2016 PHOTOCHALLENGE, WEEK 10: OUTDOOR – Brenizer Method

Most of you are probably wondering what the “BRENIZER METHOD” is… It’s simple, it’s a technique by which you simulate the look of an image captured on a larger format camera by taking many pictures with your smaller format camera. The technique was pioneered by New York Wedding Photographer, Ryan Brenizer.
Steven & Cyndi | The Long And Winding Road//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Wikipedia defines it as : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brenizer_Method (Please Read)

“The Brenizer Method is a photographic technique popularized by photographer Ryan Brenizer. It is characterized by the creation of a digital image exhibiting a shallow depth of field in tandem with a wide angle of view by use of panoramic stitching techniques applied to portraiture. The combination of these characteristics enables a photographer to mimic the look of large format film photography with a digital camera. Large format cameras use a negative that is at least 4×5 inches (102×127 mm) and are known for their very shallow depth of field when using a wide aperture and their unique high level of clarity, contrast and control. Image sensor formats of common digital cameras, in comparison, are much smaller, ranging down to the tiny sensors in camera phones. The Brenizer method increases the effective sensor size of the camera, simulating the characteristics of large format photography.”

It may sound difficult, but it’s barely slightly more work than creating a stitched panorama. In fact it’s often referred to as the “BOKEH PANORAMA

There’s even a FLICKR GROUP dedicated to images captured using the BRENIZER METHOD : https://www.flickr.com/groups/1121852@N21/ 

It’s not only filled with tons of examples, there’s a discussion thread that should answer most of your questions.

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Here are a few tips to capture your image:

  • I haven’t done this in a long time but I suggest using a 50mm/85mm on a crop factor or a 85mm/105mm on a Full Frame.
  • I definitely recommend using a tripod at first. It’s not 100% necessary but it helps.
  • Set your camera to manual focus. (You can acquire your subject with AUTO-FOCUS but once your subject is in focus, switch your camera/lens to manual focus)
  • Set your white balance manually. This will prevent inconsistencies that can sometimes occur with automatic white-balance.
  • Set your exposure to manual. This will make sure your scene is equally exposed throughout every frame.
  • Open your aperture to maximize the BOKEH effect of out of focus areas. Use the shallowest depth of field possible for your subject.
  • It’s a good idea to apply lens correction prior to stitching the images to reduce mismatching due to distortion.


Some shoot using a circular motion starting from the center, clockwise and expanding out at every turn. I find that confusing and hard to relate and overlap your images in post processing. I use an horizontal motion from the top left, shooting to the right and overlapping images. Like a typewriter, I lower the angle and start again from left to right until I have reached the bottom right corner of my scene.


You will need to stitch your images. If they are JPEG images your camera may already have applied lens correction. If you shoot raw, I recommend applying lens correction and the same identical basic processing steps for every image prior to stitching. You can complete your post processing of the image once the stitching is successful.

To stitch your images you can use Photoshop (maybe even lightroom now). There’s a free Panorama Image Stitcher for Linux, Mac and Windows called HUGIN. Windows users can also download and use for free the Microsoft Composite Image Editor (ICE)

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In order to complete your challenge you will have to shoot OUTDOORS. Your subject can be anything or anyone. Try and have your subject relatively close to you compared to surrounding objects. This will maximize the effect keeping your subject crisper in comparison to the out of focus environment of your scene. You probably will have to practice a few times before you shoot your final image.


The rules are pretty simple:

  • Post one original photograph (Your Image) shot each week per theme posted on this blog to Google+Facebook, or Flickr (or all three). Tag the photo #photochallenge.org or #photochallenge2016.
  • The shot should be a new shot you took for the current weekly theme, not something from your back catalog or someone else’s image.
  • The posted image should be a photograph, not a video.
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2016 PhotoChallenge is fun and easy.


DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY SCHOOL – https://digital-photography-school.com/5-steps-to-rock-the-brenizer-method/


About Steve Troletti

I'm a Location Scout, Editorial, Nature, Wildlife and Environmental Photographer based in Malibu, California. I specialize in Nature and Urban Nature photography including Infrared Landscapes. The Bulk of my work takes place in the Los Angeles, California area, Greater Montreal Region, Canada, Switzerland, France and Varese in Northern Italy. Ethical wildlife photography is the main priority and focus of my work. A minimum disturbance of the animals, their habitat and the environment is my top priority. This applies as much to total wilderness areas as it does to urban nature environments. Ongoing education of environmental issues and building awareness for the protection of wildlife and wilderness areas around the world is what drives me to document the beauty that surrounds us.