The Killer Family Portrait Kit for Micro Four Thirds Photographers

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It’s time to get more serious about your family portraits, Panasonic & Olympus Micro Four Thirds photographers!

Shooting family portraits, either for yourself or for paid clients, is a common task for photographers to be enlisted into doing.  But if you are new to family portraits, or to photography in general, maybe you are finding yourself wondering about what sort of kit you should have if you want to be doing more family portraits. Maybe you usually specialize in sports photography or landscape photography and your cousin Jane asked you to take care of the family reunion portraits this year.

Whatever your reason for being curious, we have you covered. In this post we will be sharing our thoughts on the ideal family portrait kit setup for you Micro Four Thirds photographers. Now if you’re ready, let’s get into it.

The Camera:  Olympus OM-D EM-1 MkII

For family portraits, both Panasonic and Olympus have some compelling options for a photographer looking to shoot higher quality images. The Panasonic Gh5, Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mk II are solid options, but in terms of the camera that we feel is the best all around option for someone set on the Micro Four Thirds experience… we decided to go with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mk II.

You can get a Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mk II right now on Amazon for $1599.

If you want to know more about it you can also check out our full review of the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mk II:

“The Olympus OMD E-M1 Mk II is a fantastic camera in many regards. But it’s expensive. However, I’ve sat there debating the price point back and forth. While with some other options you get better image quality, you don’t get the absolutely bonkers feature set that you do with Olympus. You can’t run a Nikon D500 under a faucet–nor can you do that with a Sony a7 II, a6500, or a Fujifilm X-T2 and X Pro 2. None of these cameras can be handheld for 15 seconds to get a clean exposure. None of these cameras can shoot at the frame rate that this is capable of either.”

Other camera options: Panasonic GH5s, Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mk II, Panasonic G9


The Lens: Olympus 12-40mm f2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sigma 30mm f1.4 Review images (18 of 33)ISO 2001-200 sec at f - 2.8

We actually really prefer a prime lens workflow on the Micro Four Thirds system in genera, But we decided to recommend the Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 as our pick for Family Portraits. This lens does it all well, while maintaining a constant F2.8 aperture and excellent image quality. It’s like walking around with a couple of prime lenses in one.

You can pick up a Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 on Amazon today for $799.

You can also learn more about this lens over in our full review of the Olympus 12-40mm F2.8:

“What makes the lens so special is not only its excellent image quality which we can’t harp on enough, but the size, build quality, and speed in focusing. The Micro Four Thirds system has lenses that you really never want to stop down and that perform at their peak essentially wide open. Not only is that wonderful for many folks, but it is also part of the technicalities. Never before have folks wanted to do this more than with something along the lines of Leica M glass. All this said, we can only give the Olympus 12-40mm f2.8 our highest recommendation–and it is every bit deserving of our Editor’s Choice award for best mirrorless camera zoom lens.”

Other lens options: Olympus 17mm F1.2 Pro, Olympus 25mm F1.2 Pro, Panasonic 35-100mm F2.8


The Lighting: ORLIT RoveLight RT 610 TTL Monolight


The line between speedlights and monolights is getting smaller and smaller these days. Where in the past speedlights would be a go-to for family portraits, now monolights are becoming much smaller and more portable with wireless triggering and built-in battery packs. The ORLIT RoveLight RT 610 is one of these new wave, portable monolights that packs a ton of power into a small and portable package. It also supports TTL, which is an excellent feature to have where family portraits are concerned.

You can pick up an [amazon_textlink asin=’B075RXGSMB’ text=’ORLIT RoveLight RT 610 TTL’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’757729cc-6b41-11e8-89da-3188b51f79c9′] on Amazon for [amazon_textlink asin=’B075RXGSMB’ text=’ORLIT RoveLight RT 610 TTL’ template=’PriceLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’7035083e-6b41-11e8-9905-3166af651d63′].

You can also learn more about this monolight over in our full review:

“If you’re a photographer looking for a monolight that isn’t super expensive, then the ORLIT RoveLight RT 610 TTL Monolight could be what you want. You’re not getting Profoto’s quality here with the build or the design, but you’re getting consistent results. You’re also not getting Profoto’s consistency when it comes to flash duration or full color consistency. But at the same time it’s not far off. This light is more tailored to a hobbyist more than anything else. It’s nice. Can you use it for professional gigs? Totally. In fact, at the moment it is my main light. It simply works.”

Other Lighting options: [amazon_textlink asin=’B071HVLCHS’ text=’Profoto B1X’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’f9f21cbd-6b41-11e8-a375-0107a49c344e’], [amazon_textlink asin=’B01DVKBQEY’ text=’Godox Thinklite TT685S TTL’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’01c2b108-6b42-11e8-9432-290ba848ea86′], [amazon_textlink asin=’B01C69XVIK’ text=’Interfit S1′ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’088f697a-6b42-11e8-a0a9-3f1722e95883′]

So, there you have it, our picks for an ideal family portrait setup for you Panasonic and Olympus photographers out there. This kit, or any of the alternatives mentioned, will do really well for anyone looking to shoot better family portraits with their Micro Four Thirds kit.

Feedback? Questions? Comments? Drop them below and join the discussion!

Anthony Thurston

Anthony is a Portland, Oregon based Boudoir Photographer specializing in a dark, moody style that promotes female body positivity, empowerment, and sexuality. Besides The Phoblographer, he also reviews gear and produces his own educational content on his website.