I recently acquired a Tamron 90mm macro lens for the purpose of making highly detailed, artistic images of flowers on a white background. I decided to create my vision using a lightbox and focus stacking, to create the level of sharpness that I desired. I am using my old Knox lightbox from back in the film days but may soon upgrade to an A2 size light pad with LED lighting, which will be more even.
This is what it my set up looks like when I take a picture.
My Nikon D850 has a focus shifting feature built into the camera that allows me to focus on the closest point in the image, and the camera automatically shifts my focus for a set number of images at a prescribed increment, until either all the set numbers are shot, or the lens reaches infinity, whichever comes first. In the past with my Canon camera I needed a Camranger to handle the focus shifting. Focus stacking is part of one of the lessons I reach in my Master Class.
When I photograph the flowers I always set the camera to slightly out of focus on the close side to make sure I don’t judge wrong, and know that camera will take a few out of focus images, but it guarantees me that I will not have any thing out of focus by missing the closest part of the flower. That means I am taking more shots than I need, but I know I will have images that include the sharpest foreground element and the sharpest background element. Here is the focus shifting feature on my Nikon, set to take 49 images.
Focus shift shooting
Camera set to shoot 49 images
Once I acquire all the images, I open them in Lightroom and find the first image that has the closest part in focus and the last image that has the farthest part in focus. I make any tonal adjustments I want to the whole set of these images.
Selecting the images in Lightroom - Out of the 49, I selected 27 to use
I output these images to TIFF files and then open them in Zerene Stacker software and use that to combine all the images giving me flowers with incredible detail and total depth of field.
Here are a few examples:
Hydrangea aspera robusta #3
You can see many more on my Facebook page and I will be getting these on my website in July. I am also working on a video of the whole process from shooting to editing on the flower series that I hope to have done in August.