Adding the “Wet Street” Look to Your Car Photographs

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

When it comes to photographing cars, one of the most famous film noir effects is the “wet streets” look that adds all kinds of interesting reflections to an image.

One way to increase the drama for one of your car photographs is to add environmental elements such as water and you don’t even need a hose. The simplest way to add digital water is by using Flaming Pear Software’s Flood Photoshop-compatible plug-in.

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 creating water effects with Flood is to click on the “dice” icon that throws random combinations at you as fast as you can click. Just keep clicking until you find one that you like and then use the sliders to tweak the effect to produce the look that you really like. You can refine any combination you like by using any of the sliders.  Most people will find it works faster that way than using the sliders first but why not try it both ways.

I started with a color photograph of my old Jaguar XJ-6 that was shot with a Leica Digilux 2 with an exposure of 1/2000 sec at f/2 and ISO 200. I converted the finished image from color to black and white using Silver Efex Pro to give it the full, gritty film noir look. The main thing about this process is to have fun with your photography and Flood is one of the ways that I use to “play” with my photographs.

Tip: Sometimes you may 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 to the image by using Photoshop’s Canvas Size (Image > Canvas Size) to enlarge the bottom of the photograph. The extra space will be blank but since you’re going to be adding digital water in that space using the Flood plug-in it doesn’t matter!

PS. The water in the photograph of my old XJ-S ( I have a love-hate relationship with Jaguars) in the Photographing Your Own Car blog post was also created using Flood.



Along with photographer Barry Staver, Joe is co-author of Better Available Light Digital Photography that’s out-of-print but new copies are available for $21.88 or used copies for giveaway prices—less than four bucks—from Amazon, as I write this.