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Focus Stacking in Photoshop: How to Get Pin Sharp Macro Shots.



The HDR trend has come and, for many, gone, but what came of it is the easy-to-digest concept that creating one photograph may actually require several images, then blend them together. For HDR photography it’s the need of multiple exposures to compensate for what a digital sensor cannot do on it’s own – properly expose both highlights and lowlights in an wide range photograph without sacrifice. With the same concept, focus stacking is also possible.

Like HDR, focus stacking comprises of two main components; series of photos of the same subject and some creative post processing. That’s about where the similarity ends.

What Exactly is Focus Stacking?
Focus stacking is taking multiple photos at the same exposure but at different focal lengths and is best applied for macro photography. A longer focal length lens and a very shallow depth of field result in a pinpoint focal plane and often leave crucial elements of the image slightly soft. While very desirable, it can often result in less than stellar photographs. A great example of a macro photograph that could benefit from focus stacking is this one:

One problem photographers face when focusing on objects extremely close to the camera’s lens is the depth of field can become quite shallow. Even if you shoot at f22, your lens simply can’t keep everything from 1 foot to infinity sharp and in focus.

Gavin Hoey has released an incredibly helpful tutorial on how you can use “image stacking” in photoshop to create images that have much more depth of field than normal. If you are a landscape photographer or shoot tricky subjects like interiors or macro still life, stacking images for maximum sharpness can be a lifesaver.


You also might want to check out our past post: How to achieve the Brenizer Method Effect by clicking here.

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