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Studio camera setup – FOCUS STACK macro photography – Viral Trends

Studio camera setup – FOCUS STACK macro photography

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit Digital Transitions in New York City to do some photography in their studio. In this video, Doug Peterson shows us his method of focus stacking on the Phase One XF with the IQ3 Trichromatic back.

You can do this with any camera. The challenge of macro photography is working with an extremely shallow depth of field. Phase One will do automatic calculations for the photos you want to stack but this can be done manually with any camera.

The software we used for stitching the final image is called Zerene Stacker. It does have a 30 day trial if you want to try it out.


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Ted Forbes
The Art of Photography
2830 S. Hulen, Studio 133
Fort Worth, TX 76109

My name is Ted Forbes and I make videos about photography. I’ve been making photographs most of my life and I have a tremendously deep passion for photography that I want to share with you on YouTube.

The Art of Photography is my channel and I produce photography videos to provide a 360 degree look into the world of making images. We all want to get better so lets do this together!

I make videos covering famous photographers, photography techniques, composition, the history of photography, philosophy and much more.

I also have a strong community of photographers who watch the show and we frequently do social media challenges for photographers to submit their own work. I feature the best and most interesting on the show when we do these so come check it out and get involved!


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Comments 33

  1. For all those asking about photo assignments, could I suggest that there's always a default photo assignment – think of something you've never done with a camera before, do it, then examine the results. See what you're happy with, if there's anything you don't like, and reflect on how you could do it better.

    If you normally shoot landscapes, try macro or portraits, if still life is your thing, then walk around your neighbourhood and try street photography. You get the idea?

  2. I use zerene stacker at work everyday…. love that program. (we work on stacking from 13 to 16 pictures a time for ultra macro of seeds and even smaller. I would so love to play with phase one for that part of my job).

  3. Hi Ted, my work has tasked me to buy a camera we can use for taking photos of our events. I know there are so many out there to choose from so I'm hoping you can give me some advice. I will be in charge of taking the photos during our events. I have some experience taking photos but my skills in photography is just a beginning level. We are looking for a camera that can take good pictures of people under low lighting ( example, people in a meeting room or conference space with low lighting). Our price range is up to $3000. Any suggestions? Thanks!

  4. Yikes. I can see how this has scientific applications, and even could please psychopathic clients of one type or another, all valid uses. However, it also helps me understand why film and retro techniques are undergoing a resurgence. Don't get me wrong, I believe there is a need for both and that more options are better, but I also feel that something is being lost in all the high-tech, sterile, wizardry.

  5. I tried focus stacking once, but it didn't work at all. Even though the camera was on a tripod I couldn't get the photo software to align it correctly. I guess it's not for everyone.

  6. For every one having a whine about the camera my Olympus OMD EM1 MK-1 will do auto focus stacking and processing in camera just need the ideas to be thrown out there my camera is better than Ansels as is the phase one is better than mine.

  7. This is quite an interesting tour de force, but for those of us on more limited budgets, the Olympus focus stacking and tethering system which is available on the E-M1.2, the E-M5.2, and the E-M1, works well indeed. I have used it for several months now for studio shots of flowers in conjunction with the 60mm macro lens with each of these cameras.. Everything is done in camera, and results are excellent. I did have a learning curve, because I have never shot tethered before this. The advantage of shooting tethered is that I can shoot an entire floral arrangement in studio; outdoors I can only use focus stacking on one blossom, or a very tight bunch (e.g., climbing roses).

  8. Finally something I know!!!! I am a product photographer for some smaller vapor companies and i shoot coils i make in 22-24mm products. Please look at my Instagram for nothing but macros

  9. Nice video Ted!

    I can’t believe that Canon and Nikon haven’t yet put out their own software for Tethering. Olympus has been doing it for years and it’s just great. I use it all the time when my camera is on a tripod for long exposures in night shots.

    As for “focus stacking”, I sometimes use it to “extreme” in landscape photography – to get everything in focus. I never thought of using it in macro shots as shown, limiting the focus range to your own taste and selection. I will surely do so now.

    It was intuitive to talk about both “Tethering” and “Focus Stacking” because your best choice for making “Focus Stacking” is using a “Tethering” method avoiding any camera movement.

    Here, it seems the Phase-One in-camera “Focus Stacking” app is not available through “Tethering” – I’m I right in thinking so?

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