If you’re trying to photograph the small world of plants and bugs, you’ll face plenty of challenges along the way. Macro photography is a difficult genre — you’re pushing up against the physical limits of depth of field, diffraction, and motion blur. Naturally, focusing in macro photography isn’t an easy task, but it’s a crucial one. How do you optimize your focusing technique for capturing small subjects? The answer depends upon exactly what you’re photographing.
A lot of landscape photographers are interested in focus stacking — combining multiple images of the same scene, each focused at different distances, into a single photo. This is a useful tool to have at your disposal, since it lets you take pictures in more situations than you otherwise could. For example, if elements of your photo are very close to your camera, focus stacking may be the only way to get a sharp shot. Although I don’t use this technique for every photo, it’s something that I keep in mind when I’m taking pictures in challenging conditions. This article gives an overview of focus stacking for landscape photography, including step-by-step instructions on how to focus stack photos in Photoshop. All of these tips are also relevant for other types of photography, not just landscapes.
Hyperfocal distance can be a confusing topic, both for beginning and expert photographers. However, if you want to take the sharpest possible images, particularly landscape photographs, it is simply invaluable. In this article, I will explain hyperfocal distance and give several methods to get the sharpest possible photographs with maximum depth of field. This article covers hyperfocal distance charts, as well as other, simpler methods to find your hyperfocal distance.
For most people who just want to have some fun with their photography and have another ‘trick up their sleeve’ focus stacking can be an interesting technique to explore. To put this article in proper context, I’ve never used focus stacking for any of my client work, and I don’t profess to be an expert at the technique…but I have experimented with it. The following image is a quick focus stacking example I put together for this article. It was composed from 11 separate exposures. It’s far from perfect, but it does represent a typical result that most hobbyists can easily achieve.