Practicing the Brenizer Technique

Ryan Brenizer‘s work was first introduced to me by a close friend (for those who know him, Andy P) and I’ve been a fan since. His site has entered into my daily site check rota. He has an obvious passion for photography but its more his thirst for ever evolving and developing his goody bag of techniques that i find most fascinating. From instantaneous flash, continuous video light or even iPhone right down to spotting strange, astray splashes of light in a parking lot, the way he has learned to observe his surrounding for light is admirable.

The Brenizer Technique has also been called a Bokeh Panorama or for short a “bokehrama”. This name gives away a little more on whats behind the technique.

So what is the Brenizer Technique ?

We know that as we get closer to our subject with a fixed focal length, they fill more of the frame, BUT, the closer we focus our lens, the shallower the depth of field becomes. Much like someone shooting a landscape may shoot many photos from a single vantage point and later stitch them to create a panorama, here we shoot many photos closer to our subject and later stitch them for form a wider image.

Since there is already many good tutorials and explanations online, one from Ryan himself here:

And on his site:

Developing your own approach to shooting a Bokehrama

Like anything, getting comfortable with this new method involves practice, so practice we did. I enlisted some of my fellow photography loving friends as models and got shooting! Unfortunately its been so long since I shot these (and I’m away from my main PC) I cant recall what lens I used but I have since settled on the 85mm f/1.8 for most bokehrama attempts.

Comments 1

[…] We found a nice spot where Andy fired off a few shots and where we tried some slightly “out of the ordinary” lighting set-ups to experiment. The second location we found  (I always let Andy go first, its harder :P) it was my turn to shoot. Having invested so much over the last 4 years in equipment which I’ve always taken great care of, I was extremely pissed to find when I mounted the Nikkor 70-200mm f2.8 on camera, I couldn’t see anything threw the viewfinder. It turns out an element inside the lens had fallen out!  So, as light was diminishing, mainly due to heavy rain clouds heading in, I put the 70-200 away and got the 85mm prime out. Mounted that and went to shoot, whats this, fEE error ? My aperture is locked at max (usually the cause of this error message), and yet,  the camera would not let me shoot. After a short session of swearing at the camera body, lens and Nikon in general the engineer within worked out that if I didn’t fully mount the lens, it would think it was a manual lens and ignore the requirement of the aperture ring. Of course this left me with no metering, no autofocus and having to ensure the lens doesn’t fall off the front. To make my life even more complicated, I thought it may be fun to use the Brenizer method (Invented by: also nick named a Bokehrama. See post about getting in lots of practice for situations like this: Practicing the Brenizer Technique […]


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