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Gillespie Photography: Breathtaking Rocky Mountain Wedding with Canon, Flashpoint

Updated: Sep 25, 2020

Speedliter's Blog is humbled and grateful to feature the Colorado based husband and wife photography team Gillespie Photography. Trent & Stacy combine the best qualities of candid, modern, and photojournalistic styles to create breathtaking images for their clients.

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CAMERA: Having used the legacy Canon 5D Mark III and the big brother Canon 1DX, Trent & Stacy have settled on the Canon 5D Mark IV as of late. A favorite of wedding photographers, the 5D IV features a 30.4 megapixel sensor, 61 point autofocus, 7 frames per second continuous shooting, excellent ISO for low light situations, and dual card slots for memory redundancy.

LENSES: Trent & Stacy like to have options and often travel with an arsenal of prime lenses including the Canon 24mm 1.4, Canon 35mm f/1.4, Canon 85mm f/1.4 IS, and Canon 135mm f/2. While not as versatile as a zoom lens, prime lenses are known for their superior sharpness and wide apertures. The sharpness is invaluable for details, like outdoor landscapes, while wide apertures enable the capture of precious moments in low light when strobes are not appropriate.

LIGHTS: Former owners of Canon speedlites, Trent & Stacy switched to Flashpoint/Godox recently. The lithium ion powered strobes are rechargeable, recycle faster, and have a longer battery life. For weddings the Gillespies carry up to 8 Flashpoint Zoom Li-on R2 V860II Speedlights, a Flashpoint Evolv 200, and a Flashpoint 600 PRO. The 600 PRO comes in handy to light subjects despite hard, mountain sun. To mount the lights as needed, they bring up to 4 Manfrotto 1004BAC light stands and a Manfrotto Element Aluminum Monopod.

SPEEDLITER'S BLOG: What was on your mind as you planned and executed this wedding?

TRENT: We approach each wedding with an open mind. We photograph some venues multiple times each wedding season and we try to forget what exactly we did the time before. We’re after different images and making each wedding unique. Our first priority is photographing moments, but we try to include a bit of flash into our work to hide distracting elements or accentuate weather or a scene.

SPEEDLITER'S BLOG: What tips would you give another photographer heading into a similar shoot?

STACY: Don’t head into a shoot with preset pictures in mind. Instead, adapt to your situation and read the moment. We are big advocates of letting the day unfold as it should and not forcing our couples to sit and wait for us to dial in a photo. With that being said, practice practice practice before the wedding. Know when, where and how to use the tools you have in your bag. Not every portrait needs to be lit.


SETTINGS: 1/100 sec, F5.0, ISO 100

TRENT: Prep is our favorite time to get creative with our flash work. Rather than instructing the makeup artist to do things a certain way, we’ll clamp or suction-cup a flash where we think it might work best and go back to photographing moments. During this time, we’ll dial in our settings on camera. By using C1, C2 and C3 shooting modes, we can quickly go from an available light exposure to one that works for our flash. For this shot, I wanted to include the dresses and how the room felt to the bride. I suction-cupped a flash to the window next to the makeup artists ring-light. I wanted to mimic my light after what was already there. I then get my exposure to where I want and adjust my flash power after. Nothing was posed here.

SETTINGS: 1/100 sec, F5.0, ISO 100

TRENT: During ceremonies, we almost always keep the Evolv 200 close by. With 200 watts of power, it's quite a bit more powerful than a regular speedlight, but not cumbersome to move around like a monolight. With cloudy skies, it has enough power to provide a bit of pop to a flat scene. For this photo, I motioned to Stacy to light the couple allowing me to pull in the moody sky and mountains. People have a hard time telling if this photo was lit or not, which is something we strive for. We want it to look different, but not overly flashy. Stacy was just outside the frame on the right holding the Evolv 200 high on a monopod.

SETTINGS: 1/100 sec, F5.0, ISO 100

TRENT: When it rains, we love it. It adds another storytelling piece that we can combine into a portrait. The best way to show the rain, is to light it up. By using the Evolv 200, you can throw enough light to illuminate the rain and our subject. The only hard part of working in the rain is keeping the couple involved. In this photo I am a few feet behind the couple holding the Evolv 200 pointing toward the camera.


SPEEDLITER'S BLOG: What software and tools/processes did you use for post-production & retouching?

TRENT: We do 99% of our toning and post-production in Lightroom. Every so often we’ll take a photo into Photoshop to do some serious cloning. As we improve as photographers and pick cleaner backgrounds, we are spending less time removing things. We have a few presets that we’ve cooked up that gets us to a good starting point with a photo. From there, we do some localized adjustments, usually with the circular graduated filter.

SPEEDLITER'S BLOG: Any final thoughts on the session or client feedback?

STACY: This was a crazy day in June. Every so often we’ll get random snowflakes falling from the sky in the mountains, but never the 4 inches of accumulation we got that day. Whitney & Krystal were originally worried about the conditions, but they embraced it throughout the day.

Check out more of Trent & Stacy's work at GILLPHOTOS.COM or @gillespiephotog on Instagram.


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