Nikon home projects part 5: Macro shots and focus stacking

    By | Nikon DSLR Tips | Photography Tutorials | Tutorials | 14/05/2013 10:00am
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    Is the weather too bad for shooting outside? Are you looking for new photographic ideas that you can try at home with your Nikon D-SLR? Then why not follow our ten-part series of Nikon home projects?

    In part 5, we show you how to take macro shots with massive depth of field using a technique called ‘focus stacking’.

    Nikon home projects - focus stacking

    The fact is, it doesn’t matter how good your macro lens is or even how small your aperture is, when you’re working with extreme close-ups it’s difficult to create a deep enough depth of field to get your subject in focus from front to back. This toy car is a perfect example. Even at a small aperture, such as f/22, getting the front and back sharp in one shot is impossible – it simply won’t happen.

    There is, however, a cunning solution: if you take several shots (we’ve taken 15 in total for this image) with a different point of focus in each one you can easily combine them in Photoshop using Auto Blend Layers. Here’s how it’s done…

    01 Keep it steady

    A sturdy tripod is essential. You will have to touch the camera between shots, which increases the chances that it might move. Switch your exposure mode to manual so the exposure doesn’t change between shots.

    02 Fine focus

    Set the focus to manual and focus on the point closest to the camera that you want to appear sharp. Take the first shot. Move the focus ring so that the next part of the subject is sharp, then shoot. Work along the subject like this.

    03 A Bridge to Layers

    Open Adobe Bridge. Browse to your images. Select them all and go to Tools > Photoshop > Load Files into Photoshop Layers. It’s a good idea to process your RAW files and save them as JPEGs as this procedure is processor-heavy.

    04 Auto blend

    When your file is open in Photoshop, all the images will have been loaded into one document as Layers. To blend the sharp bits, go to Edit > Auto Blend, then in the dialog select Stack Images and check Seamless Tones and Colors.

    See also

    Nikon home projects part 1: Create amazing light trails
    Nikon home projects part 2: Capture smoke effects
    Nikon home projects part 3: Shoot a water splash!
    Nikon home projects part 4: Abstracts with oil 

    Posted on Tuesday, May 14th, 2013 at 10:00 am under Nikon DSLR Tips, Photography Tutorials, Tutorials. You can subscribe to comments.

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