A while ago, I posted an article explaining the Brenizer method panorama. Ryan Brenizer is a NYC based wedding photographer and the “father” of Bokeh Panorama, or Brenizer panorama, technique, which allows one to achieve an otherwise impossibly shallow depth of field at a given angle of view. While I did my best to explain how it all works, it’s often better to see how one does it once than read about it ten times. And who to better do it that Ryan himself?
So here are a couple more tips for those of you interested in learning this technique, followed by Ryan’s much more understandable and professional explanation.
1) Remember Composition and Light
While Brenizer method panorama can help even the most simple and dull photograph look amazing, any eagle-eyed photographer will be able to tell you’re just trying to fool people by using simple aesthetics, such as bokeh, which has nothing to do with your skills as a photographer, only the lens you’re using. Light, Subject and Composition are the main aspects of an image, even when it’s 9463-ish pixels wide and has the most beautiful background blur you’ve ever seen. Work on it – find the best light, the best pose or lack of one, and work on your composition skills – Brenizer method is there to improve your photography and give you more creative choice, but that’s all it can do. The rest is, once again, up to the living, breathing creature holding the camera with a lens set wide open.
2) Always Start With that Moving Subject
If it’s breathing (trees need air, too), it can move and holding completely still for a longer period of time can be quite stressing, especially if you’re working with a client. Try to photograph your subject before you move on to anything else – grab them quickly in 4-5 sequential shots and move on. Once you’re safely keeping them out of your fragment shots, you can tell them to relax a little, or they’ll forget to breathe!
3) Make Sure Your Subject is Sharp
Yes, the image will be very big, which will allow you to print large and with a very high quality in mind. You don’t need the sharpest lens in the world for this, especially if you’re planning to downsize the image to a more manageable size than your average 60-100 megapixels (for the simple D700 users; D800/D600 users will have much more than those puny 100!). Still, a missed focus is a missed focus, and usually no amount of sharpening can save your from that situation.
Fast lenses can sometimes miss focus, and at close distances and open aperture even the slightest error is enough to ruin your image. Make sure your subject is focused just right before you feel confident of taking those remaining 10-50 images, otherwise it will all be for nothing! Also, don’t forget to calibrate your AF for every fast lens you own.
4) Play With It!
I’ve heard some photographers say you should never have out of focus objects at certain places in your image (like the foreground). I think that’s nonsense – it all depends on what you want. Brenizer method’s key offering is bokeh, so use it creatively!
And now, I give you to the capable hands of Ryan Brenizer at B&H and AdoramaTV:
I know some of our readers liked the technique very much. Have you got anything to share? We’d be delighted to see your work!