Trust, teamwork and taking risks – the lessons of a Getty Images intern

A black-and-white shot of models watching a fashion show from behind a curtain in their dressing room.
Working as an intern at Getty Images gave Milly Grange-Bennett access to a host of high-profile events, including The Fashion Awards 2019 at the Royal Albert Hall in London, UK, where she captured some of her favourite images of her internship so far. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II (now succeeded by the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III) with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens at 24mm, 1/160 sec, f/2.8 and ISO6400. © Milly Grange-Benett/Getty Images/BFC

To capture the bright lights and famous faces of the entertainment industry, photographers and filmmakers need to be experts at their craft. During a year-long internship with Getty Images, the world's largest photo agency, British entertainment photographer and filmmaker Emily 'Milly' Grange-Bennett was able to take a deep dive into this fast-paced world.

Milly has always been passionate about documenting the arts, driven by a desire to shoot gigs and fashion shows in her own unique way, but she had no experience of the stock photo or video industry. "I'd gone straight from university to working freelance and it became increasingly difficult to figure out the business side of things," she says. "I was completely on my own, and I needed validation in a business sense. I wanted to learn from people who had been doing it for years, and experience what it was like to be part of a team. The Getty Images entertainment sector internship seemed like it had been created for me."

Here Milly shares five things she learnt during her internship at Getty Images and how she adapted to the changing circumstances caused by the global pandemic.

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1. Speed to market

Although Milly was used to the fast pace of the industry, it took a while for her to get used to the speed at which Getty Images operates. "I'd never worked for a big company with a reputation like Getty Images," she says. "From day one, I learned the importance of speed to market, and how Getty Images prides itself on being one of the companies that does it fastest."

Milly worked within several departments on rotation during her internship, including in film and stills. She also worked as an editor at events such as the BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) Awards, where photos taken by Getty Images photographers are uploaded to the site within seconds of being transferred to an editor's laptop.

"It's very exciting to watch the content come through before anyone else has seen it," she says. "You have to decide which images are working, edit them and then choose what to upload first. Working as an editor helps you to really understand that speed to market concept."

Performers at a music concert photographed from behind.
Shooting in a variety of different environments – including at The SSE Arena, Wembley, UK for the 2019 KISS Haunted House Party – taught Milly the importance of being able to adapt quickly to changing environments. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens at 24mm, 1/200 sec, f/4.5 and ISO2500. © Milly Grange-Bennett/Getty Images

2. Learning the ergonomics of your camera

During her first week at Getty Images, Milly was given a new kitbag which included the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II. Both cameras proved invaluable when it came to shooting at speed.

"I've been put in environments where you have to troubleshoot very quickly, so that's been challenging," says Milly. "One minute you're on the red carpet, the next you're at The SSE Arena, Wembley. When it comes to changing lenses and settings, you really learn the ergonomics of your camera, and that builds resilience.

"I hadn't used a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II before, but soon realised its reliability was a massive game-changer. When you're shooting fast-moving events there is no room for error. The double grip holds are so useful when you need to work quickly, and the 61-point AF system is just marvellous – it never lets you down."

A black-and-white still from a Cirque du Soleil film of a bare-chested male acrobat hanging from aerial silks.

Filming Cirque du Soleil for Getty Images

The circus is a filmmaker's dream, but rarely documented in monochrome. Getty Images intern Milly Grange-Bennett captures its magic on a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II.

3. Strength in numbers

For Milly, it has been invaluable moving around the business and learning the value of working in a team where everyone is working towards the common goal of moving the world with visuals. "I understand the importance of learning from other people and being inspired by their passion for image making," she says. "It's been really moving to understand that team effort, and to learn new skills from people who have been working in the industry for many years.

"I was introduced to my kit to make sure that I knew how it all worked and had one-to-ones with Gareth Cattermole, Getty Images' Chief Entertainment Photographer and a highly respected photographer in the entertainment industry. He took me under his wing; I was never made to feel like I was out of my depth and was taught what I needed to know prior to events."

A black-and-white shot of models peering around a curtain.
"I love the dark shadows and negative space the black-and-white edits create," Milly says about her shots of models at The Fashion Awards 2019. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens at 24mm, 1/160 sec, f/2.8 and ISO2500. © Milly Grange-Benett/Getty Images/BFC
A black-and-white shot of a model peering around a curtain.
"I took a risk, but I love that alternative perspective," says Milly. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens at 50mm, 1/160 sec, f/2.8 and ISO2500. © Milly Grange-Benett/Getty Images/BFC

4. Pushing boundaries

Balancing the task at hand while pushing the boundaries to capture original content is at the heart of most image-makers' work. That innate desire to document unusual moments sometimes means taking bold risks, something that Getty Images encouraged in Milly.

"I am still getting used to the often exclusive access Getty Images has, but I captured my favourite stills of the year so far at The Fashion Awards 2019 at the Royal Albert Hall," she recalls. "I was on the team of photographers and my role was to catch a bird's-eye view of the venue using the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and a Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM lens.

"During intervals I noticed the models peering out of their dressing rooms," says Milly. "The models were dressed head to toe in Armani, having just walked off the catwalk but, like everyone else, they wanted to see the rest of the show.

"I used a discreet Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens – my most adaptable lens which is easy to carry and less intimidating – and set a low aperture and shutter speed to allow enough light through the sensor because of the dim lighting and the fact that flashes were not permitted. I love the dark shadows and negative space the black-and-white edits create."

It's these in-between moments that Milly finds fascinating, bridging the gap between perfection and normality. "I took a risk, but I love that alternative perspective," she says. "Having confidence and staying inquisitive is what's most important when trying to improve your portfolio."

A black-and-white image of a person playing a guitar, shot from below the neck.
Her time at Getty Images has helped Milly decide what path she wants her career to take – when her internship finishes, she hopes to shoot music videos. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II with a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM lens at 200mm, 1/500 sec, f/3.5 and ISO2500. © Milly Grange-Bennett/Getty Images

5. Archives and forgotten stories

From fly-on-the-wall moments at fashion shows to filming Cirque du Soleil performers with her Canon EOS-1D X Mark II and a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens (now succeeded by the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM), Milly packed in varied experiences during her internship. The Covid-19 pandemic resulted in the cancellation of many high-profile events, but Milly used the opportunity to delve into the Getty Images Archives to unearth historic footage and edit it into meaningful content.

"I visited the Getty Images Archive, which was an indescribable experience," she says. "I felt very honoured to have experienced that and to see how complicated the restoration and preservation processes are. After my visit, I had an urge to create content using the archive and was given an incredible opportunity to create the International Women's Day edit for Getty Images' Instagram account.

"It's been amazing to learn about different subjects, to mark anniversaries and to have the archive at your fingertips. It has stretched my editing skills in terms of storytelling, and I've experimented with how to produce an audio track to fit the story."

All of this has helped Milly refine her career goals. "It's been a perfect opportunity for me to understand my passions," she says. "I'm leaning towards film and its synergy with audio – after my time at Getty Images I'd like to create music videos."

Yazar Lorna Dockerill

Milly Grange-Bennett's kitbag

The key kit pros use to take their photographs

Milly Grange-Bennett's Canon EOS-1D X Mark III and Canon lenses laid out.


Canon EOS-1D X Mark III

The successor to the camera Milly used at Getty Images. Life is full of unrepeatable moments. Capture more of them with the EOS-1D X Mark III and tell your visual story to the world. "When you're shooting fast-moving events there is no room for error," says Milly.


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