Shallow Pano with Christoph

Here is a pic of my friend Christoph.  It seems like a simple shot but it is comprised of fourteen different photographs.  The reason I did this was to achieve a very unique shallow depth of field look that is almost impossible to achieve with any single lens on a standard DSLR.  The main subject is rendered sharply while a large proportion of the foreground and background is out of focus.  This can be done with a single lens but wide angled lenses typically struggle to achieve this style of blur.  Some call this the Brenizer effect named after photographer Ryan Brenizer although I have a feeling this technique has been done by others in the past before, but perhaps not strictly for this effect.  Click on my image below for a larger version.

Below is a crop of the image.  You can see how shallow the depth of field is.

The technique is actually quite simple and all it involves is using a telephoto lens with a wide aperture (I used the Canon 100m f2) and the Photoshop Photomerge function.

1) Focus and photograph your main subject.

2) Photograph the area around the subject without changing the focus, exposure or white balance.

3) Select the images and merge them in Photoshop (File > Automate > Photomerge)

Voilà! You now have a photograph with incredible subject isolation due to the shallow depth of field while retaining a large portion of the environment in a panoramic format.  It’s actually quite a quick process if you do it right and worth trying out even if you are out shooting a job.  It’s worth mentioning that I shot on a medium resolution setting and the resulting image was still a 51 megapixel file!  You have been warned.

Christoph is also a photographer / photojournalist and writer.  You can check his stuff out on his website featuring his beautiful photography and articles on creativity and journalism.


One thought on “Shallow Pano with Christoph

  1. Really gives a different photographic effect. I understand that photographers may see the uniqueness of this, and know that it is based on an unusual technique, but would a client appreciate it?

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