Join Justin Reznick for an in-depth discussion in this video Focus stacking using manual focus, part of Photography Tips: Overcoming Camera and Lens Limitations.
- In this movie we're going to do a focal blend of our still life here using manual focus. Now before we start, I want to point out another aspect that's really crucial. When you're changing your focus point in a scene and blending those or stacking them you are going to change the alignment of the image. And you'll see in post that in doing so you're going to lose the edges and so whenever we're framing a subject we always want to be a little bit wider than we normally would be. And this is one of the key things I think that gets forgotten in the field.
So make sure when you're doing a focal blend to always be a little bit wider because we're going to lose those edges and I'll show you that in post in a little bit. Alright, here we are. Settings are ISO 800. Again normally we'd be at a base of 100 but for speed purposes 800. We have an aperture of F8 and we're at a 13th of a second. Checking to make sure we're in manual mode, correct. Remember every exposure needs to be consistent. And now since we're manual focusing, we're not worried about back button, we don't have to worry about our flexible spot and moving it around the screen.
We simply take hold of the focus ring and we can move in and out using the focus ring. Now what I'm going to do, is I'm going to enable focus peaking, And focus peaking is just the coolest thing when it comes to doing focal blends. It makes it so simple and it's a feature that you find in a lot of mirrorless cameras. Here with the Sony A7R Mark ii, it's a feature that it just changes the game. And I'm going to show you how that works. So as we spin our focal ring to the left you're going to see the color red slowly move throughout the scene all the way until you get through to infinity in the background.
And basically what I'm going to do is I'm going to follow that red throughout and each time I get further as the red moves that's when I take another shot and so I'm able to see where the focus is based on the color red which is essentially highlighting where the high contrast elements are within the scene. Now I'm also going to use a really cool feature that is an application found in this camera and it's called touchless shutter. Now if you want to learn more about that application and others, definitely check out my course on optimizing Sony A7 cameras.
So again we're going to start until we just see the very first red. And right about there. So I've got the red on the outside of that first element and I'm going to go ahead and take a shot. But wait, always got to shoot the hand first. So let's put our hand out in front (camera shutter) and remember, hand so that when we bring it in light room we know exactly what images we're going to put together. Okay, we're ready for the first shot. (camera shutter) Okay and we're going to move on to the second one.
I'm spinning to the left and watching the red move further into the scene. (camera shutter) (camera shutter) (camera shutter) And we're just coming up to the rear section of the very first camera (camera shutter) and you can see it's going to take quite a few images. You know a common question I get is how many of these should I take, what is the focal blend, should it be three shots, five shots, more? Well it really depends on the scene. There's no right or wrong answer to this. (camera shutter) But what I would say is whenever you're doing these, take more than you think you need and what's really helping is the focus peaking.
I'm just following the color as it goes and as soon as it hits a new element, that's when I'm taking a picture. The more you do focal blends, the more you get a good feeling of how many (camera shutter) shots may be required. (camera shutter) Okay and one more. (camera shutter) That's the last bit of red and then of course we're going to shoot our hand (camera shutter) and we'll get to put those together in post. Now sometimes when you're in the field there's an issue of changing elements and it's important to work fast.
So I'm going to show you my speed work flow in the next movie.
- Focus stacking
- Post-processing a focus-stacked image in Photoshop or Helicon Focus
- Creating high-res panoramas in camera
- Editing panoramas in Photoshop
- Exposure blending for HDR images
- Editing and processing an exposure blend