…ith the Brenizer Method, it is absolutely crucial to be shooting in manual mode, with manual focus. The point of the exercise is to be creating an image with the shallowest depth of field possible so you want to be making sure that you are shooting with a lens that enables this. It’s recommended to go with a lens no wider than an 85mm and with a maximum aperture of at least f/…
Not always, my friend. Don’t constrict the definition of a portrait! It’s often the photographer-artist’s prerogative to keep the entire composition in sharp focus.
For instance, look at the work of some of the proponents of what the late Arnold Newman was most famous for: “environmental portraiture.” Many great portrait artists continue to use this aesthetic to compose portraits.
By the way, there are other ways to achieve the “bokeh” effect without using a wide-open aperture. Wide open, a lens is probably not performing at its optimal resolution.