Here’s a Focus Stacking Guide to Great Macro Photography

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Macro photography can be one of the most arduous things to capture requiring lots of gear and patience, but luckily ePhotoZine.tv photographer Peter Bargh is here to teach about a simpler solution called focus stacking. Similar to stitching together a panorama except on a micro-scale where shooters will take multiple shots of the same object at different focusing distances. Effectively this combines frames with different parts of the subject in focus to produce one highly detailed picture–which also prevents diffraction when your lens is stopped down too far.

Bargh starts off the video explaining the pitfalls of using the smallest aperture when lenses designed to shoot best at f8. Using a miniscule aperture also means you’ll need a tripod to keep the camera steady for long shutter speeds or invest in a ring light, which can introduce unwanted light streaks. As Bargh highlights going with a wider aperture also allows bokeh to invade most of the frame.

This is where focus stacking comes to save the day. All shooters have to do is keep the camera steady with a tripod or in hand whilst they take multiple images of the subject at different focusing distances. Once users have the images they can migrate the images over to piece of software. There are a few programs that will stitch together images including Zerene Stacker and Photoshop, but Bargh suggests Helicon Focus as the best paid solution.

The video is admittedly somewhat dated but the advice Bargh gives is timeless and still useful to this day. Check it out past the break.

 

Kevin Lee

Kevin Lee is a freelance journalist and photographer based in Brooklyn.