Focus Stacking Primer

Today’s Post by Mark Toal

I should know by now that as soon as I sneer at something I’m going to end up doing it. I’ve seen focus stacked images online for a few years and I just didn’t think it was for me. I don’t like things that take a lot of time to do or involve lots of steps to accomplish an effect. Focus stacking involves setting your camera on a tripod and taking a series of photos each focused at a different spot on the subject.

Before and after

Most recent digital cameras have focus peaking which assists you in manually focusing by highlighting the in focus area with a glowing color. For me this made manual focus much more possible for the first time since I used a film camera. For this example I shot 12 images starting with the focus on the very front of the flower and ending with the focus on the vase. I used a Lumix 30mm f/2.8 ASPH macro lens set to f/2.8 on a Panasonic GX8 on a tripod. I shot in Aperture priority with Auto ISO.

After I took the 12 images I imported the files into Lightroom. The video will show you the steps I took to combine the 12 images into one sharp image. For other videos that go into Focus Stacking in more depth, check YouTube and you will see how you can use it for everything from macro images to landscape photography.