Focus Stacking in Photoshop

_MG_3974-stackI enjoy using focus stacking to get sharper focus in my macro images. I have found Helicon Focus to be a very good way of combining images but thought I would try Photoshop CC’s method.

I started with 5 images of the same subject with the focus set on a different plane for each one. My camera was the Canon 5D with Tamron 180mm macro lens. Settings of 1/30 of a second and f/5.6 on a tripod.

Selected the 5 images in Lightroom… right clicked to Edit In > Open as Layers in Photoshop. Photoshop will open one file with each image as a separate layer. Now Edit > Auto-Align Layers (making sure you have all 5 highlighted).

For further blending use Edit > Auto-Blend Layers.

Then I Flattened the layers and made a duplicate of the final layer. To sharpen Filter > Other > High Pass and use a value that shows the edges of your subject and set the blend mode to Soft Light. That layer will be gray, no worry! Just flatten with the layer below.

Here’s another from 3 images:

_MG_4012 stack

6 thoughts on “Focus Stacking in Photoshop

  1. I tried this yesterday on a Peony. How did you get focus on different areas? Did you manually focus or move focus pt around?

    • Hi Sue,

      I always use Manual Focus when shooting close up. Just move your focus area a teeny bit for each of the shots to make sure you have everything in focus when they are all merged. Love peonies! Let me know (or send) the final image. Would love to see it.


  2. Ballet is great. I need to see how you layer these pictures. Are they exactly the same shot? Melissa

    Sent from my iPhone


    • Looking forward to the ballet… and we are going to roam around Artsplosure first downtown today.

      You take several photos refocusing for each so you have every part of the picture in sharp focus. Then the technique combines to use only the sharp parts of each… it’s magical! Glad to show you sometime.

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