The Brenizer Method, popularized by photographer Ryan Brenizer, is characterized by creating an image with a wide-angle of view in tandem with an extremely shallow depth of field. In our comprehensive course, we navigate you through the process of conceptualizing, executing, and post-producing wide aperture panoramic-stitch portraits.Join Premium
If executed improperly, the image can be distorted, poorly exposed, and unevenly stitched. Here are a couple of mistakes to avoid:
1. Using a Wide Angle Lens
Using wide angle lenses will not yield the desired effect because they are more likely to distort the edges of the image which will be problematic in post.
Longer focal lengths such as 85mm or even anywhere in the 70-200mm range will give you immense compression and prominent bokeh.
2. Using Auto-focus
Since we are panning across an image with our subject in a very shallow plane of focus, we want to always remember to keep our lenses in manual focus. This is why shooting on a tripod will yield the best results, because there is no room for error when it comes to focus adjustment once you’ve taken care of the stability of your camera body.
3. Using Closed Down Apertures
A closed down aperture is not going to yield the background blur needed to create the effect. Using prime lenses such as a 50mm that can exaggerate the effect even more by shooting wide open at f/1.2, 1.4, 1.8, are ideal. Lenses with a narrower depth of field such as f/2.8 or f/4.0 don’t give enough separation from the background unless they’re on the longer focal length range.
4. Not enough Overlap between images
Unfortunately, creating a panoramic stitch on a DSLR isn’t as easy as manually panning your mobile device across a scene and having it automatically stitched together. You can see that when you use a phone to photograph a panorama, any change in movement results in a bit of a lighting difference because it was unable to stitch properly. Not overlapping enough between images using a DSLR will not give Lightroom/Photoshop enough detail to work with. About 1/3 of your image should overlap as you move from one shot to the next in order to provide just enough image to sample when stitching.
As mentioned above, using a tripod is imperative for this specific reason, so that you can seamlessly pan and make sure you’ve got overlapping images. We recommend checking out the MeFoto Globetrotter.
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5. Not Having a Systematic Approach to Capturing
Use a systematic approach to capturing the full set of images. For example, start from the center, then move 3 to the left, then 3 to the right. Then center up again, move the camera up, capture the center shot, then 3 to the left, and 3 to the right. Then do the same thing for the bottom portion of the image. Approach the shot with a system so that you can ensure you have enough images to cover the entire scene.
To a certain extent, some issues can be corrected in post-production after the images have been stitched, but getting it right in camera will prevent you hours of labor after the fact. In our full panoramic stitching courses we dive into post-production techniques that will help enhance your imagery to the fullest.Join Premium
6. Areas that Lack Detail Won’t Stitch Automatically
If your sky lacks detail, it won’t stitch properly. Make sure that the image has details that Lightroom/CaptureOne/Photoshop can reference easily. This starts by shooting at your lowest native ISO to preserve all dynamic range within the image. For example, if it’s a plain white cloudy day shoot more of the ground in the composition and make sure that any image with a lot of sky also has some ground in the shot so that Lightroom/Photoshop can reference it’s placement in the frame.
When you are using flash in conjunction with the Brenizer method a whole slew of issues can occur that will likely alter the result of your stitch. To dive into the nitty gritty details of panoramic stitching using special lenses and lighting effects, stream our three courses here!
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