At some point in your photography learning career, you've likely encountered the Brenizer Method. The Brenizer Method, also known as the BokehPanorama, is essentially a panoramic shot. Unlike a classic panoramic shot, you are actually taking a portrait with the aim of making the depth of field shallower and widening the angle of view.
The technique involves shooting several photos in order to achieve a shallower depth of field after the photos are stitched together. It isn't an easy task; a lot of trial-and-error is involved when you start out, but the results can be quite pleasing.
The technique was developed by Ryan Brenizer (or simply made famous by him – there is no way for me to tell for sure!) and is now widely recognized as the Brenizer Method.
Pros: The Brenizer Method allows for a shallower depth of field, often simulating lenses with apertures wider than f/1.2, while using lenses with f/2.0. This method has a unique look in which you can control the bokeh distortion of the images you shoot. You can have a whole body shot with enough bokeh to make the background silky smooth. The resulting image is often much higher in resolution, and depending on the starting image resolution, it can easily reach 50-60 megapixels.
Cons: This technique is really hard to master. It requires the subject to stay still for 10-30 seconds while you take the shots. The photos have to be stitched in post-process, and one or two failed key shots can make the stitching impossible. Also, you can’t really know how the image will turn out until you stitch it. While stitching, be prepared for some weird distortions which you’ll have to fix by hand.
Shooting a Brenizer Panorama isn’t an easy task and it will take loads of practice before you learn how to do it right, and even then you’ll have to hope that Lightroom or Photoshop will do the stitching properly. The trick is to shoot in a spiral fashion, starting from the portrait. Make sure you capture most of the face(s) in the first shot in order to avoid them being distorted in the stitching process since that is the hardest part to fix.
Before you start shooting, make sure your camera is set to Manual, with the white balance set to manual, as well since you want the settings to be exactly the same in each shot to avoid tonal differences. Photographing Brenizer Panoramas with auto focus between each shot will be a total disaster. What you need to do is either focus manually or lock the focus after the first shot. On my Canon, if I focus and hold the shutter release button half way down, the focus will remain the same between each shot. That means that if I press the key half way down to focus, once the camera confirms that the focus is in place, I’m pressing the button all the way down to take a picture, but between each picture I never release the button completely, instead I keep it pressed half way down. On some cameras there is af lock button which will keep the focus locked and make this a bit easier.