Steve Vansak


I am Steve Vansak, wedding, portrait and event photographer from Crown Point, Indiana. I’m very close to the city of Chicago which enables me to often shoot engagement sessions in the windy city and of course, weddings.

Although I’m technically a suburbanite now, I’m a city boy at heart and I’m often in the city of big shoulders, camera in hand, even on my off days.

I started out in 2007 using an Olympus DSLR and their E system lenses. I gradually got updated bodies and lenses as my business began to grow.

In 2013 I migrated over to their m4/3 mirrorless system with the Olympus OMD EM1 and subsequently upgraded to the Olympus OMD EM1 II of which I now own the Silver Anniversary Edition.

Some might say that these highly capable, but smaller sensor bodies should not be used at weddings which often require super high ISO settings. However, the system has it’s benefits in wedding photography.

With very long days of shooting, the smaller and lighter bodies and lenses help with fatigue. The F/1.2 lenses help with light gathering so as not to over work that small sensor with high ISO settings, and lenses such as the Olympus 45mm F/1.2 help with shallow depth of field portraits.

So shooting weddings professionally with the Olympus system is very doable. I know as I built my business around those bodies and lenses such as the Olympus 12-40mm F/2.8 (equivalent focal length of 24mm to 80mm), the Olympus 40-150 F/2.8 (equivalent focal length of 80mm to 300mm) and the simply stellar Olympus 75mm F1.8 (equivalent focal length of 150).

The mount has many different makers such as Sigma but also Panasonic Lumix has a full line up of m4/3 bodies. Starting out in the system was great because it really forced me to pay attention to my exposures and to light in the scene.

So if you want to go small and lightweight at weddings, don’t be fooled by internet talk that this system can’t do the job. It most certainly can.

In very demanding situations (or if you need the shallowest depth of field imaginable), the m4/3 sensor will show limitations.

In 2016 I booked a series of weddings with strict rules of no external lighting (some lit only by candles) in the darkest Chicago churches I’d ever see. At this time I added a Nikon Df camera to my toolkit based upon this Shotkit Review.

It got me through these demanding weddings and I really loved it’s retro stylings. However, with only one SD card slot and a small cluster of focus points in the center of the frame, I replaced it with a Nikon D5 that I found at a highly discounted price for a new body.

Without a doubt, it could do the job and then some although it is super heavy and bulky and it is essentially old technology. I’d grown accustomed to mirrorless tech and missed having that in both bodies on a wedding day.

When the Panasonic Lumix S1 was announced, I’d already had it in my mind that I would be picking up the Olympus OMD EM1X with it’s built-in vertical grip which I like. It is a stellar body and ergonomically perfect.

However, the feature set was geared toward sports and wildlife with AI focus that can track motorcycles, sports cars, etc.

Other than the built-in grip and joystick for quickly moving focus points, it didn’t offer up too much more than my Olympus OMD EM1 II did when it comes to weddings.

So I took my funds and purchased the Panasonic Lumix S1 camera body along with the 24-105mm F/4 lens and 50mm F/1.4 lens. It gives me the benefits of that large sensor for those highly demanding shooting situations described above along with the mirrorless tech that I crave. To learn more about it, do read my user review here on Shotkit.

Many photographers look at light as something that simply brightens a scene but it is also about quality of light.

I also value ease of use and durability and this is why I use two Profoto A1’s and the Profoto B10 with their various light modifiers.

It simply gets out of my way and allows me to get shots done quickly which is a necessity at weddings.

Below is a list of all of the gear in my Shotkit overview photo along with a couple of items not pictured.

Olympus OMD EM1 II (Silver Anniversary Edition) Camera
Olympus 40-150mm F/2.8 Pro Lens
Olympus 75mm F/1.8 Premium Lens (silver)
Olympus 45mm F/1.8 Premium Lens (silver)

Panasonic Lumix S1 Camera
Lumix 24-105mm F/4 Lens
Lumix 50mm F/1.4

Nikon D5 Camera
Nikkor 105mm F/1.4 Lens
Nikkor 70-200mm F/2.8 E Lens (not pictured)
Sigma 24-35mm F/2 Lens

Westcott Ice Light 2 Constant Light

Profoto B10 Strobe

Profoto A1 Flash (x2)

Lowell GL-1 Constant Light (not pictured)

Holdfast Gear Moneymaker American Bison Red
Holdfast Gear Cell Pouch (large) | @regionweddings


  1. Russell Marino on September 19, 2019 at 4:32 am

    Thank you for sharing; this is very helpful. I am starting out and am interested in weddings; I have acquired the EM1 ii with several lenses and also have a Nikon D750 with several lenses and the Fuji X100F.

    I am especially interested in documentary style photography and would like to employ that approach to photographing weddings. From your insight, it seems as though the EM1 ii can handle a wedding in most situations – I have the 17 f1.2 and 45 f1.2 for documentary style.

    You’ve experienced success with your EM1 ii setup and have had happy and satisfied clients?


  2. Steve Vansak on August 28, 2019 at 9:10 am

    As a follower of Shotkit since the beginning, it’s fantastic to be featured here. If anyone has any questions or comments about my gear set up or wedding photography, let me know in the comments here.

Leave a Comment



Enter your email to be sent
today's Welcome Gift:
19 Photography Tools

44 Discounts for Photographers
(Gear, Software & Education)