This happens a lot with macro photography and close up, where you don’t even have to be at a wide aperture for a limited depth of field. Another situation I can think of is a group of people in a row and you are shooting long, you cannot get everyone in focus in a single shot. Also product photography this is very commonly done.
When you shoot close up, the focal plane isn’t wide enough to capture the entire image as sharp. So, we shoot the subject multiple times, shifting the focus on each, until we have captured the entire subject. Something this may take only 2 photographs, sometime 7 or more. In this case, we were able to get most of it in 3. (At least good enough to do this quick, simple tutorial).
First photo has focus in the center and everything around is blurred.
Second and 3rd photos have the focus pushed back further.
Third photo has the focus all the way back.
Load the 3 images into a layer stack. Use Scripts>Load images as stack, or manually drag them all in.
Notice the photos are not properly aligned
We need to align the photos in Photoshop, and Photoshop can automatically do that for us.
Select all three layers in the layers panel. (Shift select)
Go to Edit>Auto-Align Layers
Wait couple of seconds for the output to be generated.
Now all the layers are aligned.
Photoshop can blend all these layers together into 1 smooth photo.
Go to Edit>Auto-Blend Layers
Select Stack Images.
Wait couple of seconds until layers are blended.
Now layers are blended together.
You can check each layer and see the masking that photoshop has done.
If you want the whole photo sharp, you may need to take more pictures. You will get the hang of it after you have done a couple.
Let’s clean up the image.
Grab the Crop Tool.
Set the crop area by dragging on the image with the crop tool.
Hit Enter when you’re finished with setting the crop area.
Put the layers into one smart object.
Select all layers
Go to Filter>Convert for Smart Filters
Now you have one smart object.
Go to Filter>Camera Raw Filter
Pull down Highlights, Blacks and Vibrance a bit.
Increase Shadows, Contrast, Whites and Clarity.
Pull down Amount under Post Crop Vignetting to add a nice vignette (darken) around the edges.
And here’s the final image.
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I will see you, at the cafe.
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