How to Use Focus Stacking for the Sharpest Photos Possible

Landscape photographers often aim to get everything from the foreground of a scene to the most distant elements in focus. Focus stacking is one of the most effective ways to accomplish this, and this helpful video will show you how to use it for your own work.

Coming to you from Mark Denney, this great video will show you how to use focus stacking in Photoshop to create the sharpest possible images. Focus stacking is a common technique that uses multiple images with the same framing taken at different focal distances and blends them in post-processing to create a final image with a larger depth of field and better sharpness throughout. This helps you to avoid problems like diffraction, which seeps in when you use too narrow an aperture, and can give you better results than using just the hyperfocal distance, though this is sometimes a good compromise. Focus stacking is often effective when you have a foreground element you would like to show off in addition to a strong background. Check out the video above for the full rundown.

And if you really want to dive into landscape photography, check out "Photographing The World 1: Landscape Photography and Post-Processing with Elia Locardi." 

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Stuart Carver's picture

Focus stacking is a great tool but I’m starting to think clinically sharp front to back photos are starting to look more like screensavers than actual landscapes.

Krissa K's picture

Well, or, use tilt shift.

EL PIC's picture

Photo displayed as the cover is not sharp !!

Teemu Paukamainen's picture

And at least (the better) m4/3 cameras can do focus stacking already in camera so there's no need to waste time using any software.

Mike Sandman's picture

Thanks - very clear and as you said, very easy - no blending of layers by hand,

Fristen Lasten's picture

Excellent video. Thank you Mark.

Ted Merklin's picture

What a coincidence, I used a trip to the Superstition Mountains to try out this technique for the first time a few years ago.

Sam Hood's picture

Surely its better to edit the base images 1st in Lightroom so you are editing RAW files opposed to a flattened TIFF file, then apply focus stacking once your happy with the edit?

AF?? Why not MF and use Peaking and go through the stacking process?