OK, all you HDR fans out there using Lightroom – don’t you wish there was a better way to manage those multiple images that make up the one beautiful HDR image you’ve created? Well, here’s an idea – use Lightroom’s Stacking feature.
The Stack feature behaves just as the word describes. You select a number of images in Lightroom and “stack” them into a single pile. What shows on your screen is only the top-most image in the stack.
I’ve found this very useful for HDR where I will probably make multiple series of the same composition, varying the exposure or capturing the changing light. When back in light room I’m confronted with this view:
How to make sense of this? It’s obvious the composition is the same and there are changing exposures, but which images do I want to group into a HDR? And how do I connect the resulting HDR image with the images that were used to create it? Stacking!
After I look through this group of images and determine which ones I want to use to make an HDR, making a judgement based on the exposure range and exposure steps used, I’ll select five images that meet my needs for now:
I’ll send these images to my HDR software to generate the final image, which will return to my Lightroom screen when complete:
So now I have the final HDR image and the five images I used to create it. I’m not really interested in the five images anymore – I have what I want. But I don’t want to delete them in case I want to generate a new HDR image with different settings. But they are taking up screen space in Lightroom. Simple – I’ll put them in a stack, just as if I was stacking papers on my desk.
To do this, select the images to stack – here the five images I used but not the HDR image – by highlighting them and then from the menu click on Photo>Stacking>Group into Stack.
Or use the key shortcut Command-G (on a Mac). These five images are now stacked under the first image, which is the only one left showing, and there is a designation in the upper left of that image of how many other images are stacked below it.
To reopen the stack, simply click on the number in the upper left.
Now with this organization scheme I know that anytime I see a HDR image in Lightroom, right next to it will be the stack of images I used to create it. And I’ll have fewer images cluttering my screen. Ah, simplifying workflows. Now to use all that saved time back behind the camera!
Here is Adobe’s information on Stacks.