How I Focus Stack

Let me ask you a question.

Have you ever been in the field shooting and seen an amazing landscape, taken a photo, and been so excited to get back to edit the photo only to realize that your foreground or background is ever so slightly out of focus?

Yeah, I’ve been there too and it’s one of the most depressing feelings you can have as a landscape photographer.

Every sunrise, sunset, and great waterfall scene only happens once. It will never be the same two times. That’s what makes landscape photography so mesmerizing, but it’s also what makes the importance of tack sharp focus so critical.

You may set up your camera at f/16 or somewhere around that to take in focus images, and that usually does a great job.

However, I recently found myself in a situation in Great Smoky Mountains National Park while I was shooting one of my favorite waterfalls in which my typical aperture setting of f/16 just wouldn’t do.

My composition was using trees on either side of the waterfall to frame the falls. The only problem was that at f/16, either the trees or the waterfall itself were out of focus.

Why?

Well, when you’re shooting extreme focal distances or objects that are really far apart, your focus can’t cover all of it. It happens the most with wide angle lenses, but can also happen with telephotos when using compositions like the scene I just described.

That’s when you use focus stacking to be sure everything is within focus.

Focus stacking is the process of taking multiple images with the same frame, but at different focal distances. Once you shoot the images in the field, you auto align and auto blend them in Photoshop to create a tack sharp photo.

This can be a real struggle to explain in a blog post, so while I was in the field, I recorded the entire process with the post processing work as well.

Before you watch, be sure to sign up for my newsletter at the top of this page so you never miss a photography tip again!

THE EDITING SOFTWARE I USE (LUMINAR 3) (USE CODE “DAVID” FOR $10 OFF)

THE GEAR I USE:
THE ONLY DRONE YOU'LL EVER NEED
MY DO-IT-ALL CAMERA
THE LENS I USE FOR ALL THE ZOOMS
MY FAVORITE LENS EVER
MY TRUSTY TRIPOD SIDEKICK
MY OVERNIGHT CAMERA BAG
THE DAY PACK I USE
THE MIC I USE FOR CRISPY AUDIO
MY COMPUTER (NOT A MAC)

DISCLAIMER: This video and description contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission. This helps support the channel and allows us to continue to make videos like this. Thank you for the support!

David JohnstonComment