TableTop Photography With Focus Stacking For Detail & Depth of Field

It is getting colder outside and not a lot of interesting subjects to photograph. When I was out photographing during the year, I look for interesting objects & props for subjects in my little indoor studio for the colder & snowy months. I also have a series of prepared 13 x 19 or larger backgrounds I have designed in Photoshop and printed on a heavyweight Luster Photo media. This gives me stock backgrounds ready to use for my “still life” shots. I print at the highest print setting to minimize the inkjet dot pattern in the prints, which only really might show up in very close macro shots. For this series, I used a set of 400 watt second monolights with softboxes for overall lighting. The images here are shot with a 100mm macro lens with 3 to 8 different focused area shots for each main image. Then put those shots into 1 layered Photoshop file for each of the different still life layered setups. Next I used Photoshop to “Focus Stack” and align those layers. I then used Photoshop to blend the sharpest sections of each of the layers below into one final top layer with the sharpest areas from those below. By shooting a variety of sharp focus points across your image, you “pick and choose” your areas you want sharp, or areas you want to de-emphasize by softening that area. In the “Old Days” I would have used view cameras with swings & tilts to maximize sharpness across the image. Or purposely throw off sharpness for soft out of focus areas that your eye then goes to the sharp in focus area that draws your attention to a certain spot in the image. All images in this series were photographed with a Canon 100mm f/ 2.8 macro lens.

Feathers_100mm v3Macro 100mm 2img pano_v2_f18Feather 10- 3img stk_100mm f16Feather_2img Pano f16 100mm_v2Macro_100mm f16 4img stk_v1Macro_100mm_f16_8img stk_pano_v2Macro_100mm_f14_v2_76A1413-2

Macro_100mm f14 v1_76A1415

Sometimes you try a few layouts then choose the one you like best when they are all assembled. The image above this one was the image I liked best from these 2 layouts, Probably because they were pointing upwards instead of downward.

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