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Focus Stacking Photoshop Tutorial

This is one of a series of articles exploring the advances in technology within the photographic world.

This guide has been created using Photoshop. For dedicated stacking software simply load the images into the program and click the button to combine the images.  It’s as easy as that.

In order to get the incredible detail of an extreme macro, the subject has to be photographed at the widest aperture possible. This leads to a very narrow depth of field. (What’s in focus).  In order to get a photo of this insect sharp throughout the frame, it’s necessary to take a series of photographs focusing on different parts of the subject through out the frame.

Here is a slide show showing the different focusing points throughout the stacking.

In all stacking software the first task to do is to load all the images into the stacking programme.  In Photoshop they will be shown at the top of the editing screen.

The photos need to be converted to layers in a newly created image.  This is done by selecting File > Automate > PhotoMerge.

These layers now need to be highlighted ready for stacking and blending.

Do this by holding down the shift key and clicking the last layer.

The next step is to select ‘Edit’ > Auto-blend Layers.


This will produce this dialog box with the option to stack images automatically.  

If the panorama option is selected, it will because the ‘Blend Images Together‘ option was left checked.

Click OK.

The completed image will appear.  


Flatten the image to one layer by right clicking the mouse over the highlighted layers and selecting ‘Flatten Image’.
There will be some areas around the edge of the image that are blank.

Crop for effect, save and reduce for purpose. Ie either printing or showing on the Web

Remember, any reduced image will lose definition.  Sharpen to recover the loss.

I hope this has been of some help.

This will generate this dialog box.  

The box will be empty when it first appears.  The option ‘Blend Images Together’ will be checked by default.  UNCHECK IT!!  

Step by Step Guide to Photo Stacking

Select ‘Add open Files’ and click OK

 This will then convert the open images to layers in a new file, ready to be stacked and merged.  (See below).