my world-famous wolf spider meme!

I shot a pic of a wolf spider on the side of a concrete block and then cut him out in Photoshop and placed him on the side of the house. I uploaded it on Facebook ... someone unknown to me downloaded it, made a meme, re-posted it and it took off! Fortunately for me, I put my url in the lower left corner of the picture and the thief did not remove it, which led everyone back to me...and that is why my copyright notices are blasted across every pic on this site. 

So if you've seen this pic, I DID IT. It's on 6 hoax sites including


2: Samples: Restoration, CD and Book Design, Colorizing, etc

Digital Art and Photo Manipulation by Paul Santa Maria

First of all, my apologies for slapping my url on all pictures, but I have found my pictures used on other websites before, so this is to thwart theft, not for incessant promotion.

Secondly, what I do is take any photo (old family heirloom pics, recent wedding pictures, baby photos, pet photos, vacation photos, home photos) and scan them so that they're saved and then do my magic to a copy of the photo - like colorize, fix tears and such, (remove people in case you have a great pic and maybe broke up with someone, or put someone missing into a photo) and work on the copy creating a whole new picture. **PLEASE scroll down to the section 2 called "Ray and Nancy Forever" and see what I did to an old 1970's faded-out color photo of this couple when they got married outside in this fantastic park ... there were no purple flowers or hearts in the trees, I assure you! I leave a white space for time, date, place and so on, in a nice text like where it says: "Ray and Nancy Forever". Basically, if you can picture something you want done to ANY photo, no matter who took the photo, I can probably do it ! Use your imagination OR use mine!!

 For a brand-new wedding photo, see section 6 !

 Meanwhile, check out any other graphics on this site (like my many CD covers) and I did them ALL.

So, in addition to artistic or business needs, I do scanning, repair and archiving to dvd for your precious photos of family and pets, which can be lost forever in a disaster! That's no joke, btw; watch a person being interviewed on the news after they've sadly lost their home in a tragedy and they always say: "What can't be replaced are the photos." Think about that. I can restore an old photo like the lady on the left, or the Veteran or the little boy and then you get it saved on a dvd that you can take to a printer and get a framed copy of for your walls or a family album. We can also do this all through the mail, so I can work from the originals, unless you can scan them @ 300 dpi minimum. Drop me a line in the contact form to see how to proceed.

These examples of photo repair, book covers, flyers, CD cover designs, even a colorizing of an M.C. Escher piece of art in the lower right corner, are only a fraction of what I've done professionally. But check out the Viet Nam vet's complete reconstruction where he lent me his actual uniform so I could scan the medals and uniform cloth to get it all super sharp. I asked for $200, he gave me $400.00!


In my teaching of the basics of how to do any of this stuff, I cover everything. I suggest that the serious student get a Wacom graphics tablet such as their "Intuos" model with a six inch pad. I do not work for either Adobe or Wacom, but to get results like I do, you'll need a tablet (a wireless mouse comes with it, along with a great wireless, no-battery stylus that acts like a paintbrush or pen or whatever.) It is the only way to do convincing clouds, strands of hair, etc. (Look closely at my hair in the photo at the top of the site, see how it looks real along the edges against the background? A perfect example!) If you watch the dvd extras of any computer graphics-laden movie like "Lord Of The Rings", you see these artists working and that's what they are using; just look at their desktops when they are being interviewed. They are very dependable and well-built, and mine even was in a flood 8 years ago and still works perfectly. That being said, you do NOT need a tablet to learn but it is an eventuality that you will come to if you're serious ... and I sure wish these companies would pay me to be what they call a "product evangelist"!

Remember my Photoshop motto:

"I could Photoshop your head onto a Giraffe and you'd think you were born that way!"

One more thing: If you have a really nice smartphone but still get crappy pictures I can give you a one-time lesson for $15.00 on how to make your pics look mind-blowing right inside the phone, no Photoshop required.


3: Ray and Nancy's Wedding Day!

This is what can be done AFTER a picture has been taken ...

... even by somebody else, 40 years later! I did this for Nancy because Ray had just passed away, sadly... he was a good friend of mine. Miss him to this day. Where the date and location is placed, there was a picture of Ray looking down on the two of them in that beautiful park; but that is where anything you wanted could be placed, just as an idea of what can be done.

I would charge roughly $150.00 for this and can do something like it in about 2 hours. Each concept has to be agreed upon because you might want something that takes a lot more time, but I work very fast usually, so the full amount should not go above $200.00.

After the art is done, I submit a low-rez copy through email, get your ok, then get you the full resolution file on a disk or flashdrive and you take it to a printer or even Wal-Mart's photo department and have a color print made on some acid-free paper (do not skip this, insist on acid-free paper or it will yellow after only a few years!)  I do NOT have the huge expensive printers and pigment inks that these businesses do and I do not frame either. But I DO create the file in a standard size like 11 x 14" or 11 x 17" (however big you want it needs to be decided first, so think about that!) so that you could walk into a Michael's, choose a frame and a matte and walk out spending only 2040 bucks. If you want a custom frame then you already know it's going to cost as much as the artwork, doubling the cost of the project, so that's why I make the files in standard sizes so that you won't add a lot of cost. If you have a neat frame already, then a matte could be cut for a few dollars to fit it into that frame, but I need to know those measurements in advance!


4: "captain of marines" photo restoration

This is what can be done to a faded out picture!

The gentleman in the next section below gave me this poster that he found at a garage sale to be restored as a gift for his friend, a Marine vet. (this picture is available as a print in 3 different sizes, so let me know if you would like one through the contact form.)

Pretty self-explanatory, except that I borrowed a REAL "cover" from another friend and photographed the 3 dimensional Marine insignia, cut it out and placed one in each corner.

The photo on left is a pic of the original and I left some margin so you see that it was laid on the ground, as the original was about 20" x 30".

About color: the original's color has faded away like an older print will, but this was before they invented "pigment inks", which are NOT ink, they are actually a type of fade-resistant liquid paint that will spray through an inkjet nozzle (the fancy word is "Giclee"" ... and that's all it means, look up it's definition) so that's why you should take the final file I deliver to a big-time printer like Staples and ask if they are using smudge-proof archival inks or pigments, which anybody using a big Epson or Canon printer ARE.


5: "Jared Nensteil" photo restoration PLUS

This is where we start to add features ...

Jared found me at and simply wanted the pose on left restored ...

I asked if he had his original uniform because the original photo was faded where his medals and insignias were concerned, so he gave me the uniform exactly as it was in the photo on left and I scanned or photographed each separate item and also color-matched the uniform itself. Also note that the face is "blown out", meaning so much light and fading as to leave no detail. I had to extensively repaint his face. I think I did pretty good. I even gave him a more "military haircut" that he asked for as the picture was taken by a photographer after he returned to the states and he said his hair was too long! So there is far more to do than just adding color to a picture ...

 Note that the sky is hand painted, not a photograph! (If you read above, you saw where I mentioned the Wacom graphics tablet ... this is an example of what you can do, freehand!)

I then "flew in" the flag, a picture I had taken and voila! He loved it so much he paid me double what I asked for and then gave me other projects like the "Captain Of Marines" gig above. Thanks, Jared!


6: 1920's Photo: "Lena katz" - a lesson about preservation

Let me tell ya a TRUE story ...

My elder brother is married to a lady who had the unfortunate life experience to watch her mom sink into schizophrenia caused by the injection of a drug into her knee for an injury, and this was way back in the early 40's when they didn't have any malpractice insurance.

Throughout her declining years the children always wished they had a photo of their mom, looking happy and as they remembered her. The youngest son, being very web-savvy, combed the internet for anything but came up with nothing, not even a yearbook picture.

Finally, she was released from this world but not after making it to about 80+ years old. Her husband eventually met another lady his age and decided to move in with her to share expenses and have a companion as sometimes oldsters do ... he had a huge library of hardcover books ... he chose what was most dear to him and left the rest with my sister-in-law, his daughter, to dispose of, to a library or Goodwill.

Whilst leafing through the books looking for anything the father might have placed or hidden in them, ... there was this photo on the left, torn and discolored, which had been glued to a piece of NON ACID-FREE paper (I'm tellin' ya, listen to me, this is my biz!) and it resulted in what you see. Luckily it was an 8 x 10 so there was some detail left in it. Excitedly, she showed me the pic and then just put it into a nice frame she had in the house. While they were on a vacation shortly after, I took the photo, scanned it and did my magic. I even hand-colored it with that pink cheek-blush they used to over-use back then!

And THAT, my friends, is a lesson in scanning and fixing that ONE photo you have of a loved one before it's too late.

Just sayin'.


7: "Kim and Jason" wedding photo, Before and After!

Any photographer, no matter how good, cannot control many elements such as we can in Photoshop after the event, so kudos to Brandy Duplessis Gutierrez at "Frameables by Brandy" for the nicely posed, clean shot that she nailed, which helped me do my magic!! *See next section for a step-by-step procedural guide to this particular edit.

After receiving, I did extensive work to this in 2 hours: I removed the house in upper left rear, used an out-of-focus treatment to foreground and back, heavy color adjustment overall, removed conflicting light spot behind groom's head, color-saturated bride's lipstick, bouquet, back of groom's head and light on dock, plus specialized text and graphics, including lyrics from the first dance and of course their names and the date. I also had to re-paint color into the weeds and make the water blue instead of a grey muck. Like Brandy or myself, a wedding photographer can only do so much, but this is a once-in-a-lifetime event, so if your excellent photographer can't or doesn't do this kind of work, then I DO!                            Meanwhile, you can find Brandy on Facebook!


8: Anatomy of a Photo Edit - Kim and Jason Wedding

Photo Restoration by Paul Santa Maria

From selling a multi-million dollar building or home to a wedding picture, nothing can be left un-retouched, in my opinion. If a client wants it yesterday or won't listen to reason then it curtails what I can do, but since the above example only took about an hour or so, then it pays to be patient.

In the example above, besides overall color maximizing and re-lighting the pic, the notated items in the "Before" pic (the exact way I received it from the photographer herself) was all to focus the attention on the couple. I think it came out rather well and they were thrilled. It became a framed print and a memory pillow as well. 

See below for final version!


9: "HEADLINERS" Before and After (1979 and 2019)

I have been a pro musician all my life and we used to pose for these goofy 8 x 10's that would mailed to club owners to sort though to make booking decisions and then to display on a marquee going into the club. Well, I got sick of these bored, tired 1950's Vegas-style crapola and made a crazy band pic for my friends The Headliners. (I restored it just this year.) It was a pretty good biz; I had no predators and ended up doing about 20 of then at $125.00 each. The originals were all done as paste-ups. I would either have the band photographed by James Cavanaugh or whomever and then do any kind of art to create the 3D paste-up which would be re-photographed and duplicated.

So you can barely see that I wanted to guys to go transparent and turn into stars whilst the girl was fully presented. This year I left out the stars as it was too busy (the original effect was created with a paint brush and model airplane paint!) and flew in one of my own beautiful sunset pics, color-corrected the whole thing - and - not to mention, re-painted the girl's face and hair and added feather earrings - so I'm a makeup artist too!