Focus Stacking with Helicon Focus

The image below has been focus stacked using Helicon Focus, a piece of software specially designed for macrophotography, microphotography and landscape photography when sharpness from zero to infinity is required. The process involves capturing a series of images focussed at differet depths through a subject. These individual focus slices are then assembled into a final composite image. The finished result contains an incredible amount of detail, revealing a world that would otherwise go unseen. Visit for more information.

If you want to read up about the different versions of Helicon focus first, click here:

A discount for purchasing Helicon Focus is available to attendees of my talks and photography workshops, please contact me directly for a discount code.

Stinging nettle focus stacked using Helicon Focus

Please note, the links above will take you through to the shop site for Helicon Soft Ltd. This is not a part of this website and is not a part of Alex Hyde Photography. For any questions relating to the Helicon Soft Ltd. website, please use the following contact:

Tips on focus stacking

1. Choosing your subject

Static subjects are recommended as any movement can result in ghosting and misalignements in your finished image.

2. Camera settings

Put your camera into manual exposure mode and keep the exposure settings identical for all shots in the sequence. Manual focus is a must unless you are using Helicon Remote or the Helicon FB Tube.

3. Capturing the images

A tripod is important for ensuring that the image sequence remains aligned throughout the shooting sequence. It is crucial that you have plenty of overlap between each shot in the sequence. If you are using a macro focusing rail, make sure you advance the camera position between shots by small, regular increments. If you don't have a macro focusing rail, then rotate the manual focusing ring on your lens by small, regular increments between shots.

4. Post-processing

Batch process your images using software such as Adobe Lightroom to ensure all images are prepared in exactly the same way. Open the processed images in Helicon Focus to stack them. The default settings (Method B, Radius 8, Smoothing 4) work well for images with fine textures and details on a continuous surface (e.g. a close up of a butterfly wing), but try reducing the radius for images containing very fine details. For images with overlapping elelments such as fine hairs or blades of grass, Method C is a better choice. Sometimes the resulting stack will contain streaks from dust spots on your camera's sensor. These can be cloned out within Helicon Focus or using software such Adobe Photoshop.