Category Archives: brenizer method

Panorama on the sly

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It’s not often that I can pull off a candid “Brenizer method” panorama, but here’s a 10-photo image from when the couple took a break at their Stage 6 at Steiner Studios wedding reception to spend a minute alone with the skyline. Like any extreme panorama, it reads best in very large sizes, so here it is in exactly one percent of the original area. One adage of panoramas is that at any given print size you’re compressing out the noise, handy at ISO 10,000.

10 photos with the Sigma 85mm f/1.4.


Coming soon: Valerie (Workshop Preview)

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I’m working away on my October workshops, now less than a month away! There are just five slots left for Day 2, so make sure you follow the instructions here and, even if you can’t pay right this second, let us know that you’re a lock and when you can pay, since I want to be as fair as possible.

Why do I bring this up? Well, Valerie above is not only an excellent assistant, but she’ll be one of the subjects I have lined up, coming in again all the way from Oklahoma! As you can see, she’s fantastic to shoot, and you’ll see a lot more tomorrow.

Since this is a huge panorama, I want to give you a sense of the size. So you can click on the image above for a link to a larger image, which is exactly one percent of the area of the original. I need to start leasing billboard space.

Camera: Nikon D3s
Lens: 24-image “Brenizer method” panorama with the 58mm f/1.2 Noct-Nikkor AIS (equivalent of 17mm f/0.36 according to Brett’s calculator)


Above the Madding Crowd

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Either this panorama was so big or Yvonne and Clyde were simply so smoldering that my laptop couldn’t handle it and I had to wait to get home from California to put it together. A rare moment alone in the High Line.

I’ve put together a collection of Brenizer method example photos in nice large size on Google plus, for those who want to wrap their head around it or just like looking at them. Depth-of-feeling matters, not depth-of-field, but it’s nice to be able to turn the dial to f/0.4 when you want to.

I’m digging google plus quite a bit. As some others have found, even though it’s a lot like Facebook and not so much like Twitter, Twitter is what I’m losing enthusiasm for as I delve more into G+. This tweet from Ken Kienow shows the strange folly of a service popular with photographers without, well, photos.

Also, I’m currently one of the only people with a G+ address that makes sense:

Camera: Nikon D3s
Lens: 64-image “Brenizer method” panorama with the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 (equivalent of 27mm f/0.5 according to Brett’s calculator)


Isolated Love

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This is just about as extreme a “Brenizer method” pano as I’ll probably ever do, using sixty-two frames from the exotic 200mm f/2 to bring a three-dimensional feel to a nice day in Central Park. Lauren is part of the great wedding planning team at Private Receptions, so I figured I’d swing for the bleachers. More from this session coming soon, as well as a full review of the 200mm. According to Brett’s calculator, this ended up functioning like it was taken with a 60mm f/0.6 lens. The original is 150 megapixels, and you can count their eyelashes.

Lens: 62-frame “Brenizer method” panorama with 200mm f/2G VRII
Camera: Nikon D3


Glamour and Grunge

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Happy Memorial Day! I’m on the road in Washington DC today as part of my Memorial Day Weekend Wedding World Tour … three weddings and an engagement shoot. Kim and Dinesh were married on Saturday in a gorgeous wedding at Gotham Hall. It’s crazy-season time, but I’ll do my best to keep up, becauase I have so much to show!

Fun fact: We’re at 23rd Street because an off-duty MTA worker wrongly claimed we weren’t allowed to shoot at my subway stop … so we got onto the train and off at the next stop. One day MTA workers will read what the rules actually are (no lights, no tripods, no impeding traffic, otherwise photography is expressly permitted). Shooting with a wedding dress on a rainy day in NYC is a challenge because there is literally nowhere you can go that people will not try to stop you. NYC is like a video game on Hard Mode.

Camera: Nikon D3s
Lens: 10-image “Brenizer method” panorama with the Nikon 105mm f/1.8 AIS (35mm equivalent focal length: 41mm f/0.67 — calculated here)


Woo-hoo! “Brenizer Method” (bokehrama, etc.) instructional video, produced by B&H!

Update: See an updated gallery of Brenizer-method images at Google Plus

So, there was this crazy technique I came up with and streamlined a few years ago to use the effects of a multi-layer panorama, combined with fast lenses shot wide-open, to achieve depth-of-field impossible with current lenses. Ever wanted to shoot with a 24mm f/0.4? This technique gives you the opportunity. I asked a few thousand people if they’d ever seen anything like this before and no one had, so I thought I may be on to something. Still, out of the tens of millions of photographers out there I figured nothing is new under the sun, so I worked and worked on different applications of this. How do I do a 20+ image panorama of moving objects like people? How do I do this with continuous lighting? How can I do this with flash? Along the way, people started calling it “The Brenizer Method,” and while I like to think I have a lot more than one method, I admit I am honored and amused by the way it messes with my siblings’ heads.

It’s pretty simple once you learn the process, but I find for almost everyone it requires hands-on, visual learning to really get it. I’ve wanted to do a really good video of it for a long time, and finally I got the opportunity with the great team at B&H Photo.

If you’re interested in learning more, keep this page marked — I’ll use it as my new home base of information about the technique.

PS: Yes, I know there’s no such thing as a 135mm f/1.2. A man can dream, can’t he? And yes, I know I talk with my hands. That’s why I weigh them down with heavy cameras.

Quick tip: One important thing that got left on the cutting-room floor. When shooting any panorama ALL of your settings should be the same shot to shot — your focus, your ISO, your aperture, your shutter speed, and your white balance, otherwise it will be a hot mess. If your camera has an “AEL/AFL” button set to lock both exposure and focus, this takes care of all the variables except the white balance, and if you’re shooting RAW you can correct that later.

Also, photographer Brett Maxwell has come out with a really handy spreadsheet tool so you can figure out the exact equivalent of you final shot in 35mm terms. For example, in the shot in the B&H video, taken with a 105mm f/1.8, the final frame acts like it was shot by a 49mm f/0.8 lens.

Further tips and links (Updated as I have time)

Software: I used Photoshop CS5 in the video because that’s pretty much the current default. Any Photoshop of CS2 or higher will do it, but strangely I find CS3 works better than CS4 or CS5. Since I do this so much, I’ve invested in Autopano Pro, which makes the process so much easier and can also batch multiple panoramas at one time, so if I do four or five of these on the wedding day, I can process them all at once very quickly.

To Tripod or Not to Tripod: I should do a review of pano heads someday, but since I tend to use this technique with people I choose speed of capture over the absolute perfection of a pano head. You tend to only get in trouble when shooting either really close to the subject or things like stairs or railings, both due to parallax error. Good stitching programs, which you’ll need to correct for the vignetting of shooting wide-open, also correct mild parallax as long as you overlap your images by at least a third.


A High Line Perspective

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I’ve been wanting to do a cogent, visually oriented instruction set on the “Brenizer method” for a LONG time, and I have some exciting news on that front to share very soon. In the meantime, I’ll just say that I’m really digging the ol’ Nikon 105mm f/1.8 AIS for these.

Camera: Nikon D3s
Lens: 35-image “Brenizer method” panorama with the Nikon 105mm f/1.8 AIS