Want critique New to macro focus stacking

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EXIF
Nikon Z6
105mm MC f/4
F/7.1
ISO 800
1 step focus stack increment
20 image composite

Archivist

New Member
Jan 8, 2022
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Hello, I am relatively new to both focus stacking and macro photography.

My lens appears to have optimal sharpness at f/7.1, and I was using a soft-box (off camera flash) which is why my ISO value is at 800 instead of at the minimal setting it can be. I also have to maintain around 11in distance from the subject in order for the lens to focus.

My main area of interest that lead me here is Cannabis, which is ultimately a living organism. It grows in weird and different shapes, often posting challenges on how I should approach focus stacking and composition overall.

Any advice you an give me is highly appreciated.
 

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Chavezshutter

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Aug 4, 2020
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Hi Archivist Archivist, I don't do much stacking myself preferring to use it in certain scenarios only but I can give you some advice regarding how you may want to shoot Cannabis or any other subject.

Please note this is very subjective and simply my approach - I divide my subjects into two basic categories, one is what i call documentative and the other is art. Documentative as the name implies is to show the viewer the subject in the best possible conditions, good light, full subject (not parts), deep DOF to capture the entire subject in sharp focus and often with the subject isolated so it's the only thing in the frame for the viewer to really appreciate and evaluate that one subject. Art on the other hand is a much more free approach where things like shallow DOF, showing only part of the subject and even "optimal" lighting conditions dont matter if it creates the artistic look and feel you're trying to convey. They are both not mutually inclusive of course, a documentative shot can be quite artistic and vice versa but the intention, focus and delivery is different in each.

If you're simply trying to show the product in the best possible conditions including focus stacking then its documentative and so far from your posted picture your well on your way, though I do have to say I would personally isolate one bud, nothing else around it. The more items added the more it becomes a scene, almost still life and less about the cannabis. If you are more aiming at art, well...the possibilities are almost endless. On the editing side alone ..🤯

I suggest taking single shots to find a composition you like, try everything and by everything i mean all the angles, from the side, the top, looking up at it from below, same with the lighting, move it around, maybe add another light from a different angle to see if you can get better light, I always recommend flash but for smaller things LEDs sometimes can be better. Try different backgrounds, black is always classy and allows a subject to stand out or maybe even a printed card or tablet with a pattern and colour to compliment the green in the bud. Reflective surfaces can add a nice touch as well. Go in as close as you can to get the smallest details, try a little further back, until you get the details you want while still showing as much of the subject as you want to reveal. Once you find what works well with a single shot and like the results your are getting then you're ready to begin stacking but I have ranted for way too long and will leave that for other members to chime in...Whew!!!🤣
 

nataliaflejszar&Photo

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Hello, I am relatively new to both focus stacking and macro photography.

My lens appears to have optimal sharpness at f/7.1, and I was using a soft-box (off camera flash) which is why my ISO value is at 800 instead of at the minimal setting it can be. I also have to maintain around 11in distance from the subject in order for the lens to focus.

My main area of interest that lead me here is Cannabis, which is ultimately a living organism. It grows in weird and different shapes, often posting challenges on how I should approach focus stacking and composition overall.

Any advice you an give me is highly appreciated.

Focus stacking is always interesting subject to talking about, there's so many different techniques! Chavezshutter Chavezshutter already gived good advices here, here's many photographers who do it very well, I just know the basics and most of best work doing my camera Olympus and than Photoshop to stacking them 😄. It just doing my PC running very slowly and hot, especially when I export pictures from Lr to Ps and after stacking back to Lr... so 2 big programs work same time 🤭. The results of focus stacking are worth all😄
 
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