How to Blend Images with Different Depths of Field in Photoshop

If you shoot macro photography, you know that you have to focus on just a little bit of content, so your final image will be out of focus in some areas. There’s no way around that—until you get to post production. Bryan O’Neil Hughes explains a great trick you can do in Photoshop to blend multiple images with different depths of field to create one completely focused final image:

Maybe you don’t have enough light, maybe you just want to focus on a different subject in each photo—whatever the reason, sometimes you end up with an image that is only focused in one area. If you want to bring out all areas in post production, give this a try.

Photoshop’s Focus Blending tool lets you combine multiple images focused on different areas to create one perfectly focused image. If you’re not using a tripod, the images will be out of alignment, but don’t worry—that can be fixed, too. Photoshop can automatically align the images and blend the focus.

Load Files to Photoshop Layers

Using Adobe Bridge

If you’re starting in Bridge, shift-click on your files and hit the space bar to see a full screen preview. Select all your files, go to Tools > Photoshop > Load Files into Photoshop Layers.

stack files in photoshop

Without Bridge

If you’re not using Bridge, you can do this directly in Photoshop. Go to File > Scripts > Load Files into Stack. This will bring each image in as a layer.

Aligning the Images

Shift-click your layers. Go to Edit > Auto-Align Layers.

At this point, you can crop the image to eliminate unnecessary content.

auto align images

Focus Blending

Once you’re satisfied with your composition, it’s time to get your focus back.

Go to Edit > Auto-Blend Layers.

Photoshop knows the difference between a panorama and a stack of images, so the auto function will do the trick nicely. It will bring everything into focus for you, blending the images seamlessly.

focus blending tool

This tool is great to use for macro shots, when you can only focus on a little bit of content. It also saves the day when there’s not enough light to let you focus on multiple areas of a scene. And, since the auto settings do such a great job, it’s so incredibly easy!

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2 responses to “How to Blend Images with Different Depths of Field in Photoshop”

  1. Pat says:

    Can this be done using Photoshop Elements? I’m a newbie, and won’t be able to afford the full Photoshop but could afford the Elements or Lightroom. If it is available in PE and not in LR than PE makes more sense; but if it is not avail in PE than there isn’t much difference, I guess. But I would like to know before I make a decision, and so would appreciate your advice.

    http://www.picturecorrect.com/tips/tips-for-creating-portrait-sequences-with-photoshop/

  2. Priscilla says:

    I have the same question. Additionally, I’d like to see more tips including how to do the same using Elements.

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