As a fine-art photographer for the past nineteen years I've come up against my fair share of
technological challenges in photography. The shift from film to digital was monumental!
In this blog I'd like to share with you what I've found to be some of the most useful PhotoShop
techniques when working with my digital images. I hope that they will make your life a bit easier
as you work with your images. Have fun!

Welcome to my "Photoshop Tips for Photographers" Blog

Please Note: These tips have been prepared using Photoshop CS3.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Orton Effect or Creating a Slide Sandwich

The Orton Effect gives an image a dreamlike quality. This technique was originally invented by Michael Orton. It involves taking two exact images, blurring one and then layering it over the sharp image. Before digital, Orton created the sandwich by layering two emulsion slides together. This lesson will show us how we can create a digital "sandwich" in Photoshop by using Layers and get pretty much the same results.  Click on any image to enlarge.
  • Select an image and open it up in Photoshop. Make a duplicate of the image (Image>Duplicate) so that you are not working on your original. Close the original image.
  • Lighten your image by changing the Blend Mode. Go to Image>Apply Image and change your Blending Mode to Screen. Make sure the Opacity is set to 100%. Your image will now appear to be Overexposed.
  • Now duplicate this image. Go to Image>Duplicate.
  • Blur the duplicated image. Go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur. Set your Radius to somewhere between 10 and 80 pixels. The smaller file size of your image, the less blur you will choose (small file=small radius; larger file=large radius). You can experiment with different radius choices. 
  • Select your Move Tool from the Toolbar. Hold down the Shift Key and drag your blurred image onto the sharp one.
  • Make sure your Layers Palette is visible. Go to Windows>Layer to bring it up if it isn't already. Change your Blend Mode from Normal to Multiply. 
  • Without any further adjustments you have a dreamy fine art picture! 
  • Flatten your image. (Layer>Flatten) And then Save it!


    1. Using the Orton Effect, you can create images that are impressionistic, ethereal, and surreal.The principles of this technique can also be used in graphics programs like Photoshop to achieve a similar effect.
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