A client of mine asked me this week how to use image focus stacking in photoshop. Admittedly it's something I tried to avoid up until now as it's a technique filed into my brain as being too complicated. I have tended to take what I considered the easier options of standing back further and increasing depth of field to get all objects within my composition in sharp focus. This would then invariably result in me spending a long time in photoshop using other complex editing techniques to achieve my desired effect.
So I got thinking that maybe I too should face my fears and consider using Focus stacking myself. I was amazed to find that It's really not as complex as I thought it would be.
So what are the benefits?
With Macro/Close up photography it's not always possible to get everything in sharp focus within your composition. This is due to the limitations of the depth of field within the lens. The result is an either/or scenario similar to these two images below.
So how do you go about using Focus stacking??
Step 1 - Set your camera up on a tripod with single point focus. Then take a series images moving the focal point each time until you have captured a sharp shot of each component in your composition.
You should have two or more images looking something similar to the two above.
Step 2 - Import all the images as layers into photoshop. Using the auto-align and then auto-blend options you can stack the images so that only the sharp parts of each image are highlighted. You should end up with something which looks like my image below.
Step 3 - Flatten out your layers and continue with any additional editing as normal.
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Images on this page were taken with Sigma 105 mm Macros Lens. Canon 7D mk2 body, ISO 100, f3.2, 1/20 sec shutter speed.