Focus Stacking For Landscape Photography

Focus stacking is a technique used during the act of capturing photographs and also while post processing a photograph.

During this process, the photograph is capturing multiple images using different focus points.  However, the exposure and focal length (zoom) remains the same.

Focus stacking is a digital image processing technique which combines multiple images taken at different focus distances to give a resulting image with a greater depth of field (DOF) than any of the individual source images. Focus stacking can be used in any situation where individual images have a very shallow depth of field; macro photography and optical microscopy are two typical examples.Wikipedia

Many times, the technique is used for macro photography.  In fact, Don Komarechka is a fantastic photographer who captures some of the best snowflake photographs I have ever seen.  Don uses the focus stacking technique for improved focus throughout the photographs.

I use focus stacking for some landscape and long exposure photographs.  Doing so allows me to capture a clearer photograph from near to far, and in some ways bring out a more realistic look and with a stunning depth of field.

The main reason I use focus stacking for landscape photography is because shallow depth of field can hurt a landscape photograph whereas deep depth of field works extremely well.

Focus Stacking Tutorial

As you can see, currently I use Photoshop for focus stacking. There are other software options out there, but none of which I already own aside from Photoshop.  My gut feeling is that companies like onOne Software will add the feature to their software.  Heck, focus stacking almost belongs in onOne’s Perfect Layers.  I could even see Adobe adding focus stacking into the Lightroom toolset.  Especially since once the layers are masked you don’t actually need to disable a layer (typically).  Time will tell though.

Until that happens, I still have a reason to open Photoshop.

Focus Stacking in Photoshop

Photoshop does make it fairly simple to create a focus stacked photograph.

  1. File >> Scripts >> Load Files Into Stack
    1. Load files or load from open
    2. Check to automatically align the source images
  2. Highlight all the layers
  3. Edit >> Auto-Blend Layers
    1. Select stack images
    2. Check seamless tones and colors
  4. Do any necessary cropping

focus stacking

The photograph above is an example of a focus stacked image. The same one you viewed in the video.

I hope to have an in the field video showing how I would frame and focus for this technique.

Thanks for reading and happy shooting,
Scott

PS. If you want to see another video on Focus Stacking, check out this one from Photofocus.

New Jersey Photographer

Thank you for reading the Scott Wyden Imagery blog. I am a Manalapan, New Jersey Photographer sharing my passion for photography any way I can. I am also the Community & Blog Wrangler at Photocrati, teaching other photographers on how to increase business with their website.

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