Multiorbital correlated materials are often on the verge of multiple electronic phases (metallic, insulating, superconducting, charge and orbitally ordered), which can be explored and controlled by small changes of the external parameters. The use of ultrashort light pulses as a mean to transiently modify the band population is leading to fundamentally new results. In this paper we will review recent advances in the field and we will discuss the possibility of manipulating the orbital polarization in correlated multi-band solid state systems. This technique can provide new understanding of the ground state properties of many interesting classes of quantum materials and offers a new tool to induce transient emergent properties with no counterpart at equilibrium. We will address: the discovery of high-energy Mottness in superconducting copper oxides and its impact on our understanding of the cuprate phase diagram; the instability of the Mott insulating phase in photoexcited vanadium oxides; the manipulation of orbital-selective correlations in iron-based superconductors; the pumping of local electronic excitons and the consequent transient effective quasiparticle cooling in alkali-doped fullerides. Finally, we will discuss a novel route to manipulate the orbital polarization in a a k-resolved fashion.