The guest speaker at the Rotary Club of Lake Murray-Irmo meeting for the April 11, 2012 was Joel Collins, professional travel photographer. Joel approaches travel photography with an emphasis on cultural sensitivity and respect. He has a patient approach, often trying to blend in with the local population and getting to know someone before taking their photo. As a professional he shoots for travel companies, travel magazines, and he leads instructional photo tours for aspiring amateur photographers.
Joel told the club that a travel photographer must be a good traveler as well as good photographer. He offered three tips for all travelers: go slow to absorb the surroundings, immerse yourself in the location and pack light in order to be able to easily explore the area. He offered four tips for taking better photographs: get closer to the subject, work it to get a better angle and prospective, use the background to enhance the photo and share your photos. St Augustine said “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
His love of travel started at age three when his family moved to Europe. He started photographing at age 12 with his father’s Pentax Spotmatic and received his own camera soon after. Travel and photography have been intertwined ever since. After undergraduate studies at Clemson University and earning a Master’s degree in Experimental Psychology from the University of Louisville, he worked at IBM for 10 years before beginning a career as a professional photographer. Joel lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, with his wife and two sons.