What’s focus stacking? – Photofocus

If you purchase a quick lens with a vivid aperture, like f/1.8, you go loopy making pictures with a super-shallow depth of discipline. You {photograph} flowers the place just one stamen is in focus, and also you shoot individuals with tremendous blurry backgrounds, and it’s plenty of enjoyable utilizing the skinny slice of focus.

Nevertheless, there are various instances when that skinny slice simply doesn’t lower it. Typically you simply want all the things in focus, and even should you cease right down to the lens’s smallest aperture you continue to might not be capable of get all the things in sharp focus. That’s the place focus stacking is available in.

What’s focus stacking?

Focus stacking is the method of creating a number of photos of a scene whereas altering the main target between photographs after which combining them in software program to get a pointy picture of the entire scene. It’s typically utilized in close-up pictures as a result of whenever you focus near a topic the depth of discipline could be very shallow even should you use a small aperture.

That is an exaggerated instance, but it surely demonstrates the purpose. My children and I made photos of their toy vehicles. That is what the picture appears like when it’s shot at f/1.2 with a really shallow slice of focus.

It’s cool, but it surely’s not what you see whenever you have a look at a toy automobile.

Shoot & shift, shoot & shift

Focus stacking requires a very secure platform — if there’s any motion, the photographs received’t line up nicely. I used a Platypod Extremely (B&H | Amazon) with Vanguard Veo ball head (B&H | Amazon) to carry my digital camera regular. I added the rubber pad that comes with the multi-accessory package as a result of the desk was so clean that the Platypod moved round every time I fired the shutter. The pad made the entire thing rock regular and immovable.

To make this image all in focus, you need to deal with the closest a part of the automobile, then change your digital camera to handbook focus. Shoot an image, then flip the main target ring on the lens slightly bit to focus farther away and shoot once more. Maintain doing that till you’ve photographed the entire thing at each distance. This takes endurance, but it surely’s a enjoyable device to maintain in your package.

Lumix enables you to cheat

I ought to admit that I cheated to make the image above. Lumix cameras have a characteristic known as Put up Focus which shoots the main target stack for you robotically and even combines all of the pictures robotically within the digital camera. The photographs above are all straight from my GH5 digital camera (B&H | Amazon), and it’s fairly good.

The digital camera robotically senses which areas of the body must be targeted on and shoots an image at each spot. It makes use of the 6K video capabilities to get it performed, and it’s cool. Then you may select to both mix all the pictures collectively or select a handful of them to mix. It doesn’t all the time look this good — it could have some hinky spots of blurry focus, but it surely’s a tremendous device and actually enjoyable to make use of. I’ll present you the way easy it’s to do in Photoshop down beneath.

Behind the scenes

For these photos, the vehicles and digital camera are sitting on the kitchen desk. I positioned a softbox with a steady gentle (B&H | Amazon) immediately over the vehicles. Transferring the sunshine up and down makes it kind of contrasty. When it’s down very near the desk, the background behind the vehicles that isn’t lit turns into black, which is a enjoyable impact.

What’s extra, that is the form of factor children can take part in. Since I used a steady gentle as an alternative of a speedlight or different flash, my daughter might see precisely what the image appeared like earlier than capturing which helped her pose the vehicles in precisely the appropriate spots.

Stack in Photoshop

Stacking the pictures collectively in Photoshop is absolutely easy as a result of Photoshop automates the method. There are different instruments on the market that do focus stacking higher than Photoshop, however I’ve Photoshop in order that’s what I’m utilizing. To get began, open all of the pictures out of your stack as layers in a single Photoshop doc.

Subsequent, choose all of the layers and go to the Edit menu and select Auto-Mix Layers. The choose the Stack Pictures possibility and press OK. Now simply wait a couple of minutes. Photoshop will mix all of it collectively. If that you must make changes, you need to use a black and white paintbrush to work on mixing the Adjustment Layers slightly higher.

Right here’s the consequence from Photoshop.

I’m not an professional at focus stacking, however I do dabble in it. I feel should you give it a strive you’ll discover plenty of instances when it could be a great tool. My private problem is to make use of it for stuff that’s not close-up. I might use this to {photograph} a panorama utilizing a wider and sharper aperture after which mix the pictures to get deep focus. I’ll let you know the way it goes.