One way to increase an image’s drama is to add environmental elements such as water.
The best way to add digital water to a photograph is by using Flaming Pear Software’s Flood Photoshop-compatible plug-in. Although in this example I use the plug-in with full-fledged Adobe Photoshop, many inexpensive image editing programs including Adobe Photoshop Elements support Photoshop compatible plug-ins, so you can apply this same technique using a program that costs less than $100.
Before the “flood”: For this specific example I picked my photograph of the Eiffel Tower in Paris (not the one in Las Vegas) because everybody knows there isn't any lake in front of it. ©2005 Joe Farace
Just add water: Flaming Pear Software’s Flood plug-in has lots of controls, but before you play in the digital water, it’s important to set the level using the plug-in’s Horizon setting. A preview window shows exactly where the water level will be. The simplest approach to create water effects is to click on the “dice” in the interface that throws random combinations at you. You can refine one of these combinations with the sliders or just keep clicking until you find one that you like and then use the sliders to refine it. I find it works faster that way than using the sliders first, but you may not.
April fool! The final look of Lake Eiffel creates the effect that matches my concept of a peaceful lake with a light breeze. TIP: Sometimes you want to add a lake or body of water to an image and there’s no room at the bottom of the photograph. In that case, you can add more picture area by using Photoshop’s Canvas Size (Image > Canvas Size) to the bottom of the photograph. In Photoshop Elements that command is found in the Image > Resize > Canvas Size menu. The extra space will be blank but since you’re going to be adding digital water using the Flood plug-in it doesn’t matter anyway!
Joe Farace is the author of “Getting Started in Digital Imaging” published by Focal Press (ISBN 024080838X.) It’s available in all the best bookstores as well as Amazon.com.