The Brenizer Method tutorial

The Brenizer method or also known as the Bokeh Panorama, is a photographic technique developed by wedding photographer Ryan Brenizer. I found out about this method a while ago and loved it from the moment I saw the first examples.

When I tell people about this, the first question I always get is: “But what is the Brenizer method”?

Basically it comes down to the following. You make a panorama photo shot with a lens longer than average and with a very shallow depth of field (DOF). For example I love to use the Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM. You basically can use any lens above 50mm with a wide aperture. Once you stitched the images your final result will be a photo with an almost impossible DOF and a very wide angle view.

The example shown here was shot with a 85mm lens and an aperture of f/1.8. I shot 32 photos. I used a “Brenizer calculator” to calculate the final ‘artificial’ exif, which was 23mm with an aperture of f/0.48. It was my commissioned Brenizer shoot ever and regardless the sloppy composition, the disturbing wall on the right, the fact I had to clone out an red/white chain from behind the girls, I am pretty happy with the end result.

Canon EOS 5D Mark II-Untitled_Panorama1-Edit.jpg

So how do you do it?: Here my brief Brenizer method turorial.

  1. Make a test shot and check your light (speed and aperture), focus, and white balance.
  2. Make sure you set your focus to manual, your shutters speed to manual, and choose (manually) a wide aperture. (and if you are familiar with it, also manually set your white balance or at least make sure you shoot in RAW. So you can synchronize the white balance in a RAW editor for all your shots)
  3. Once you are satisfied start with you first shot of you subject (in my case the faces)
  4. Then shoot a grid around your subject and make sure that you have an overlap of at least 25% (preferably 33%). I use to work from the head to the toes and then go around my subject. But it is up to you how you do the grid as long you have enough overlap.
  5. brenizer patternMake sure your subject stands still otherwise the stitching might not work (this is also the main reason why I start with the head and move quickly down to the toes, this shortens the time that you are shooting your model and the time they have to stand still) (image on the right shows the pattern that I use)
  6. Once back home I import the photos in Adobe Lightroom and start with my first shot. If all is well there is no need to correct anything. But I you find it necessary to correct light or white balance make sure you make the same corrections to all your images (synchronize).
  7. An optional step (not needed if you have a super computer) I do is export the images to JPG in a lower resolution (I tend to use 2600px on the longest side) If you skip this step it might happen that Photoshop (or any other program you use to merge to a panorama) might crash or takes just for ever. (my longest processing time has been 2 hours for just one photo)
  8. I then launch Adobe Photoshop, I go to File > Automate > Photomerge.
  9. A new window opens, under Layout: Auto, Source Files Use: Files and make sure Blend images together is checked.
  10. Click Browse and select all the (re-sized) images you took, select Open, and click OK. A new window will open and start the merging process.
  11. Now sit back and relax…….
  12. Once done, you will end up with a big photo with a lot of transparent spaces around it. So now you crop the image so you get rid of the transparent spaces.
  13. And if all looks good you are done
  14. I always import this result back into Lightroom and do some final adjustments or convert to Black and White.

 

So this is my brief tutorial on the Brenizer Method. I do hope you liked it and you can put it to good use. Please do share your results in the comments and feel free to ask any questions if things are not clear. Soon I will be updating this page with additional examples, but for now I don’t have access to them.

update: New example photos added.
bokeh-panorama-AWD-Nicki.jpg Untitled_Panorama1 2-Edit.jpg Untitled_Panorama2-Edit-Edit.jpg Untitled_Panorama4444-Edit.jpg Untitled_Panorama22324-Edit.jpg

4 thoughts on “The Brenizer Method tutorial

  1. Hi Bas,

    My compliments for your very nice website!
    Just read your short tutorial of the ‘Brenizer method’. Very nice and clearly written article.
    In the article you mention starting photographing your ‘subject’ with the faces, which is logical for me.. Then you continue photographing the rest of the body and surroundings. When you do that, are you moving the camera from the first point of view or are all the other pictures taken from the same point of view as the first shot?
    thanks in advance!

    Grtz, Wim

  2. Wim, thanks for the compliment! You have to try to keep you camera at the same starting point. There are even examples of photographers who use a tripod for this. Myself I am pretty confident that I can shoot this without a tripod. I just start with the heads, then move down (way below the feet) and from there I make an upside/down ‘U’ shape like motion to cover the rest. And if needed I make an even wider ‘U’ shape around the previous one. I added an image to clarify the pattern I use.

  3. Pingback: New Bokeh Panoramas - frozentimes.net

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