How to apply the Orton Effect

The Orton Effect
There are several ways to apply this effect. This is only one- but it works quite nicely.

Every now and then I like to apply a trick that you can create in Photoshop to give your pictures a nice soft glow and somewhat out of focus look. It is called "Orton Effect".

purple grass and fog

I used the effect on this picture, because I wanted to add a subtle  soft glow to the red grass. On other pictures the effect creates sometimes a dreamy atmosphere.

Here are two other pictures where I used it:

Tutorial: How to create the Orton Effect

Step 1:

First you have to copy your background picture.

purple grass & fog original
 Step 2:

Then I go to Levels and brighten the copy of the background. I usually set the slider for the mid-tones up to about 1,5 and the slider for the highlights from 255 down to about 230.

That resulted in a much brighter overexposed copy:

Step 3:

Next you have to go to Filters - Blur - Gaussian Blur
I usually set the blur somewhere about 60 to 70 pixel.  And that results in a very blurry pic:

Step 4:

Next thing is to set the blending mode of the background picture from Normal to Multiply!! If the effect is too strong you might reduce the fill or the opacity of the layer.

That is all concerning the effect.

I did some additional processing such as adding textures and correcting the light and the colours. As usual you can take a look at the levels to see what I actually did.

In the case of this picture I had to brighten the foreground (the grass) in several steps, because I lost too much detail with the blurred background copy. In fact all layers that follow including the textures helped to subtly brighten the foreground.

Btw, I used these two textures from my Build your own texture pack:


White Canvas Brushes

Here are two links on the Orton Effect:

Thanks for reading!


  1. Very nice effect.
    I like your blog very much, I have a lot to learn from here so I'll be coming back as often as I can. Thanks!


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