What is Focus Stacking in Photography?

Focus stacking is a technique that blends together multiple images that were shot with varying focal points, to create a single final image with a greater depth of focus.

There are two primary reasons for focus stacking:

  1. To increase the depth of focus in the image past that which is possible from a specific aperture setting on your lens.
  2. To increase sharpness in your image by deliberately shooting your image at an aperture value which provides maximum sharpness, prior to the point of diffraction, even though it doesn’t provide enough depth of focus from a single frame. For example, some lenses might be soft at f/22 due to diffraction. It would be preferable to use f/10 where they are much sharper, but this would require a focus stacked image in order to create the same kind of depth of focus that would have been possible at f/22.

To create a focus stack you will need to place your camera on a tripod and then vary the focal distance between shots. These can then be blended together in Photoshop or specialized stacking software to create the final image.