This was a very last minute shoot with model Andrea Leigh. I asked Andrea what she had in mind for this shoot and she simply replied, “Something crazy”. She is off to Milan now with her new modelling agency. I trust they saw some of that fire that she showed in this shoot.
Photographer: Jason Lau
Model: Andrea Leigh
Make up: Danielle Beiermann
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.
For anyone searching for a way to make contact sheets with Adobe Photoshop CS5, you will quickly learn that it does not exist. You have to upload a separate plugin for this. Why they left it out is beyond me as it is a very useful tool to create a document that allows you to quickly preview a shoot and even print it off for a client.
So here is the link… Photoshop Contact Sheet. Install the “Optional Plugins” file and start up Photoshop.
To use this plugin, go to File>Automate>ContactSheetII and use the menu to customise your contact sheet. Enjoy!
Above is a photo shoot I did for an exhibition a few years ago.