I don’t think there’s too much room to argue with the assumption that we share our photos on social media primarily because we want our family, friends, and followers to enjoy them. I’m not off base here, right? I mean, I know that the driving motivation for sharing my own photos is because I want others to see them. Mind you, that’s entirely different than why I take the photos in the first place. I do that because I love photography and the practice brings me genuine pleasure. But, when it comes to sharing those photos with the world, I’ll admit that my hope is that they’ll be seen and—more importantly—enjoyed by my audience.
One of the ways to facilitate that goal is, obviously, to ensure that the photo is a strong one compositionally-speaking. You also want to ensure that the actual qualities of the photo are eye-catching. The photo needs to be exposed correctly, the colors need to reflect the overall intended mood, and it ideally will present a subject that your viewers find appealing. There’s a good reason, after all, why photos of the Aurora Borealis, vast mountain ranges under a starry night sky, and vibrant coastal sunsets tend to perform better than other subjects. We just love the majesty and awe that those scenes tend to provoke.
When it comes to how photographers present these types of photos, we tend to employ all sorts of editing techniques and wizardry to make them “pop”. Some techniques, like luminosity masking for example, allow you to finesse exposure and color with surgical precision. Meanwhile, other techniques are used with the express purpose of adding a stylistic boost and fundamentally augmenting the original aesthetics. In most cases, that results in adding a rich and dreamy glow to the photo and, more likely than not, the method to achieve that ethereal look comes from the Orton Effect.
Fortunately, applying the Orton Effect isn’t a very complicated process and isn’t as nearly involved as, say, luminosity masking (but, we’re comparing apples to oranges). There are tons of instructional videos and articles that can walk you through adding the Orton Effect using desktop apps like Adobe Photoshop. But, I recently challenged myself to see if I could replicate the workflow solely using my iPhone and the results were impressive. So, in this video, I will walk you through how to add that pop to your photos using the Orton Effect with Adobe PS Express on the iPhone. The app is also available for Android, so no worries there.