Use The Brenizer Technique To Shoot Wide-Angle Photos With Shallow Depth-of-Field

If you're trying to get a unique look on your photos without applying a bunch of unnecessary filters, here's an advanced technique that can give you a dramatically wide shot with seemingly impossible depth-of-field. Here's how it works.

In this video from Practical Photography Magazine, photographer James Abbott shows how he uses the Brenizer technique to achieve this unique look. The striking result sort of looks like it was shot on a large format camera. For reference, Abbott uses a 35mm f/1.4 lens (the equivalent of a 50mm f/1.8 on a full-frame camera).

Essentially how it works is that Abbott takes a series of photos close to the main subject — in this case, a car — and locks the focus plane to the car. He then shoots all the surrounding area while standing in place. It's similar to shooting a string of photos that you will later stitch together to create a panorama, but you'll also want to shoot above and below the subject. It's almost like shooting a photo-sphere.

Consistency is key. After setting the focus on the car, he switches to manual mode so that camera's focus and exposure never change for the series of 40 or 50 photos. After processing the photos with identical colour corrections, Abbott then uses the Photomerge function in Photoshop to connect all the images together. If you don't have Photoshop, there are free options to try.

That's basically all there is to it. Watch the video for a more thorough explanation and demonstration of how to use the Brenizer technique to get a unique and fascinating look.

Discover the Brenizer Technique [Practical Photography Magazine]


    Loves the word "really!" 21 times. As if it would not really be true, or we would not really believe him, otherwise.

    The link to "other free Options" points to an article on sex and mattresses.

      I have no idea what happened with that link, but it has been fixed! Thanks for flagging :)

    The link to photoshop alts. goes to a page on mattresses...I suppose that's an alternative to photoshop, but with different results.

    I suspect using a panoramic head would dramatically improve the results in terms of parallax errors. I'm amazed it was even possible for him to combine those images without very obvious issues showing up in the final image.

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