Veronica Olson is a talented prop stylist and professional photographer. Olson graduated from BYU and has a sumptuous Instagram feed full of delightful images. Olson lives in New York City.
Tell us about your work as a stylist. After graduating with a BFA in photography, I started out in New York assisting super talented prop stylist Robyn Glaser. I was lucky to learn from her on set with some of the best photographers in the commercial world, and discover the industry of styling.
While I’m still pursuing photography as well, working in props is really fulfilling. When shooting my own personal work, what I always loved is using objects to tell a story, and arranging various items to form a whole. So prop styling is a natural route for me. I enjoy sourcing props, shopping, collaborating with photographers and art directors, and deciding the visual direction of the image. On a commercial shoot, the stylist can almost have more creativity; a photographer determines the lighting, but a stylist is choosing colors, composition, textures, shapes. This year I’ve had fun jobs for clients like American Girl, Williams Sonoma, Yosi Samra, NBC Today, Gracious Home, Food52. I appreciate that being freelance, it’s something different every time. I could be styling shoes for a holiday catalog one week, and a kids cookbook the next.
I enjoy projects with great clients, food stylists, assistants, etc.; the still life industry is full of nice people, and it’s usually such a collaborative effort. Often photographers can request a certain stylist on a job, and I’m thankful for talented photographers I love working with like James Ransom and Nicole Gerulat, who have helped me grow and accelerate my career.
What’s next for you? For this year, one goal is to focus more on my photography. I’ve sort of put photography on the back burner while being so busy with styling, but I don’t want to abandon that side of my craft. I want to get back into shooting more often, and expand that client base. I’ve heard some detractors say you can’t be both a photographer and stylist, but I disagree. Each helps me be better at the other, and I like being versatile. It may not be traditional, but it works for me.
I have a few exciting commercial projects coming up already in 2016, and a collaboration with StoryKeep photographing family heirlooms. I’m also working on a site called The Family Gathering (@familygathering instagram) to share how relatives create connection to past generations, specifically through art, objects, and documenting family history.
I love New York, so I’ll continue my career here, and look forward to working with talented creatives, expanding my portfolio, and following the Lord’s will. It can be easy to get caught up in business and competition of the industry, but no matter where my career goes, I want to respond with humility, love, and grace.