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Introducing SmartStack 2: Flambient Stacking, Restaging and Extended Exposure Range

James Campbell

Since the early 2000s taking multiple exposures has been the tool of choice for photographers wanting to extend the dynamic range of their photos and real estate has been no exception. Yet, one of the biggest bottlenecks has been organizing and grouping these exposures into individual shots or “stacks” as they are more commonly referred to.

This is a time consuming and laborious task quite often requiring the photographer to manually go one-by-one through each bracket and deciding which ones should be grouped together. This can quite obviously be error prone as even the most keen eyed individual can make the odd mistake. 

And those searching for an automated solution, often come up empty. With the only widely available option being the “Auto-Stack” feature in Lightroom Classic which groups brackets by the amount of time taken between each bracket or using a plugin such as Photomatix which allows you to specify the number of brackets to group into each stack.

Lightroom Classic

Both of these options can be inconsistent as photographers often opt not to use the automatic bracketing feature of the camera but instead create brackets manually, timed or with flash lights for “flambient” shots. All of which can cause the time between each shot to vary.

On top of this the photographer can vary the amount of brackets they shoot depending on the scene or even the specific camera they use.

This is why in 2021 Autoenhance introduced SmartStack, rather than relying on capture time, number of brackets or forcing the photographer back to manually grouping. Each bracket is visually compared, at near real-time, and automatically grouped.

Two years later we are excited to announce that we have launched SmartStack 2, with a new set of features to make automatically stacking your brackets even easier. In this blog post, we would love to highlight three new headline features.

Flambient Stacking

A common technique for high-end photography has been to expose the scene using flash lighting to enhance the final HDR image beyond what can be achieved just with exposures. This can create better lighting in the final image and make color cast removal much easier.

SmartStack 2 can now automatically detect if a photo is of the same scene but lit using a flash lighting and automatically create a stack combining both exposure and flash based brackets.


So you’ve taken your shot, but you didn’t quite like the way that magazine was lying on the table. Perhaps you even wanted to open the cupboard doors to give an example of what the interior looked like? SmartStack 2 can now intelligently detect when you’ve re-staged the scene.

Extended Exposure Range

If you like to shoot with large exposure value step sizes between your brackets or even a large number of brackets in dark or bright environments. SmartStack 2 is now able to correctly group these situations even when a bracket is almost-black or almost-white.

Performance and Release Date

Starting today everyone gets immediate access to these new features as part of SmartStack 2. Even if you can’t take advantage of them just yet then you will still benefit from an almost 50% speed up in the time it takes to process all of the stacks for your brackets.

In addition to this speed boost we will be launching incremental grouping in the near-future. This will allow you to start seeing stacks as they are detected instead of having to wait for all of your brackets to be processed. This cuts the initial time that you have to wait before you start seeing your edits by almost another 50%. We will provide more information at a later date.

I hope that you find these improvements useful and we at Autoenhance are excited to see how they will enhance your workflow.

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