There is a great technique called “focus stacking” that allows you to combine multiple photos to achieve a larger depth of field than possible with one shot. This technique works great with product and landscape photography. You must shoot on a tripod so that the frames all align, and I have always utilized matching manual exposures (same exposure on each image). In my case study, I photographed a 1″ piano that is going to auction. To photograph such a small piece requires a macro lens and with my 100mm macro lens, the depth of focus is really shallow, impossible to get the entire piece in focus with one shot. The shot above, is the final result of 9 images, all take from a tripod, matching exposures, but slightly different focus points.
In my first image (shown below) I started my focus point at the closest corner of the piano. Notice the depth of focus across the whole image, only the front corner is in focus. My subsequent shots, I focused further and further down the piano, until my final photograph had the back leg in focus. I did not post the other 8 images so as not to clutter up the page.
Then I merged the images in photoshop with the following actions:
File > Automate > Photomerge (browse and select your images)
– Layout > Auto
– Uncheck Blend Images, vignette, geometric
Select All Layers in layers palette
Edit > Auto Blend Layers > Stack Images
– leave seamless tones and colors checked.
That’s it. You can then leave the layers as masks or flatten the image. In this case I flatten the layers and then extract the background and add a shadow to give the photo a little extra love. You can use any number of images in a stack. I definitely did not create this technique, but picked it up along my photography journey and thought you would benefit from it as well. Let me know if you have success with this technique.
Visit my architectural and product photography website for more portfolio samples.