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Special Effects



Special effects, by our definition is removing or adding objects and people or being creative to restore a  not so great photograph.  It's fun and interesting to read about and see, the many reasons why people use this affect. Here are just a few of the most common: 


Contents of this page:


Attention Costumers! Everywhere

Create a portrait

Correcting Point and Shoot Errors 

Join two pictures or Create an Old Time Photograph

Remove Glare

Salvaging an Image From Poor Quality Paper or Newspaper 

Shadow Boxes

Prank Photos with funny stories.

Wakes and Funerals and remove a person from a photograph and make separate photo with them alone.




Prank Photos




The story behind this prank goes like this.  This poster he is holding is a cherished poster found by his friend in Mexico and he thought it would be funny to put his name on the poster as one of the bull fighters.




This photo was commissioned by mom, I guess the bride didn't have an issue with dad refusing to put on a suit.

In image #01, the mother of the bride and another relative dancing at the wedding, very charming. 

Now in image #02 a not so charming dad, shown here dancing with the bride. 

Okay, in image #03  We took dad's head and hand from #02 


Some people just do not want to get dressed up! So there this is one more way to skin this cat says mom with a smile. Clever lady!





This image is what the Victorians would call a divorce portrait. Notice the man pants on the right-hand bottom corner? They actually had very narrow frames to accommodate the unusual size of a cropped photo like this one on the left. Today there is no longer any use for the divorce frame, now she can display the photo and no one would know the truth of this moment in time and it looks a whole lot better with an appropriate background.



 Create a Portrait


Getting a good pose from your dog is not an easy thing to do but you can look through the photos you have and create a portrait pose like these.  Include them  in your family tree or create a special place in your scrapbook or wall. 

For more samples, see Pet Portraits.


Submitted by Veronica of Chula Vista California

"Pepe", Submitted by Otilia from Phoenix Arizona.

Same goes for saving baby photos!  Many people are faced with the problem of only owning one photograph of themselves when they were babies and usually they are not in good shape, or it's not very flattering.  Such is the case with this photo.  Pieces missing are not a problem or turning the photo into a standard size to fit standard frame.  Standard frames and standard mats are less expensive.









We have seen images mounted on everything you can imagine. Embedded in glass and in jewelry. These one of a kind items are difficult to share in their present form. So let us copy and restore them for you.

This Original was stuck to this very heavy plaster plaque.


This is the close up of original.

It could not be removed without damaging it further.

There is a huge stain and writing on the background.


As you can see here is the background replaced, but with a period suitable background.









Turn a casual photo into a beautiful portrait.

Circa 1930. The owner of this photo said she had a "portrait shot" of everyone in the family album with exception of this person.  Can you put her image on a studio background? We found a studio background of that time period. This is a perfect scrapbook application.


Return to Scrapbook Inspiration


Not everyone is fortunate enough to have beautiful professional studio portrait of your childhood. If you have a least a snap shot we can isolate with a crop and resize and enlarge like this one. A little color correction and viola! Saved from the shoe box to a space in the scrapbook.




This young girl, now a senior citizen always wanted a photograph of her mother alone. 


Correcting Point and Shoot Errors

One of the most common mistakes people make is not setting up the shot.  In their excitement to take the shot quickly centering the subject is off ruining the shot.

Submitted by Joseph Santos of Tucson Arizona.

1970. The hat was recreated, the building extended and the yellowing removed. This photo is typical of amateur photographers.  Not taking the time to center the subject and not using a tripod to keep the camera still.  What would have be excluded from the scrapbook or special place on the wall can be displayed or placed in a scrapbook proudly. 




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Circa 1950. One family shot is better than two separate photos, don't  you think! Especially for scrapbookers that need space to design and add personal effects.




Scrapbookers delight! 

Save space join two photos.






From two 8x10 these two, brother and sister were enlarged to 16 x 20 and beautifully framed.




Create an Old Time Photograph












If you love wearing costumes and want a portrait with an old fashion background, just send us a photo of yourself in costume and we will do the rest. If you have the background you want we can use that! 


Photo #1

This is a photo of my latest costume that I just wore to the Chula Vista Genealogy Society. You can see more photos of that event at: 

Calendar &

  Photos of Events

& Genealogy References


I needed a 1950s background, looked through my mothers photographs and came up with these two. Now you don't have to find a photographer in a tourist event to have a vintage photo of yourself.  Notice, I had to reverse myself and blend the two backgrounds to make sense.



1 & 2 joined

















It would help if you know what photo you want to be in first so you can pose yourself perfect for the shot. I didn't but it just worked out well, now I know.




Photo #2

I had to reverse #2.

It wouldn't be complete without the border. 








"Here's looking at you kid"

Attention all those out there that love to dress up!  Especially the San Diego Costume Guild! This link takes you to a events in period clothing, hit it when your done here.



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1).  These two photos were part of a paper collage...





2). We digitally joined them and enlarged to a 16 x 20 archival quality photo paper.





3.) He found this vintage frame on E-Bay for only $75.00! and voila!  a happy Alex.  





and when Alex's friend saw what he did he said he had a similar situation, so Alex brought his friend over. He had separate photos of his parents and wished to see them together as a formal portrait.








This photo was a beautiful copper color to match the frame.






Circa 1866. These two cabinet cards found in a bible, were joined to make a more attractive portrait to display (never display originals).   This is very popular with scrapbooker's and genealogist.







The ribbons, boot and pipe bowl this shadow box  belonged to John Evans of the 3rd New Hampshire. He whittled these pieces during the Civil war in the trenches of North Carolina.  Shadow Boxes are a great way to keep collectible items together.  You can find them at your local craft store or you can ask your local frame shop to custom make one for you.  Never use your originals to display, we joined John and his wife in one frame for this box.


More samples:






In this photo, the maid of honor and the best man, on either side of the bride and groom, were married by the justice of the peace shortly after.  They never had their own wedding picture.  Decades later the bride had a bright idea and called us. She finally has a wedding portrait.






Making faces is a good way to get cut out of the photo.






 Return to Scrapbooking


These two Sisters enjoy this photograph today, taken from the two photographs above, making it twice as special.

The image of mother behind them in the 1920s didn't have to be a quality photo.  This one was cut out from a collage on poor paper, you can see part of one photo at the bottom.  Since it was going to be faded out a bit anyway giving it a heavenly appearance.




Salvaging an Image From Poor Quality Paper or Newspaper 








We can restore a photo that has been copied to computer/regular paper and print it to archival quality matt paper. 

This photo scanned from copy paper was completely recreated to get a photographic appearance.

This photo was salvaged from a 1921 prayer card.







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Genealogist Note:  This is a photo taken in the late 1880's. They did have special effects back then too! Usually it was a memorial card.








1999  Blurred the background, cropped and enlarged.






Some times we just wish we were in the photo alone. Submitted by Shirley Horton, Assembly Women of Chula Vista






The girls in this photo didn't have the heart to tell this guy, that they didn't want him in the picture.




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The man is gone, color added, vignette added and cropped to an 8x10.






The Collage - The perfect application for photos that are unattractive yet sentimental and valuable to you and your family. Visit "Custom Gifts











Remove Glare

This photo was taken of a framed photo sitting on a top of dresser.













These are samples (taken by amateur photographers) of photos taken with a digital camera, (not scanned photos).  You don't have to be a professional, long as you do not do the following:

Shake... you must stabilize the camera while shooting.  Professionals use tripods.  Have good lighting so you don't have to use flash, avoiding the reflection of the flash or shoot at a very slight angle, until you don't see the reflection.  Notice even the reflection of the flash can be removed.




Often we are called to prepare photographs for wakes. The family has asked everyone and can not seem to find a single photograph of a person either by themselves or a photo formal enough to display for the memorial service.  The original was an 8x10, once we separated him out, we enlarged it to a 16x20 for the viewing.  We can have these ready within 24 hours.


There are many options. Some people have taken many photographs and placed them around the room.  Others have taken one large one (16x20) to set on an easel.



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Always a work in progress, please visit often. We apologist for any long periods between entries some times medical issues prevail.

 Rev. 06/23/2017






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