Saturday, April 4, 2009

New Blog for Jake Garn Photography!!!

This blog is officially retired

But do not panic. You can find my brand new website, and blog at ->

Oh, and what does 50-cent have to do with anything? Well he stars in my newest photoshop tutorial that will soon be release on my new blog!


PS - Be sure to resubscribe over there, unfortunately this blog is done... but the new blog will be updated MUCH more frequently!

Monday, February 9, 2009

What is Real?

I've been playing with inserting textural backgrounds into my images lately, as you may have noticed in my latest "Halo Series," which can be viewed in it's entirety here. I have attempted this technique in the past but abandoned it when I couldn't get it to look real enough, this time I think I'm getting pretty close. I included an enlargement so you can get a closer look.

Background textures were created by Princess of Shadows at DeviantART and were used by permission. Check them out for yourself at

Saturday, February 7, 2009

CarbonMade - Fantastic Portfolio Site!

So I just stumbled across what I think will become my favorite place to showcase my photography portfolio. It's called CarbonMade and it is the simplest, cleanest, and easiest gallery site I've ever come across. Oh, and I come across a lot of them, it seems like once a week a I get an email from a new one that wants me to start an account there.

Perfect for photographers looking for somewhere to showcase their images (with a free option to boot) and even more perfect for fans that just like to view fantastic art. Oh, and as a bonus I just posted a sneak preview of the new series I'm in the middle of finishing right now, the "Halo" series, named for the ring of hair - not the video game. Check out my gallery here -

And start your own gallery at and feel free to link it in the comments here!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Bare Series

My latest series to be completed, the "bare series." Not to be confused with the similar sounding "bear series", which apparently has led to a couple of misunderstandings. No Bears were harmed, nor even used, in the making of this series. Not because of a compassion for bears mind you, simply because bears didn't seem to be available.

Styling and makeup by Paula Dahlberg.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The worst Photoshoot. Ever.

I shot these images over five years ago, they were taken roughly one hour before the night took a horrific turn for the worse. This is the story of the worst photoshoot -- EVER!

First, I must say that Katherine is probably the main reason I eventually became a decent photographer. I started shooting her in 2001 and it is still my pleasure to shoot her almost eight years later, I'm shooting her again tomorrow as a matter-of-fact! She has been a tremendously good sport and the mere fact that she even still talks to me after what happened five years ago is insane, thank you Katherine!

So, onto the story. We drove towards the Nevada border, about 40 minutes west of Salt Lake City before turning off at the Dugway exit. For those of you that don't know, there is NOTHING at the Dugway exit. Just a long paved road that leads to a military nuclear waste plant and the skeletal remains of a long abandoned gas station.

We arrived and shot a couple images at the gas station while a lone, broken down semi-truck, along with it's driver, watched from a distance. Eventually his watching made us both feel a little weird so we decided to explore further south, down the single lane road. We discovered what appeared to be an ancient, dried up lake bed. It was solid as a rock so we drove out and shot until sun-down on the crackled dirt. With a completely unobstructed view of the setting sun, and a bright white giant reflector at our feet we were able to capture some amazing face shots and continued shooting until the sun disappeared below the horizon.

That's when the trouble started, as the sun went down the air unexpectedly cooled very quickly, and by the time we made it back to my car we were both freezing. I loaded up the gear and we set off to leave, but there was trouble. The once cement lake bed had become a mushy mud soup, after making it about two feet my Xterra was sunk to its axles in thick, dark mud. So, we got out and dutifully did a little digging, and a little pushing and a little peeling out and within minutes the three of us (Katherine, the car, and I) were covered in mud. It would have almost been funny if it weren't for the biblical swarm of mosquitoes that started to arrive.

I have no idea what these mosquitoes ate when there weren't people stuck in the mud because there wasn't a living thing in sight, yet suddenly every mosquito in a 10 mile radius was charging into us. It probably didn't help that my car was bright yellow, and apparently the mosquitoes LOVE yellow. The ones that weren't distracted by vigorously attacking me and Katherine were attaching themselves and covering the yellow paint almost completely. We dashed for safety inside without even spending a split second thinking about all the gloppy mud we were wearing. We slammed the doors and immediately realized that oh, about a million mosquitoes followed us inside.

Did I mention we were too far in the middle of nowhere for my cell phone to work? Well we were.

Back to the story. This is the part where Katherine lost her ever-loving-mind. Instead of calmly killing the bajillion mosquitoes (the million from earlier had kids) and then thinking through our situation like reasonable adults she just jumped out and started running like a crazed lunatic. Screaming, and swatting. Swatting and screaming. I figured she would eventually realize her mistake and turn around and come back, but she didn't. She made it to the pavement and started running towards the freeway, swatting and screaming, screaming and swatting.

"Great," I thought to myself. Now I have to follow her because we all know this is how horror movies start, and I didn't want someone to kill her. I needed to keep her alive as a distraction for when the killer came after ME! Juuuust kidding... mostly.

So off I went, into the sea of soupy mud and starving mosquitoes. She had a good quarter mile lead, and since she was absolutely out-of-her-flipping-mind she had a good deal more adrenaline than me so as we ran the mile or two or three back to the freeway she kept putting more and more distance between us. Plus I had to stop to pick up her shoes, which apparently abandoned her when they realized she had gone insane.

As it got darker and darker I started to wonder what our plan was. Maybe we'd eventually get cell phone service closer to the freeway, maybe we would have to spend the night in the car, maybe we could throw shoes at the passing cars on the freeway until eventually one of them stopped... about the time I started wondering what Katherine's arm would taste like I realized something that scared the living piss out of me! The trucker was still there! The trucker was getting out of his truck! Katherine was talking to the trucker! Katherine was GETTING INTO THE TRUCK! All joking aside, this was seriously starting to sound like a horror movie.

Now I started running like I was insane! Mosquitoes started splatting against my face, the five extra pounds of mud on my shoes started exploding onto the pavement, brown goo sploshing about with every powerful step like I was throwing rocks into a sewage treatment plant.

It seemed like an eternity before I reached that truck, but when I finally did Katherine was still alive. Visibly terrified (her sanity had just recently returned) but alive. We shared the truckers passenger seat and made a one-bar cell phone call to a tow truck, which was a half hour away (assuming they left at that instant - which they didn't).

So for the next hour or so Katherine and I were regaled by tales from the most well-meaning trucker in the world, who, by the way, was waiting for someone to come fix a flat tire. When he found out that we were there doing a photoshoot he pulled a photo album out from under his seat. I know what you're thinking, we had to look through boring vacation photos, and Christmases, and photos of the kids... but you would be wrong. We happened to pick the trucker that had been to the "Testicle Festival" just last summer. What is the Testicle Festival you ask? Well, we made that same mistake, and that's why he pulled the album out.

The Testicle Festival is apparently an annual event where the oldest, most unattractive people in the world all gather together for a big pile of naked posing for inappropriate photos. I have no idea who develops photos taken at the testicle festival, but that person should not be allowed to develop photos anymore.

Katherine and I, of course, had to act very impressed by this photo album. One, we feared death and the even greater fear was being banished to the mosquitoes outside. We over did it though. Our impressed act was so convincing that the second album made it's appearance. The second album was comprised of photos taken by said truckers wife, and yes, this time the trucker was in the photos.

Why is it that when you are attacked by a swarm of mosquitoes they never have the courtesy to suck the blood out of your eyes?

Yay! The tow truck is here!

"There is no way this truck will pull you out of that mess." So says the only nearby authority on tow-trucks.

Fast forward through the next two hours as Katherine and I are piled into the front seat of a tow truck on the drive back to Tooele to pick up a damn SNOW CAT, then the drive back to the mud death pit of mosquitoes, oh hey the Testicle Festival guy is still here... "Hello! Thanks for letting us see your kibbles and bits," we yell as we pass him by.

Now onto the search, in pitch darkness, for my car. Mind you we have no idea where we drove off the road. This part of the story takes a really, really long time and it consists of Katherine waiting inside the truck as me and the snow cat driver drive around the muddy lake. Katherine is too scared of the mosquitoes to step outside and every minute we spend away from her I can't help but think that she is a goner. For sure, she's a goner. "Oh, there's no way she's going to make it," I think to myself.

Finally! There's my car! Oh, my what a depressing, muddy sight. The snow cat easily pulls it onto the pavement, I climb into the muddy tomb and start driving to pick up Katherine's body... wait! She's still alive? This horror movie has a HAPPY ending!

Well sort of happy. 7.5 hours after arriving we are leaving with a camera full of stunning photos. We are tired, itchy, muddy... but alive! Now for the 40 minute drive back home to make the whole ordeal just a tad over eight hours.

Katherine, you're the best! I'm glad you lived.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Video Tutorial: Using Adobe Lightroom to White Balance your photos

Not the most exciting tutorial in the world, but we'll build on this basic foundation a bit later! I should also mention that this technique can be done in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) as well, just open a RAW file with Photoshop and ACR opens automatically. It's a slightly different interface but the idea is the same!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Published in "Photos Idea Design Magazine"

Unfortunately I have no idea if they quoted me correctly since it's from Asia and I don't speak Mandarin. When the magazine arrived in the mail I was pleasantly surprised at what a beautiful publication it is! Thanks to all the beautiful models and talented hair and make-up artists that helped make the photos!

Monday, October 20, 2008

How to Photograph a Girl in an Aquarium

First, you need to develop an interest in tropical fish whilst in Junior High, after much cajoling convince your parents to let you procure a fish tank.

Enjoy the fish for a long time, but eventually start to neglect them until the tank is only half full (thanks to evaporation) and your starving fish are nourished mostly by the grime inside the tank.

One day, during your sporadic weekly feeding, you will notice that all of the fish have perished. The sense of loss is enhanced by the sad realization that you are horribly unqualified to ever have children.

Eventually the fish aquarium will be cleaned and years later a family member (in my case a brother) will desire to care for fish of their own, you willingly lend them the fish tank with a knowing grin silently predicting how their experience with the aquarium will end.

Two years later the fish aquarium is returned, now you can both reminisce on the fate of the poor fish under your respective care. After spending about 30 minutes too long trying to wedge the wooden fish aquarium stand out of the back seat of their car, the aquarium finds a resting place in the garage next to the lawn mower (which reminds me, when is my cousin going to come mow?)

One bored saturday afternoon while your wife is napping you may be tempted to find a model willing to shoot with you, she says she has a couple hours to spare and is "On her way," but asks, "What do you have in mind?"

Good question...

For some reason you notice the aquarium. Sitting there, a lonely tombstone to many loved, then neglected fish. You think to yourself, that would be a great idea, but there is no way a girl could fit in there.

You ask your wife, she agrees, a 29-gallon aquarium is not meant for a human body. So you move on and shoot another idea, and towards the end of the shoot you mention that you had once thought of shooting in the aquarium but abandoned the idea due to physics.

She claims she can fit in there, she is offended that you thought otherwise. Which is ridiculous because the aquarium is really not that big. She proves you wrong and before you know it you are hauling buckets filled with warm water out to the garage to fill the aquarium as your wife watches, shaking her head in amazement. Aren't we all.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Indoor Flea Market

It almost takes the fun out of things when you actually have PERMISSION to shoot in a building facing an imminent demise. This long abandoned building seemed to have quite a history - home to a meat locker in the basement (sounds sketchy I know), a mexican restaurant and a strip club turned sports bar and then indoor flea market, and the history shows in the decor.

I received a phone call late last week from a city employee that had been using the building for some training and as a viewer of my blog he wanted to see if I'd be interested in shooting there so I called Carli and we headed over to meet him there and see what we could come up with.

This is the result.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Digital Makeup -- Before and After

Here are a small sampling of portraits showing the different types of retouching I do in Photoshop. Many times if I do not have a makeup artist scheduled I will simply ask the girl to come with no makeup on and plan to do it later. Other times, as is the case with Cassie in the green tube top, a very talented makeup artist named Kristian did a fantastic job, but we wanted to shoot several concepts and it was simply quicker to change the color in Photoshop. And sometimes, in the case of the image with the thistle weeds - even the plants need a little makeup. :-)

Click the photos for a larger version.