Written by Walter Grio.
Title: Photographer for Getty Images
Location: Los Angeles
Publications: People, Us Weekly, In Touch Weekly, Life & Style Weekly, Entertainment Weekly, OK!, and other
Tell us about your work.
My primary job with Getty Images is that of an entertainment events photographer, where I have worked since 2001 (previous to them 15 years in the UK working for newspapers). January is the kick off for awards seasons, meaning that I cover most of the major red carpet award events including the Golden Globes, SAGs, People’s Choice, and then we take a quick one week out to cover the Sundance Film Festival which includes covering premieres, on the street work, parties, and sponsorship events. Back to Los Angeles for more premieres and award shows then out to New York where I shoot runway shows for IMG, as well as any other events which time permit. Back to LA again, where we look forward to all the pre Oscar events as well as the award show and parties… And that is just January and February.
March and April consists of the Academy of Country Music Awards in Vegas followed by Coachella and Stagecoach music festivals in Palm Springs. More premieres (summer blockbuster releases) occasional fashion, wedding, and baby shoots. Then we get to Miami Fashion Week followed by New York and Aruba Fashion Week. October, November, and December are all scattered with red carpet events, parties, and entertainment news, as well as candid shoots all thrown in for good measure. As you can see, what looks to be a glamorous line up of events is in fact an assortment of long hours, traveling and high stress situations. That said, I wouldn’t want to trade it in anytime soon. It’s a lot of fun and I do get to see what only a privileged few get the pleasure of experiencing.
Of all the events and photographs you have taken over the years, what moment or photograph stand out the most?
Really tough one as I’ve had 27 years of working in the world of photojournalism. Moments that do stick out are recently shooting HRH Prince William and his wife Kate during a visit to the British Consul in Los Angeles. Walking with Catherine Zeta-Jones picking up shells on an island in Turks and Cacaos while Michael Douglas was entertaining the Prime Minister of the Bermudas and other prominent dignitaries who gate crashed our shoot.
What advice would you give to a photographer who’s just starting out?
I would say experience is the thing and that you should be going out in your own time and cover events and submitting your work to media outlets so they get to know who you are and your abilities. While this isn’t always possible, web sites, blogs, web based photo galleries, Facebook, Twitter and all the other social networks are there as tools to showcase your skills. Don’t be afraid to knock on doors and ask about training programs, but the key is really getting your face known and not to be afraid to ask those questions to the people that matter.
What are some of the differences and similarities when you’re photographing a wedding vs. a Hollywood event or Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week?
Every job has a brief so it’s really just a matter of applying what the client’s needs are and making them happen in a photographic form. For most jobs, I approach it from a photojournalistic view trying to capture candid moments while using my technical side to work out what will get the best results. Wedding and fashion really are the same in the respect that you want to create a bridal fashion picture so you can apply the same rules in many cases. Red carpets and runway require a formula: full length, headshots, and accessories. As with weddings, candids and family groups and the traditional atmosphere shots are all essential. Once you have achieved these you can concentrate on making the creative one and two shots. Scouting locations is always recommended. Trying to get the moment is always the hard part but as they say… you have to be in the right place at the right time… and lucky most of the time we are.
What inspires you to do what you do and what inspires you to keep doing it?
To get better. I look around at my colleagues’ work and all the images taken by amateurs and professionals alike and use this to inspire my work, to try to be as good as I can, and be proud of what I produce. I work alongside some of the best professionals in their fields, so I have to be on form every time. Strangely enough, I am the least artsy in my family. My father is an amateur artist who has had work exhibited in British Galleries and my brother works with metal creating metal sculptures and metal art. I get the most pleasure out of photographing my daughter – she is my ongoing photographic project. I admire photographers like David LaChapelle who creates these out of control settings for their subjects, those are real productions. Most of the time, I look at so-called famous photographers work and am not impressed, but the same can be said of many artists and I’m sure they would look at my work and say the same – which is one of the reasons I don’t really call myself an artist, but mainly a photojournalist. But on the main, I don’t really follow that many photographers other than those I work alongside or are in my industry.