The Brenizer Effect With Fantastic Examples

The Brenizer Effect With Fantastic Examples

If you keep up with fstoppers, it's likely you saw some unique portraits posted HERE using the Brenizer Method. This post explains that method a little more. If you want to hear Ryan Brenizer explain his own method, he posted his own video on his website. If you you're too lazy to watch the whole thing though, here's a summary with some examples.

The fundamentals to creating a "Brenizer" photo is to take a panorama portrait at a shallow depth of field (ie using an 80mm lens at f1.8) and stitching it together in photoshop. The result gives you a wide angle picture with a depth of field not possible with any wide angle lens. Check out some of these stunning examples below.











Dylan H0well


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Cool! Gotta try this some time soon! Looks very interesting! 


Paul Monaghan's picture

Love the images above.. I haven't really tried it on people so much.. but its great for cars :)

Teh Kao's picture

Yeah that looks beautiful.  Love it.

joe c's picture

I built this image using this method. I really like the effect!

Robert Simpson's picture

That last shot (red table and chairs) is particularly eye=popping... I can only guess that instead of a long-ish lens it was taken with a shorter prime wide open. It almost looks like a tilt-shift!

Inspiring stuff!

Simon wardenier's picture

Shot this shot at F4 with a manual 135 mm F2.8 lens, I used 15 images to get this result, it was my fourth attempt at using the Brenizer Method...

David Thunander's picture

The effect it awesome but there seems to be some problems with his stitchings. U can clearly see where its been stitched.

Nathan Hamler's picture

The first one looks like a bad stitch...most of the others seem fine...

Mike Dochterman's picture

I think the first one is okay..but looks odd because the reeds to the right of the model have been knocked there isn't any in that plane of focus in that one area..making it look weird

Emmanuel Bena's picture

Is it like an Aperture + focus bracketing ???

perceptionalreality's picture

You can't get depth-of-field this shallow with a wide-angle lens. Wide angle lenses have inherently deeper depth-of-field. So you use a longer lens to get the shallow DoF, then stitch together multiple shots to get the perspective of a wide-angle lens. BRILLIANT. :-D 

Veldask Krofkomanov's picture

That's not completely true. To test this out, take a wide angle lens that has say f2.8 max aperture. Take your picture with a specific area in focus. Next, take a telephoto lens that also can go to f2.8, focus on the same point, and then take however many photos are needed to that same field of view as the wide angle lens. Obviously, at this point, you will have many more pixels, but the out of focus areas will be the same. If at this point you shrink the stiched panorama down to the same exact size as the single shot wide angle photo, you will have identical images. This is how aperture works.

The reason this effect works is because wide angle lenses don't have apertures as large as some of the short telephotos. I have an 85mm f1.2, but there's no wide angle that even comes close. I have a 14mm f2.8, which is fast for a wide, but doesn't even come close compared to an 1.2. The effect simply comes from the ability to reach an aperture that cannot happen in the real world with current lenses.

Jeush Jeurdan's picture

You are the one who misunderstands! :)

That is not how aperture works. The equal apertures means only that the shots on different lenses will be equally exposed at the same shutter speed. The out of focus areas will be VERY different.

At equal distances from a subject, a telephoto lens with the same f-number as a wide lens will have a *much* smaller depth of field. This is because the calculation for the physical depth in focus is an exponential function of focal length, not f-stop number.

To your point: Take an 85mm f/1.4 lens, and a 35mm f/1.4 lens. Both are commercially available for comparable prices. Take a photo of something 10 feet away. The DoF from your 85mm at f/1.4 shot will be OVER SIX TIMES NARROWER (0.23 ft) than the same shot with the 35mm at f/1.4 (1.4 ft).

To look at it another way: if you were to panorama a batch of shots with an 85mm lens that filled the equivalent of a 35mm lens view, you would have effectively taken the shot with a 35mm f/0.57 lens. That's not just "unavailable".

Finally, this all depends on the distance from your subject. To get the same DoF with a wider lens at the same aperture, you would need to be proportionally closer to your subject. So, to get the DoF of a 10-foot-away subject taken with an 85mm with a 35mm, you would need to be 4.1 feet away. Now you'd get tons of distortion, and the effect of the Brenizer (which is in part based on flattened perspective) would be lost. You can get any DoF you want with any lens, provided you can focus close enough.

Joe Dantone's picture

The first one one is a great image but you can see the stitching and it looks like the focus was adjusted in the bottom right corner area.
The 4th image is awesome because it pops so much and the color is amazing, but i'm not to sure its Brenizer method, possible enhanced in post, due to the fact that that focus should be one level plane from your subject, but if you look at the stones in front of them, they are in focus all through the foreground but if you follow the plane of the couple to each outer edge the focus is lost.
I think the best perfected is number 6.

David Coyne's picture

This method is awesome! I gave it a shot today and it works wonderfully! 

Jason Lau's picture

A surprisingly quick and effective technique.  I've had a quick try at this and am pretty happy with my result...

Kasper Thorup's picture

Cheap way to make your photos look like medium/large format portraits.. I get similar results shooting 6x7 on 105mm f/2.4.. 

Julian Jones's picture

I've got a few shots like that before seeing this. It's definitely an interesting method of shooting. Most people wouldn't consider shooting a pano with a 1.8 because only a limited area would be in focus, and the rest would be "wasted space." And, some would argue that you could just back up and shoot the same shot with a wide angle 1.8 lens. 

David Strauss's picture

If you follow up on the info for the first image, it was shot with an 80 mm with a TON of exposures. The equivalent aperture of the final image is f 0.33

Mike Philippens's picture

I did this years ago with my Minolta A2, so I guess it should be called the Philippens Method ;)
I never used this on humans however; it was an old windmill and sadly, I lost the photo.

Satya Varghese Mac's picture

I have to say, the first image looks like HDR and gaussian blur in photoshop.

Please excuse my ignorance - but wouldn't the same affect occur if you just stood further back with a longer lens and kept your DOF shallow? 

Len Currie's picture

 Unfortunately not Michael.. as you step back, the DOF increases exponentially..

ah ok. i'll have to give this a try!

Jens Marklund's picture

First two are badly made. Second, the sky is in focus, but not the trees, wtf?

Mark Dub's picture

I noticed that too. I was thinking the sky was added in post for some pop

Morgan Moller's picture

Is it me or do I not get the point? Couldn't one get the same result shooting a pano with a 70-200 at 2.8 (which would put the background out of focus if you focus manually on the wrong thing) and at 2.8 the subject would be sharp on his position (here you focus on him)?

Dennis Roliff's picture

Interesting technique, but gimmicky. 

tommybyrd's picture

I actually did this on a portrait a while back before I ever heard of the effect.  I was shooting on a 50mm f/1.4 so I could have the image only lit by the candlelight, but I wanted to show more of the scene, so I stitched a few images together.

Barrington Russell's picture

Proof that extreme technical novelty does not necessarily produce beautiful images. 


Christopher Nolan's picture

dig your work

Douglas Sonders's picture

all are pretty cool except the second one... looks off to me

Chris Ingram's picture

Roger that...looks like the sky was dropped in as a composite.

Will Binks's picture

I just call it a 'media format' effect! Shoot with a 85 (Zeiss) on Full frame and make it 1.5 times as wide (Stitch two photos side by side but with 25% cropped on each to effectively give you a feild of view of a 48mm wide sensor (Medium Format width!)

Jernej Lasič's picture

The problem with all these techniques is that people tend to overuse them which results in dodgy, kitschy photographs.
Same as ugly overdone HDR images, this brenizer effect will be misused... or in other words, used just for the sake of using this effect, without any judgement.
Remember, this is just a tool, and every tool can be badly misused.

Jernej Lasič's picture

Like the picture with the baby in the woods.... that is just plain nonsense, using the brenizer. no composition, no critical judgement, no nothing, just the technique... which is utterly wrong in my opinion.

fred lefeuvre's picture

2 "Brenizer" i have done, please give me your feedbacks on it :)
+ a short explanation for the lost french readers

Spy Black's picture

Needs more scantily-clad women...

Spy Black's picture

TBH, I don't see where the panorama is. Some shots maybe, but overall they simply look like shallow DOF pics to me.

Edward Noble's picture

I'm enjoying this technique with vehicles lately:

I also started a Facebook group for the technique here:
Anyone who would like to see other examples or post your own and discuss the technique please feel free to join.