New Workshop: Photographing Group Portraits!

Brenizer Method
The Brenizer Method is a type of panoramic composite photography that captures images at a fast or wide-open aperture, instead of stopped-down, in order to create a resulting image with extremely shallow depth of field. (DOF, or bokeh) Wedding and portrait photographer Ryan Brenizer first popularized the method by capturing unique, dramatic environmental portraits using a fast lens and multi-row panoramic images. The resulting images can have "impossible" DOF, often equivalent to f/0.X apertures and/or relatively wide angles.

How to Create Brenizer Method Photos

Any photographer who is into what is considered "ultra-shallow" depth of field (DOF) or "creamy" bokeh, (background blur) should have a basic understanding of how the Brenizer Method works. Simply put, it is a panoramic image, often composed of multiple rows of images, all captured at a very fast aperture with shallow depth, which when combined create an "ultra-shallow depth" image that would literally not be possible with any existing lens.

Using a depth of field calculation tool, you can calculate the approximate aperture and DOF that would be achieved if the image had been captured as one image. For example, if you use an 85mm f/1.4 prime, and capture a panoramic image with an angle of view equal to a 24mm lens, the depth of field of the resulting image would be equal to if you had a 24mm f/0.39 lens!

The Brenizer Method DOF calculator tool created by Brett Maxwell is one of the best available.

Brenizer Method Tips: Hold Still, Overlap Generously

The two most important factors in executing the Brenizer Method correctly (and without too much frustration) are to take your time, and 1.) hold as still as possible, both the photographer and the subjects, and 2.) overlap each frame you take rather generously, even by 40-50%. If captured carefully, the resulting images should be able to be stitched easily in an auto-panoramic stitching software such as Adobe Lightroom CC, or Adobe Photoshop.

[i]
[i]