You can do a lot with a camera to focus on a subject. If you want everything in focus you would strive for the greatest depth of field. However, you may want to key in on a part of the image, to direct attention. That can be accomplished with a narrow depth of field, only a slice of the image is in sharp focus. With this photograph, we wanted to gain as much control over what was in focus and what was not. We photographed the subject twice; once with focus/sharpness at the front, and a second exposure with the focus at the back. A lot can be accomplished in Photoshop to selectively focus. However, creating these images will make work in Photoshop more efficient.
Here we have a short depth of field with the sharpest focus at the front of the grouping, falling out of focus at the back.
Close up shows the droplets on the tomato in focus, with the bottles of oil out of focus.
Here we have reversed everything so that the back of the setup is in focus and the front is out of focus.
The close up shows the spice jar and tomato, which are essentially equal distance from the camera and equally out of focus, and the bottles of oil in the background in focus.
The 2 exposures were then sandwiched together in Photoshop. By selectively hiding parts of each image we can bring the spice jars into focus, along with adjusting the pasta and bread. The rest of the up front elements, along with the rear elements are out of focus.
Close up showing the in focus spice jar, pasta, and parts of the bread with everything else moving out of focus front and rear.
In the end, lighting tweaks on the wooden handles, cheese, and lettuce were also applied in the final image.