Focus Stacking with Photoshop and Elements

Focus stacking lets you extend the depth of field by combining multiple images, each each of the same scene, but with a different focus point.  Photoshop and Elements each have their own way of combining the multiple images into a single photograph.

Shooting the Image
Each of the images needs to line up with the others.  So the first step is to frame your shot using a tripod. Set your f-stop to around f8 or whatever your sharpest is. Set your camera to manual focus. Switching to Live View may make focusing easier. Focus on a spot close to the camera. Take the shot. Then take multiple shots, each one focused on a point further in to the subject.  How man shots do you need? It depends on the subject. Try focusing on each separate plane in the field of view.

Focus Stacking with Photoshop

  • Place each image on a separate layer.
    – Either do this manually by opening each image and copying it into a new layer on one image,    or…
    – In Bridge, select the images, and with all of the images highlighted, go to Tools>Photoshop>Load Files Into Photoshop Layers. This will load all of the images into separate layers in a signal image.
  • In Photoshop, go to Edit>Auto-Align Layers. This lines up all of the layers.
  • In Photoshop, go to Edit>Auto-Blend Layers
  • Select “Stack” and click okay

Focus Stacking with Photoshop Elements

  • Process all images in Camera Raw.
  • Open images in Elements
  • Click on Photo Bin (lower left corner)
  • Select two images
  • Go to Enhance>Photomerge>Photomerge Group Shot
  • Place one image in the Source window and one in the Final window
  • Select the Pencil Tool and follow the instructions and draw a border around the area in the Source window that you want to merge with the Final window.
  • Click Done.
  • If you have more than two images to merge, go to the Photo Bin, select the newly merged image and the next image in the sequence and repeat the Photomerge process.

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