Behind the scenes – Creating beautiful close up Flower images using focus stacking

Today I am going to share with you a top tip in macro photography I wish that I had leant earlier. How to create close up flower images using focus stacking!

What is focus stacking – and why do I need to know about it to get close up flower images?

For a long time I wondered how people created those wonderful sharp macro photographs. The trouble with macro photographs is that you have a narrow field of focus this means that it can be very difficult to get the whole object you a photographing in perfect focus. One tip is to close the aperture, a higher f-stop increases your depth of field. However, when you are getting really close it can still not be big enough to create a sharp image from the front to back of an object. 

A couple of years ago I discovered “focus stacking”. The general idea of this technique is to take multiple photographs of your object. In each photography you adjust your focal point. So in the case of the Daffodil flower below, I would first focus on the stem, then move the camera back in small increments. Then make sure the petals were in focus and finally ending up with the very front of the flower. 

The gif below shows a pre-edited daffodil which illustrates the focus stacking process:

creating close up flower images using focus sacking

creating close up flower images using focus stacking

 

Using photoshop I was able to align these layers and merge them to create the final image. There are hundreds of tutorials online outlining how to do this, so I won’t repeat that information here. An article that I found particularly useful can be read here.

I then applied my own edits to create the final look of the daffodil that I wanted to achieve. These included adjustments to the exposure, contrast and clarity. I also wanted to make the whites a bit whiter to give the high key effect. 

Spring Daffodil flower

Spring Daffodil flower

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I am a nature and wildlife photographer based in the South of England. I enjoy sharing my photographic adventures and photography hints and tips.

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