Benton grew up in a US Navy family as the only son of a career Naval Officier. He has one sister. His childhood family lived in Rhode Island, California, Korea and Virginia prior to his arriving in New York in 1987 after a video he created with a friend placed third in the "Visions of U.S." National Video Competition that was sponsored by Sony and Showtime /The Movie Channel. In addition to cash and prizes, this great fortune also won him an internship with Showtime/The Movie Channel which helped to motivate his permanent move from Virginia to New York. Once in New York, his talent for photography was recognized by Gary Perweiler, who was a well established leading advertising still life photographer and author of "Secrets of Studio Still Life Photography". Shorty after meeting Gary, he was offered and accepted an associate position. Under Gary's studio and guidance, Benton grew as a photographer and began shooting for many national clients. In 1990, Benton left Gary's studio to begin shooting commercially on his own.