Intro to Bokeh Panoramas

February 26, 2012

Though I’ve blogged on the subject before, I never really got deep down in the nitty gritty of bokeh panoramas. My passion for the technique has seen a comeback, so this will be the first of a small series documenting how to wield this awesome method!

First things first…

What’s a Bokeh Panorama*?

To best understand the beauty of bokeh panoramas, take into account this common predicament…

You’re out on a shoot with a fast telephoto lens and want to capture a scene that can’t quite fit in your viewfinder. You could swap out for a wide angle lens, but you’ll lose the narrow depth-of-field (DoF) of your telephoto lens.

By employing the basic idea of a panorama — that is, stitching together a series of overlapping photographs to create a wider field of view (FoV) — and executing it with a mid-range or telephoto lens, you get a bokeh panorama. All the perks of a wider angle lens, but with the glory of a telephoto lens: Bokeh!

* You may be more familiar with the term Brenizer Method, named after Ryan Brenizer who popularized bokeh panoramas amongst the wedding and portrait communities.

For the Visual Learners

Below are some examples I prepared for this post. If you’re on Flickr, I also have a set for bokeh panoramas.

brenizer methods - Brenizer Method
14 photo stitch // Nikon D700 // Nikkor 85mm f/1.8
brenizer methods - Brenizer Method
7 photo stitch // Nikon D700 // Nikkor 50mm f/1.8
brenizer methods - Brenizer Method
23 Photo Stitch // Nikon D700 // Nikkor 85mm f/1.8
brenizer methods - Brenizer Method
7 photo stitch // Nikon D700 // Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 Micro

By stitching together several photos I was able to achieve a much more shallow DoF as well as a FoV that would’ve been otherwise impossible with my given equipment. For example, in the first panorama I was sitting at a small table with an 85mm lens. In a single frame I only captured a tight crop of my subject’s face from the neck up. But with 14 frames stitched together, I got the whole scene.

Delicious DoF aside, that’s what I really love the most about bokeh panoramas — they take an impossible situation, and make it possible.

* * *

I’m going to leave it at that for now. In the next installment I’ll go over what you need and how to shoot them, and then I’ll post about putting all the pieces together.

If you have any particular question about bokeh panoramas that you’d like to have addressed, feel free to leave a comment below or email me and I’ll do my best to answer it for you!


[…] week I gave a brief introduction to the bokeh panorama — aka the “Brenizer Method” — for those who weren’t already familiar. […]

Tried it with d7000 + 50 1.8, tripod mounted, tethered to notebook using NKRemote, and stitched immediately with Kolor Autopano Giga, works flawlessly! Done under 6 minutes!

[…] Panoramas, Pt. II by Kim on Mar 4, 2012 • No Comments Last week I gave a brief introduction to the bokeh panorama for y’all who weren’t already familiar. This week I’m going to dig into the […]

[…] for a walk in the new neighborhood. That’s when I met Griffin and successfully made my first bokeh panorama of a cat (that wasn’t […]

Oh, wow. That cafe portrait is incredible. I am often cursing not having a wide angle, this would definitely help! (At least for subject that will sit still long enough. Some dogs…not so much.) :) Looking forward to part 2!

The magic of the impossible is pretty much blowing my mind. But mostly it’s that you execute these so seamlessly. Impressed.

Cool! I can’t wait to give this a shot (or 12) :).

Hah! :) We’ll definitely have to fire one off at the wedding in May!

Stinking…awesome…post. Your follow ups will be forever bookmarked. Keep it coming! (get well soon, too)

I’m really excited for this. I’ve been doing this in little spurts, but never as good as these ones! (And certainly not with people, mostly with food or product.) Great work, and I can’t wait to see the next post! :)

Thanks Cara! Trying it out on inanimate objects is definitely a good way to start, but I’ll definitely be covering people/cats in the next post.

I love these technical posts! The visual learning part is also super helpful, so thanks.

dude, yes please, have another post on how to! i’ve always been interested but haven’t researched how it’s done.

i’m loving these techie posts you’ve been doing. :)

There’s a really nifty tutorial here, if you want to read! Very useful!

Though I’m sure Kim’s how-to post will have lots of unique tidbits of advice that will shed new light onto the technique! =)

I love all of these shots, Kim! They are so flawlessly stitched together!

These are so good Kim. I’ve never used this method, so I think I’ll give it a shot now!