3 Different Ways to Create Beautiful Orton Effect

3 Different Ways to Create Beautiful Orton Effect

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Giuseppe Sapori - Frostbite Touch

The Orton Effect is a glow effect added to photographs in post-production. I’ts largely used in landscape to create a dreamy effect. The Orton Effect found applications also in portrait photography and it is used to create a surreal impact. For this reason it is very used by photographer during editing

The Orton effect consisted of superimposing two or more images of the same scene with very different exposure characteristics on a slide. Of these, one is perfectly focused while the others are blurry

Being a widespread effect in photography I noticed that it is also full of tutorials about how to make it, but it seems that everyone does this in a different way from the others and there is no standard way to accomplish it

That is why I did my guide within the orton effect to make it three different typologies that I usually use:



1. Duplicate your background layer by holding Ctrl+J, or CMD+J on a Mac.

2. With this new layer selected, go to Image>Apply Image. Make sure your settings are the same as the settings in the image below

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3. Next change the Blend Mode of the top layer to Multiply. This will darken the image

4. Go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur. While looking at the image, change the Radius until you have the

effect you are looking for, then press Ok

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1. Duplicate twice your background layer by holding Ctrl+J, or CMD+J on a Mac

2. With the first layer, go to Image>Apply Image. Make sure your settings are the same as the settings in the image below, repeat it twice

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3. Now go to the layer on top and Go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur. While looking at the image, change the Radius until you have the effect you are looking for, then press Ok

4. Merge all layers and set Screen as blending mode



1. Duplicate twice your background layer by holding Ctrl+J, or CMD+J on a Mac

2. Deselect the layer on top than with the second go to Go to Blur>Gaussian Blur set it between 20/25

3. Go to Image>Adjustments to increase brightness and contrast, then decrease the opacity to 10%


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4. Now make visible the layer on top,  go to Filters>Others>High Pass and put radius as your personal taste

5. Group all layers

My 2016

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As usual, also this year, as every year, it will be back of my annual photo composition. This is a photo manipulation obtained with all top elements of my year. In this photo manipulation every thing, object and person you see has its own meaning, its importance, its memory, a moment that I wanted to remember and keep with special affection in this 2016.  Places visited, travels, personal goals and all that was dear to me is pictured here. This is a representation of my 2016, a very personal meaning… but I hope to leave to you the fascination look of the picture that I hope will leave field even for your imagination. I hope you will appreciate the work…
Enjoy it

How to Sharpen and Resize Photos for Web

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After each photo editing a very important step is the final one: saving for web. This is a very important passage to upload photos for web and social networks in a small format. Below the passages to create a final sharpen and resize photos for web.

Take the photo already finished to save it for web, first thing let’s resize it.

Go to Image>Duplicate this will create a copy of the photo in a new window, then go to

Image>Image size and change the resolution in 72 Dpi. The width/height width will change automatically, once that’s done change below in Bicubic Smoother (enlargement).


Once resized, let’s continue with the sharpening . In the new window duplicate layer, rename it “Sharpen and Resize” and go to Filters>Sharpen>Unsharp Mask. Set a smaller radius (0.5) and higher strength (100/120), you can change theese values as your personal taste but usually theese values works the best.


Once sharpening applied we need to resize again the image, this time as the final width/height desired, go again to Image>Image size and change the width or height (it depends if you have a orizontal or vertical photo) for the final size of the photo, for web I usually set it on 1000px on the long size.


The final step to sharpen and resize photos for web it to save the photo. Go to File>Save As and set the your desired final quality. And that’s it. Just choose a name you want and save it 🙂

If you know other techniques to sharpen and resize your photos, comment below this post and let me know it, I love hear it from you!


Dodge and Burn – 2 non destructive techniques compared

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It is quite common to have to raise or lower the level of exposure in our pictures. The Dodge and Burn tools in Photoshop are used to either lighten underexposed areas of a photo or darken overexposed areas. The terms “dodge” and “burn” refer to techniques that were used to either lighten (dodge) or darken (burn) specific areas of a picture by increasing or limiting the exposure in those areas. Unfortunately Dodge and Burn tools  do not work on the original pixels and can cause permanent damage to our image.

One of the most used and efficient Dodge and Burn method is by using a 50% grey layer: this method allows you to create a dodge and burn very effective not being at the same time too intrusive


How to apply Dodge and Burn using 50% grey


1. Create a new layer;

2. In the new Layer dialog box select overlay and Fill with Overlay-neutral color (50% gray). (The new layer created will set automatically on Overlay and in the layer’s preview you wull see it filled in grey);

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 3.  Select the Dodge Tool and paint all the areas that need to be lightened;

4.  Select the Burn Tool with the same opacity and paint all the areas that need to be darkened

If you get a look at the grey thumbnail for the “Dodge and Burn” layer in the Layers palette, you can see all the areas  painted with black or white like the image below


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Although I consider this method one of most valid in dodge and burn technique, but I prefer to use the technique with direct brush using separate layers


How to apply dodge and burn using separate layers

Simply by creating two empty levels and by drawing directly above them. The steps and the process of this method of dodge and burn can be even more simple than 50% gray method but it requires more precision and attention in the paint

1. Create two separate layers. The first one will be your Dodge, the second your Burn tool;

2. Select a white brush and paint inside the Dodge layer using a very low opacity, around 2%;

3. Select a black brush and paint inside the Burn layer using a very low opacity, around 2-5%

as you can see this time go to paint directly on the image , but with such low opacity where you will not even need to change the blending mode

I prefer this dodge and burn method, using the separate layers because it is the most versatile. Painting directly on the separate layers it allows to create levels as many are your needs, for example you can create a new layer to increase dodge/burn of greens, blues, yellows etc… or if you need to intensify the brightness of a color , without apply  filters

It is very usefull when you want to lighten/darken some colored areas of your image, a typical example is the use of this third method on the milky way, to make more visible some of it’s colors. In this case:


1. Create a new layer

2. Use the color picker tool and sample the color you need to dodge/burn

3. Set the opacity around 10%-20% and paint directly on the area you need

4. Change the blending mode to soft light

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You can create as many layers as you need to create dodge and burn, using this simply method. Below you will find the before/after of a light dodge and burn applied in my image


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Giuseppe Sapori - Mechanisms

After the beautiful days in Seville I went in the no less beautiful Valencia, here the photography spots are very much and I started precisely with a picture very representative of the city, the view of the Cathedral of Valencia,very big and with high ceilings it guards inside the cup of Holy Grail. The Cathedral of Valencia although it is a very important visit spot has a flow of tourists very well spread out in groups, this allows to visit it calmly without the crowd of people, and above all take pictures without too many tourists in front of the lens 🙂
When I took this picture I had in mind a vertorama and I did different tests at various distances in the nave of the cathedral, the main difficulty was trying to reconnect with those columns from the top to the bottom, without the help of the tripod, but I found that with photomerge function Photoshop CC2015 with a steady hand they can make beautiful collage. I combined the images and processed entirely the result with Camera Raw.



Camera: Nikon D-800

Lens: Nikon 14-24mm f/2,8 (Shot at 14mm)

Single shot (up to down)

ISO: 250 at f/2,8

Software: Photoshop CC2015

Tutorial: Bracketed Landscape with Focus Stacking

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The technique of the Focus Stacking consists in taking a series of pictures gradually changing the focus between the one and the other; being processed will join the shots, taking advantage of each image only those parts that appear to be in focus. In landscape photography the main rule is to focus all the elements of the foreground and take some exposure for the sky or highlights.

When i was at the lake in Campo Imperatore I shot a large number of exposures to focus on all the rocks it was, sky and mountain. When I go home indeed I realized that I really need only one of the exposures for the foreground, and only one of exposures for the mountain, focus stack all the rocks one by one in this case was not so necessary, cause the focus was pratically the same for each rock. I did not think about it 🙂

So in this tutorial I will show you how to apply focus stacking in a foregrounded landscape using Bracketing mode and how I use other exposures for my final image.


Shooting and preparing the images

I took a series of exposures bracketed images ( -1 , 0, +1 ) for the rocks in the foreground and an additional bracketed series of shots focusing the mountain set on ∞  ( -1 , 0 + 1 ).

Added to this, there is another shot that I took in the late evening to replace the mountain covered by clouds. For a total of 7 exposures.



I take all the shots using tripod, ISO 100 and f/11

Below all the steps I do that show you  how to focus stack and how to make a blend with additional exposure


Stacking and Auto Blending

1. Launch Lightroom and select all the stack images.

2. Right Click on the images selected. Develop settings>Sync Settings

3. Adjust for all the stacked images,  distortion,  white balance, contrast ecc…

4. Right Click again and select Edit In > Open as Layers in Photoshop

5. Select all the layers and Go to Edit>Auto-Align Layers, with settings as follow:

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6.  Regroup layers by exposure.

For a 2 series of bracketing (-1; 0 +1) x 2 I had 2 overexposed, 2 correct and 2 underexposed images.

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7. Highlight images by group and blend them, Edit>Auto-Blend Layer like below:

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Photoshop will blend the highlighted images creating a layer mask for each image, to show in white the sharp and in black the hidden areas. Select this layers and merge them.


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Theese three images are now a “Bracketed Focus Stacked Series”, you can now edit them with Photoshop as you do with a normal bracketing series.  I usually edit theese shots using Luminance Masks to select all the brights and shadows I need without affecting the entire picture in order to create a final quality image.


Exposure Blend

Remember the seventh exposure that I said at the beginning? I’ve taken it just before leaving the location, cause I had seen that the mountain began to discover from the clouds. In that picture I had masked only this part of the mountain without affecting the sky.

1. Put the new layer at the top, and auto align again with Edit>Auto-Align Layers

2. Create layer mask and click (Ctrl+I; PC) or (Cmd+I MAC) to invert it

3. Select now a white brush and paint in the areas of the sky that you want to blend in

4. Press( Ctrl+E; PC) or (Cmd+E; MAC) to merge layers

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The final question is “How many images do I need, and where should they be focused?”

The answer depends on what your scene looks like and what effect you’re trying to achieve.

At a minimum, you need to have each scene element you need be sharp, at least one (or a series of bracketing shots)

Sometimes you can do that by focusing specifically on each element you care about. For example in presence of many close-up elements in the foreground, ( leafs, flowers and other things that wind can move). In this case take many exposure as for the element you need.



How to Increase Details Selectively

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The selective application of digital Photoshop editings are now a crucial prerequisite in contemporary digital photography. This applies not only to details but to all those kinds of interventions that affects our images; so them  colors, details, lights, contrasts etc… To obtain a good image is therefore essential to know how to master the application of selective elements, details in this case are a factor of particular importance for the selective application. Let’s see how to do it:


– Duplicate Layer

– Select Black and White adjustment layer

– Change the Blending mode in Hard Light

– Go to Filters>Others>High Pass  and put radius as follow


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Now create a layer mask and fill it with black color MAC (Cmd+I) PC(Ctrl+I).

Your layer mask will be look like this. Black mask has the effect of hide the High Pass filter applied.


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Now select the White Brush and set the opacity aroud 30% (you can set an higher value for a stronger effect).

By painting the various elements, you are selectively showing the details in the affected areas 🙂

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How to enhance sunset colours

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Taking shots during sunset it means to take them during the golden hour. All the best images whether at sunset dawn share the beauty and the advantage of the warm light intense that only the golden hour can offer

Personally I shoot in RAW, which as you know does not shine in the tackle, so every time I come to edit a photo of beautiful sunsets are always looking for something that can make it sharper and more visual impact.
Hence I decided to create this little guide that contains all my main interventions to make a impressive sunset:



1- Select Curves and switch to Red Channel

2- move the curve upward to intensify red colours

3- switch to Blue Channel

4- move the curve downward to intensify yellow colours


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Now click on “Elliptical Marque Tool” and draw a circle inside the image, this will be the area, this will be the area affected by the intervention of the yellow enhance effect

Invert the selection Ctrl + I (or Cmd+I on Mac)

Deselect Ctrl+D (or Cmd +I on Mac)

and invert again

Now the image should result like this:

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Go to > Filters > Blur >Gaussian Blur and select an high value of blur.

Now the effect will be applied in a diffuse way on the whole image, decrease opacity until the point that you like

This is the final result

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1- Go to Photo Filter and select a warming filter (numer 81 or 85)

2- Pull it until 100


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3- Select > Image >Apply image and take care that the settings are as follows:

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Repeat the last passage (3) until you are happy, decrease opacity if if you prefer a more soft effect

This is the final result

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How to improve colors – Lab Coloring Tutorial

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LAB Coloring it ‘a management technique of colors. It is different from RGB that is additive method based on the three colors red, green and blue, from which its name RGB.

In LAB color instead is a color space-opponent with the size L for brightness, and a and b for color ranges. The Lab color space includes all perceivable colors, which means RGB and CMYK color range.

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HDR Before/After – Vitaleta

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I love the isolated places like this… the choice of the scene in peace to wait for the right moment to shoot. In those moments you think only at the spend of time without worrying about other things as often happens in cities with traffic cars and especially tourists 😀

I made this HDR with  five exposures with a gap of 1 (-2, -1, 0 + 1, +2). Then I merged the images with Photoshop CC with the function “Merge to HDR Pro”. I have to say that I was in doubt whether to use this function or flatten individual as I usually only using layer masks, but for this picture the HDR Pro function was very satisfactory so i kept this version. The rest of the interventions were all made using Camera Raw and masking the effect in the desired areas. I work particularly  in  lights and colors effects, some detail has been added on the buildings and on the turf, as a final touch, I created a small vignette to give more depth to the image.



Site Founder

Hi, my name is Giuseppe Sapori, a professional photographer and author of this website, created by yours truly to show my work and share with you the techniques I use. My expertise is in the field of Landscape Photography... (Read More)

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