Bokeh panorama with Stephanie and Sam, 14 shots with the 135mm f/2.
Category Archives: brenizer method
So here’s one that probably hasn’t been done before. This was a Brenizer Method with 31 images, lit by an iPad, AND composited to hide the light source. But I wasn’t just trying to do a trifecta of tricks for the heck of it, all I wanted to do was to solve the problems that would give Carol and Johann the image they wanted. Bringing out the lights of Boston’s skyline meant lighting them with a very, very weak light source. Luckily I had one on hand as a photo display.
I had my assistant light them as I shot them, and then move out of the way as I shot the rest of the scene. It’s not easy, but it works.
The trials of Photoshop CS5 are available for download, and of course the first thing I did was to try a “Brenizer method” panorama on them. Since I like to be timely, here’s one I just shot a few hours ago, during an engagement shoot with Jennifer and Richard.
For new readers, basically the trick is to use a multi-image panorama to make for a super-shallow depth-of-field by using a longer lens. This was 18 images with an 85mm f/1.4. If I’d had to use a shorter lens like a 24mm to capture everything in one frame, all of that background foliage would be in focus as well. Here is an example of a single frame from the shot:
I have not been happy overall with the performance of CS4 in stitching these sorts of panoramas, keeping CS3 around or using a dedicated program like Autopano Pro. Is CS5 better? On the good side, I fed it 18 full-resolution images, which usually causes Photoshop to hang for a long time, if not crash. It took a while, but the progress was steady and measured, and produced an image without major artifacts. On the bad side, it still has the CS4 habit of throwing pieces it doesn’t know what to do with into the corner and not making it easy to move them:
Now the exciting part is “content aware fill,” which fills in gaps by taking into account all of the textures around it. And it seems to work really, really well in general. Here was the cropped section, with a gap the stitching couldn’t fill. One swipe of content-aware spot healing produced the image up top:
BUT you have to be careful when doing these panoramas, as the whole point of them is to create a very three-dimensional look where everything is in a certain amount of focus due to its relationship to the focal plane (like most pictures, just more so). Photoshop will very happily grab the surrounding textures even if they’re in a different part of the focal plane, which in this case would have made content-aware fills of the out-of-focus brown patches in the grass look out-of-place. Overall, though, it should be a valuable tool in the panorama arsental.
Remember Dora and Josh? We couldn’t get enough of each other, so we went for another round!
A few questions for you: Would you take a photo of a bride and groom in the middle of an active street? Would you take NINETEEN photos of them in the street, to stich them together in a panorama? Well I would.
One more, for those with a good sense of perspective: Dora and Josh are standing in a safe zone called the cross-walk. Where was I standing when I took the nineteen photos? Right, the intersection.
Kids, don’t try this at home.
I’ve been digging into my panorama archives to really try out AutoPano Pro, and liking the efficiency and quality overall. This one was from an engagement shoot in October, 15 shots with the 85mm f/1.4. As the technological whiz kids among you may have guessed, strobes were used to give even lighting and good contrast to Maureen’s face. As if shooting panoramas of people wasn’t counter-intuitive enough, you can through flash usage into it, too. It’s a bit tricky, but the key is to figure out ways to fire your flashes at low power settings. I’ll be going over advaced applications of panoramas and “the Brenizer method” in my workshop on April 16-17. There are still a few slots open!
The extreme selective focus can make some interesting changes to perspective — if you shoot things that have no immediate frame of size reference, they tend to look much smaller. In this case, it’s almost hard to guess — is that a small branch in the foreground or a huge one in the background? I know, of course.
On a tip, I’ve tried reworking some old “Brenizer method” panoramas with AutoPano Pro. It’s not perfect, but it’s very good, and gets right some panoramas that Photoshop did not. But what I most like is that I can set up a batch to do a bunch of panoramas at once, and then go take a nap or answer e-mails or something. Anything that makes the stitching process easier will make me want to shoot these more and more, and one of my goals for 2010 is to really see what sorts of ways I can push the envelope on this ball I got rolling. Also, I want to mix new and exciting metaphors.
For Kyle and Meghan, a kiss before entering the reception. For my poor 85mm f/1.4, a last shot before getting stolen from the bench behind them.
OK, this is a "brenizer method" panorama, so it was the last 24 shots.
At least it was a pleasant way to go.
(You can always cheer me up by ordering prints. Just sayin’.)
For reference, since I know this still confuses a lot of people, here was one of the 24 images in the panorama. This is one uncropped shot with the D3 and the 85mm f/1.4:
I was trying to get this a BIT more finished before the Grand Opening, but I’ve been blessed with an incredibly busy shooting schedule, and wanted to give new readers some content to look at. For now, here are some links to “Brenizer Method” content!
As some of you might have realized, despite the PhotoJojo title, this is all about LESS depth of field than is normally possible, not more.
Here are some images that show off the technique (You can also search Flickr:)