The Brenizer Method: How to Shoot Stunning Panoramic Portrait Photos

You’ve probably heard of the Brenizer Method a lot in the past few months. And in truth, it’s a super fun method that can give you results you couldn’t have made otherwise. At least, you could’ve have done these without a medium format camera, large format camera, or wider super-fast aperture lens. In this post, we’re going to dive into posts we’ve done on the Brenizer Method over our years of publishing. We’ll showcase photographers who’ve done it, how to do it, the history, and more.

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The Medium Format Look: Creating Panoramic Portraits

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer The Brenzier Effect tutorial portraits (1 of 3)ISO 16001-80 sec at f - 1.4

Otherwise known as the Brenizer Effect but colloquially called panoramic portraits–this is the act of taking multiple images of a static subject and stitching them together in Photoshop. The result is something that looks like it was shot on a medium format lens and sensor/film plane due to the wide field of view but very shallow depth of field.

Doing them is fairly simple–though there are considerations that you’re going to need to remember along with having a lot of patience while your software of choice processes through an image like this.

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A Panoramic Portrait Created a Happy Accident That Looks Like Cubism

Chris Gampat Adam Koblers images (2 of 3)ISO 16001-80 sec at f - 1.4

It’s a known fact to many that I shoot many times per week. While working on an upcoming tutorial for the site on panoramic portraits, I merged a bunch of images together for said tutorial. The exposure stayed constant and nothing about the lighting really changed. However, when looking at the final image that Photoshop Elements gave me, I saw this weird rendering. It looks a bit like cubism and a bit like many photos were printed and literally stitched together. Granted, Picasso’s cubism often involved portraits where one part of a face was in a spot where it shouldn’t be.

In color, it looked awful–but then when converting the processed image to black and white, it looked awesome.

So why did this happen? Udi Tirosh from DIYPhotography figured that since I shot this with a Sigma 85mm f1.4 on a 5D Mk II that vignetting happened due to my shooting wide open. So he believes that the vignetting made the exposures irregular when Photoshop tried to merge the images together. Because of this, I got the weird cubed effect. The fact that I was shooting in a dark atmosphere also adds to the reason why this came out looking like this.

Either way, I personally like it for artistic reasons.