Monday, April 29, 2013

Numbered Stacking, is great BUT…

I often take a number photos, in a specific set, usually bracketed groups of +/- EV settings, or adjacent & overlapping images for panorama stitching, etc. These can clutter and overwhelm your grid view or film strip. Light room has a great feature called stacking (it has been around since LR3 days) that lets you, hide the rest of the series behind the first image. It works a lot like having a set of photos underneath the first photo (normally the first photo taken, although it is possible to select the photo you want to be on top of the stack. The photo stack are identified in the library model and grid view by two vertical lines on each side of the photo. Clicking on either line will expand the stack, click on the vertical bar again with close the stack, The short cuts for this is S to open the stack (and once the stack is open press S again to close it). There are a few more stacking options under the menu item Photo/Stacking.imageI use this feature a lot and couldn't help noticing a very nice new way the stacks are displayed in LR5b (that's lightroom 5 beta). The stacks now have a small stack icon displayed (the icon is simple overlapping rectangles with the number inside the inner rectangle) at the upper left which shows you the number of photos in the stack. This is much more obvious than the two vertical lines (which are still there) and because I know what it is I usually leave the stacks compact. The problem at the moment is if I am showing others my recently loaded photos, they are immediately inquisitive and expand the stacks, or  want me to expand each stack. So I got to wondering was it possible to toggle off the stack numbering (and I can't find a way to do it) Then I realised it would be wonderful to be able to flag these boxes with colour (or a different shapes) to differentiate the type of stacked images, (eg HDR set, stitched panorama, group photos). Oh that’s right lightroom doesn’t yet support any form of photo merger (yet!)!
So here are a couple of interim solutions that work fine for me.
  1. I must remember only show others my lightroom collections (not original folders) so they only get distracted by what I want to show them.
  2. I have started to use the colour flagging to identify what are bracketed EV ranges (red) versus overlapping images for stitch panoramas (green)
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