stacking > Collapse All Stacks.

5. How to Remove or Delete Photos From a Stack

If you simply remove an image from the stack, it will still be stored in the Lightroom Classic library. Meanwhile, deleting the image allows you to make it disappear from both the stack and the library.

When selecting the “Delete Photos” function, the software also gives you the option to remove the image from your HDD completely.

remove stack photos in lightroom

When in Grid or Filmstrip view, expand the needed stack.

  • Pick one or multiple images from a stack and perform one of the two actions:
  • To remove an image from a stack, select Photo > Stacking > Remove from Stack.
  • To delete a picture from a stack, pick Photo > Delete Photos. Alternatively, you can right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) a thumbnail and select Delete Photo from the pop-up menu.

6. How to Rearrange Photos in a Stack

how to stack images in lightroom

Go to the Grid of Filmstrip section of the Library, select an image from an expanded stack and perform one of these Lightroom stacking actions:

  • To establish it as the top image, pick Photo > Stacking > Move to Top of Stack.
  • To assign it a lower number, press Shift-Left bracket, or pick Photo > Stacking > Move Up In Stack.
  • To assign a higher number, press Shift-Right bracket, or select Photo > Stacking > Move Down in Stack.

7. How to Split a Stack into Two Stacks

split stack photos in lightroom

You can group images contained in a stack into a new stack thanks to the Split Stack feature. Once split, the old stack is left with the remaining images that were grouped into the created stack.

  • Expand the needed stack in Filmstrip or Grid view.
  • Pick the images you’d like to group into a new stack.
  • Select Photo > Stacking > Split Stack.

Creating Automatic Stacks

Other than that, you can stack photos in Lightroom based on the time of the shoot automatically. All photos taken within a specified timeframe (from 1 second to 1 hour) are divided into separate groups.

For instance, if you’re traveling and taking photos of various landmarks and it takes about 30 minutes to walk from one place to another, you can set the duration in Lightroom to 20 minutes and receive separate stacks for each location.

how to stack images in lightroom automatic

The shorter the capture duration you set, the more stacks you will create as a result. Conversely, the longer the duration, the smaller the number of stacks you’ll have to deal with.

  • Pick a folder in the Folders section or a collection in the Collections section.
auto photo stacking lightroom by capture time

Lightroom Classic automatically stacks all images from a folder or collection without looking at which pictures are chosen in the content section or the Filmstrip.

  • Select Photo > Stacking > Auto-Stack by Capture Time.
  • In the Auto-Stack by Capture Time menu, move around the Time Between Stacks slider to determine the desired duration between capture times.
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