Lightroom: Make stacks Really Useful

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Many people have pointed out that stacks would be more useful if you could have stacks across collections, and I hope Adobe is working to make that happen.

But why stop there? I could envision stacks having even more useful features, such as stacks within stacks, the ability to put collections within stacks; stacks that search. I think there is a lot of untapped potential in stacks.
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  • hopeful

Posted 9 years ago

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Rob Cole

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I'm not sure what it means to put a collection within a stack, or a stack that searches. Would you mind elaborating?

I am definitely for nested stacks though... My original vision was just for two types of stacks: those that represent a single photo (what I call an atomic stack, e.g. to bind the tif that comes from an external edit to its original, or the components of an hdr or panorama...), and those that represent multiple photos. But, I like the way you think!...

I think you have the seeds of a good idea, but some clarification would be helpful...
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Julie Kmoch, Sr. Development Manager

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Photographe, can you give us some ideas of how you would expect to use stacks if they were allowed in collections? What types of photos would you group together?
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Beat Gossweiler

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Stacks not working in Collections is one of the major disadvantages in LR IMHO. I wouldn't go as far a Photographe to say that stacks in stacks should be possible, but stacks working within the same collections sure would be a step forward.

I often work out of a collection doing develop work, and sometimes go into external edit to do so. In this case, I'm not able to stack the original with the externally edited copy, which I would like to be able to do. Also, stacks spanning folders would be nice to have too, i.e. in the case you have a JPG and a Raw folder with related images.

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Sean Phillips

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Stacks in collections have all the same uses as stacks in folders, and more. I generally group all of the images from a particular category into collections and work on them from there, never going back to the folder. The fact that stacks don't work there, and even more so that stacks don't work from images across different folders (especially subfolders) drives me crazy.
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So let's say I'm throwing a submission together and have created a Collection of possible subjects. It'd be nice to go into that Collection and finish my work in one place. If I've found some duplicate or similar images maybe I'd like to stack them together. If an image I picked isn't the best of the subject for this use, but if I had a stack of all images of that subject, I could easily select a more appropriate one. While I'm there, if I had stacks of similar images, I could find some other appropriate images, again, without leaving the Collection. Once I whittled the collection down to images I want to submit, if I had my Master images stacked with their existing derivative images, I could grab an existing file to send in instead of having to export a new one.

I know some of this can be done with Collections, but it's already difficult to navigate a large number of Collections. Rob Cole's suggestion of having 'atomic' or single photo stacks, as well as multiple photo stacks, could help make some of the above possible.

Paul Wasserman
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I agree with Sean Phillips "group all of the images ... into collections and work on them from there ...". For me that seems to be a common workflow, recommended also by many people of the community and found in many books and online tutorials. Since stacks are not available in collections I run into trouble for example when developing an image in an external program (Photoshop) and afterwards the derivatives are not stackable with the "Master". This permanently leads to a messy workspace with a lot of similar versions of an image. (Just to name one use case)
I think it could be a basic feature for an effective workflow...

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Scott Mahn

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A separate but tangential idea would be the ability to right click an image and be offered to find the parent image, derivatives, images that share this image (such as focus stacks, HDR, panos, etc), or all of the above. And possibly turn those findings into a stack or collection.
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john beardsworth

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Julie, think about derivatives stored separately from originals (eg what Peter Krogh calls the bucket system). This would benefit greatly from stacking based on the image's database ID, and not on the limited folder + filename key as used now.

Thinking purely of stacking within collections, one could imagine showing the same set of images to two different clients or for two different projects and using stacking to hide the less-wanted images. Or again, a mixed collection of derivatives and originals.

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In addition to John's use, I often revist the same subject on different shoots (hence they the photos would be in different folders) and would find it useful to stack them together.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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See this topic for additional thoughts on stacks:

In addition to folders and collections, it would be great if stacking were viewable in the results of smart collections, since smart collections are the only way of doing advanced searches.
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Thank you for the link to the other FR re: stacks. A related point is that when I click on "All Photograph" and use the filter bar at the top, the stacks are invisible.

Here is another use for stacks within stacks: A lot of people, myself included, are shooting HDR panoramas. That means two or more exposures of each shot. It would be nice if the multiple exposures of each shot would be a stack, and all the stacks together would be put in a stack along with the finished product. So when one opens the "top" stack instead of a hopeless muddle consisting of possibly a few douzen images, one sees the building blocks that went into the final image.
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Rob Cole

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I've come to like the idea of replacing 'stacks' with "relationships". So you can select a group of photos and define/assign an "hdr" relationship to them. And that would not preclude them being in other relationships either (e.g. pano). And one could collapse or expand various relationships for viewing/editing purposes at will... So, one distinction is "relationships" *could* be nested, but would not have to be. i.e. hierarchical organization is just one possibility - user's choice...
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Apple got stacks right in Aperture. If Adobe took a look at their implementation it would be a great starting point. Having a "stack pick" and an "album pick" is just a genius idea and makes the stack/album system very powerful.
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Rob Cole

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A similar idea that evolved (read down a ways to see what it became):

A New Way Of Handling Groups of Related Photos:
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Marc Durocher

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A great idea for stacking.  If I create an HDR or PANO image from a collapsed stack of images, then the created image should be at the top of the stack, not outside the stack.  It would be a huge time saver.  Right now, you have to expand the stack and then drag the new image to the front of the stack every time