How to Focus Stack with Thomas Heaton

Landscape photographer Thomas Heaton has been releasing one hit after another on his Youtube channel lately and his newest video is one of my favorites. Focus stacking is a great and relatively simple trick any photographer can use to add a unique look to your images. 

If you're not familiar with the technique focus stacking or focus blending as I learned it, it is a super useful creative tool that can be used in a variety of ways. Typically it involves shooting multiple images each with a different point of focus so that when combined in post you get a final image with a greater depth of field than can be achieved with any single shot. There is lots of software out there that can be used to achieve this but in a lot of situations, it's not that difficult to learn.

The best part of Heaton's tutorial is that he does his edits first in Lightroom. This gives you a quick look into how he processes his images for more dynamic range and color. Then he moves all the images to Photoshop for the stacking process. Focus stacking can be used for all kinds of photography, not just landscapes like in Heaton's example. I first learned the technique doing macro images of medical equipment in a clean room. For a lot of macro work, focus stacking is essential. However, I've seen amazing portraits and even sports images use the technique successfully. If you're looking to separate your images from the crowd or try something new then check out Heaton's video. 

If you're already using focus stacking share your examples in the comments. 

[via Thomas Heaton]

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1 Comment
Glenda Cherry's picture

I used Photoshop's Photomerge to focus-stack 3 images for this ... I was surprised at how well it worked!