Focus Stacking in Landscape Photos
If you like to get everything pin sharp in your landscapes, Focus Stacking is for you.
If you shoot low with foregrounds which are very close to the lens, then it can be hard to get the background AND the foreground pin sharp. Focussing 1/3 of the way into a scene if often recommended, or using a “hyperfocal” calculator app on your phone can give you the best focus distance for a given aperture and focal length.
Taking The Guesswork Out – Use Focus Stacking
Rather than struggle to work out the best F-Stop and where to focus, we can create a “focus stack”. This is where you take identical photos, but move the focus through the photo.
In our example from Ribblesdale, we focussed on the tree in one photo, and the bottom right rocks on the second image.
The easiest way to do this on a CANON (and most other brands) is to use LIVE VIEW where you can move your focus box around on screen with cursor keys.
- Put the focus box on the foreground, take a shot.
- Put the focus box on the middle ground, take a shot.
- Put the focus box on the background ground, take a shot.
You can take 2 or more – though with smaller apertures (F11 or F16) and wide angled lenses (10-28mm say), the depth of field rarely needs more than 2 shots.
These are the 2 photos – they’ve both been processed identically in Lightroom and exported as large files – ready for merging in PHOTOSHOP.
How To Stack
It’s surprisingly easy using PHOTOSHOP – there is a feature where you create a “stack”, then you merge the stack – and it’s done.
Here is a little video to show how it all works:-