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Focus Stacking And Refraction Photography

Learn how one photographer uses focus stacking to produce images of water droplets.

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Photographer  Yuval Vaknin has combined refraction photography with focus stacking to produce a set of colourful and interesting water drop images. Here he tells us a little about his technique and shares some of his shots with us.

Why do you use this technique?

"I use focus stacking as it's just not possible to get these kinds of results with just one shot. This method allows you to effectively extend the depth of field so your final image has sharpness."

Is it something that can be learnt easily?

"It's not a hard technique to learn but you need lots of patience and to obtain good results you must practise lots!"


What type of images do you take?

"Focus stacking is a technique I mainly use for refraction images of drops and I also produce extreme macro work with it."

Talk us through your method.

"You need to really have a good idea that's well thought out in your head before you start shooting. Think about the item that the drop will sit on and what's going to be reflected in the drop that will make this set of images unique.

Once happy, I set my scene up the following way: position the background, lights then I put the camera in place on its focus stacking rail. Once set up, I shoot frame-by-frame, moving the camera and lens together along the rail one step at a time to ensure the focus is set at different points in each image.

After I've shot all the images I need (sometimes this can be as many as 50 frames) I'll use Photoshop's stacking application to combine all the images and I'll also make minor adjustments to the levels, use the spot cleaning tool etc."

Refraction drop with heart in
For tips on using Photoshop's focus stacking application, take a look at John Gravett's tutorial.

You can see more of Yuval Vaknin's work on his facebook page.

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studioline 11 72 4 United Kingdom
14 Feb 2013 9:51AM
Thank you so much for sharing your style and technique.
alistairfarrugia 9 164 88 Malta
14 Feb 2013 10:09PM
Superb work!

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