Tag Archives: brenizer method

Sneak Peek: Jenny and Jerry (with VSCO 4)

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This is always the time of year when I’m so busy documenting incredible stories that it’s hard to find time to share them, but my giant mug of coffee and I will work to show Jenny and Jerry’s gorgeous wedding. I processed this with VSCO 4, which was released today. Don’t worry, I don’t have nearly enough hipster in me to make any money off your VSCO purchases. But they’ve been doing some fantastic stuff over there with a killer iPhone app, and I’ve always like slide film, so I thought I’d give it a try. This was Astia 100F (one of my favorite films), modified with only the stuff from their toolkit.

And thankfully I didn’t have to shoot and scan 53 slides of Astia to make this.

Camera: Nikon D4
Lens: 53-image “Brenizer method” panorama with the Nikon 85mm f/1.4G (equivalent of 28mm f/0.45 according to Brett’s calculator)


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She’s Got Kelsie Fields Eyes…

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Some of you may remember Kelsie from my adventures in Boise. Well, she’s been visiting the city and is off to Italy soon, so I knew we had to shoot even though my schedule is crazy. I’ve been inspired by the Brenizer method contest, so I wanted to get a bit ambitious with it. Thanks to perspective and parallax error (among other things), it isn’t easy to use this technique from close-up. But of course the closer you are, the more dramatic the effect. Here I really wanted to show the sort of depth-of-field effect that you can only get in one shot with a large format camera and some really exotic lenses, all calling attention to those darned eyes.

Kelsie, by the way, is an insanely talented singer. You’ll be hearing more from her. And more photos to come.

Camera: Nikon D3s
Lens: 12-image “Brenizer method” panorama with the Nikon 85mm f/1.4G (equivalent of 39mm f/0.56 according to Brett’s calculator)


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Announcing the first Brenizer Method contest, sponsored by B&H Photo

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Time flies. It was almost four years ago that I started playing around with panoramas not for the traditional reasons of super-wide frames or insanely high resolution, but to dance my way around a simple problem of physics: to get incredibly shallow depth-of-field, generally you need a lens with a long focal length set to a fast aperture, but that restricts you to a narrow frame of view. You could shoot medium or large format film as one way around this problem, but physics gives us another problem: there’s a good reason you don’t see f/1.4 lenses for large format cameras. They’d be ginormous. But using panorama techniques effectively increases the size of any camera’s sensor, allowing us to use super-fast and relatively compact SLR lenses to achieve incredibly shallow depth-of-field even on wide-angle frames.

I loved the look I was getting and set out to see what I could do with it. How can I shoot panoramas with people? Of candid action? How could I use flash? I was happy to share the things I was learning, and photographers seized on it, trying it for themselves and naming it the “Brenizer method.” (You can read more about it, including a tutorial video, here)

Years later, countless thousands of photographers around the world have made this technique their own, using it for everything from weddings to still lives to even George Clooney. It makes me thrilled to see people taking this and using it in ways that achieve their own vision or just make beautiful photos … and so I want to see what y’all can do with a little incentive.

To that end, I have partnered with B&H and some fantastic photographers for the first Brenizer Method contest. We want to see exactly what you can do. The basic tool is simple — it’s just a way to shoot at crazy effective apertures like f/0.4, but that alone doesn’t make a photo good, you do. And so I’ve partnered with some amazing photographic teams to help the judging:

The judges: Vancouver’s Nordica Photography and Brisbane’s Feather and Stone (and me.)

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Cole and Jacob of Nordica, and Seth and Tenielle of Feather and Stone are absolutely fantastic photographers, skilled in various techniques and brilliant in compositions. Seriously, spend some time drooling over their work. They also don’t as far as I know, use the Brenizer method. In the end, this contest isn’t about using the biggest lens or the most photos in a panorama — it’s about creating the most compelling photos — and I’m excited to have them aboard.

The Rewards

Honorable Mention photos will be featured on this blog and related social media sites and linked to by the B&H media mammoth. All photos will be credited with links back to your Web site (if you have one.)

The top three photos will be awarded gift cards to B&H Photo. Third place will win a $50 card, second place will win a $100 card, and first place will win a $150 card. These photos also will be given top spot in the Web feature.

The Rules

First, of course, these photos must be taken with the Brenizer method. Not all panoramas count — what the method does is rely on a fast aperture and close enough subject distance to show a visibly shallow depth of field. This is not a Brenizer method photo:

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But these are:

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The entries do NOT have to be wedding photos, or even of people. They just have to use the method to create compelling photos.

We will be accepting entries until midnight EST on July 1, 2012.

All photos will be properly credited and you retain full copyright. Images will just be displayed in conjunction with contest results.

How to submit

E-mail entries to brenizermethodcontest@gmail.com. No more than five entries per contestant, and use a separate e-mail for each photo. Each entry needs to contain a reference to the camera and lens that were used, and how many frames were used to make the final result. Please include how you would like to be credited, both your name and the Web site.

Resize photos to 1000 pixels on the largest side. NO WATERMARKS. My assistant will be managing the entries so that judging will be as blind and fair as possible.


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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)


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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: ryanbrenizer.com/googleplus

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)


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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.


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On the Fence

On the Fence

I’ve always had energy and drive; I think the biggest thing that I’ve developed in nearly 200 weddings is a handy sixth sense for how and when Murphy’s Law will strike and a necessarily unflagging sense of confidence. This job requires you to be a little crazy, and if you’re bringing a bride out to a field like this in heels, you’d better deliver.

Camera: Nikon D3s
Lens: 17-image “Brenizer method” panorama with the Sigma 85mm f/1.4


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Photo of the Day: Playing in Traffic

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.


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Hello (again)!

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:)

Wedded Bliss

A Bridge Just Right

Blossoming.

The Dreaming Tree

New Life to a Tomb

A New World

While the Iron is Hot

Ceci n'est pas une photographie


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