Receiving and Giving Props

I’ve got family and friends that still can’t believe that I’ve only had “my rig” since September of 2009. That’s less than six months.

The LOML had no idea what kind of monster he would eventually create by giving me my first “real” camera. Because since September, I have read at least 100 books and magazines, viewed dozens of online tutorials, and subscribed and listened to over 400 podcasts on photography. I’ve also reached out to a few photographers on Facebook or through their websites for tips, help, and some simple advice.

What’s interesting about some of the photographers I’ve written to is that they billed themselves as “happy to help” or “all about giving back.” (Which is why I chose them to begin with.) Yet I haven’t received a single tip, trick, or bit of advice from them. I’m not sure why — maybe they’re busy, or just forgot to respond. Or have big egos and think that sharing a secret or two about how they set up lighting or do post-production in PhotoShop might result in lost business.

It’s hard not to feel a bit brushed off by their lack of communication. Because even the best of the best photographers had to start somewhere.

But not all pro photographers are snobs.

In fact, I’ve been quite blessed with finding one in particular that has helped me in so many ways that I personally nicknamed him the “Jimmy Lama.” (A nickname he swears he doesn’t like . . .)

If you live anywhere NEAR Oklahoma City, hire this guy for any and all of your photography needs.

Jimmy Beltz, owner of BC Photo (near Oklahoma City), is a one-of-a-kind balance between southern boy, skilled pro photographer, patient teacher, and family man. He is dedicated to his craft and genuinely loves to help those who fall into the category of “amateur” photographer. Like me.

(You can also hear Jimmy on his podcast called “PhotoTips,” and/or become a fan of his on Facebook, and/or buy his products on

It was through sheer frustration that I found Jimmy on an iTunes search for a decent podcast on digital photography. I’d listened to a few other photography podcasts before, and most were “round table” discussions between professional photographers who droned on and on about gear (Mac vs. PC, or Nikon vs. Canon, etc.) or their own websites without really digging into the basics or providing insight.

So you can imagine my reaction when I first listened to Jimmy — being all southern and genuine and funny without even trying.

I was hooked.

Then came his ridiculously cheap photography class. For $20, you learn all you need to know to start shooting like a pro.

THEN came the ridiculously cheap photography BUSINESS class. For $70, you learn all you need to know to start EARNING MONEY like a pro. No joke.

And unlike the other photographers who never bothered to share a trick or tip or one word of advice, Jimmy ACTUALLY SHARED HIS BUSINESS MODEL in the course. Not just a few things about work flow or what he charges for different types of jobs. But the ENTIRE model for his successful, six-figure income earning business.

How many photographers do YOU know who would do that? Hell, how many BUSINESS OWNERS do you know who would do that? I’m thinking not many.

Why do you think he does that? My answer is that he wants those who learn from him to be successful, and ultimately wants them to GIVE BACK once they are capable of doing so — maybe by sharing a portion of their profits with charities or giving free photo sessions and prints to those who cannot afford it themselves.

Between the time I first gave Jimmy a listen and purchasing his classes, I wrote to him to tell him how much I enjoyed his podcast and his instructional “flavor.” He wrote back and had a few nice things to say about the blog. And that was pretty much it until I wrote to him about a podcast he did that explained (in his southern, genuine, funny-without-even-trying way) what you should recommend your clients NOT wear in a shoot (Episode #30, titled “What Not to Wear”). Basically, it was so hilarious that I had to listen to it again to see if I missed anything from laughing so hard.

Anyway, while I had already planned on blogging about Jimmy because he’s been so helpful, I decided to write about him sooner because he spoke about me and the blog on one of his podcasts (Episode #31, to be exact).

Now, I have to explain that I don’t often listen to podcasts right after they’re posted. In fact, I listen to my iPod in weird cycles. I go on audio book binges, then after a few podcasts have piled up, I begin knocking them out. Then I go on music binges . . . and so on and so on. Suffice it to say that it had been a while since hearing Jimmy’s voice. And saying I was surprised to hear him mention me AND the blog would be a definite understatement.

Because it wasn’t just “Hey, Kathleen, thanks for the letter,” but at least a minute or two about how funny he thought the blog was. And then he compared me to ERMA BOMBECK. I could. have. died.

Because she’s the reason why I started writing in the first place. She was my 4th grade hero — when all the other girls were reading Judy Blume and wishing for their periods and bras, I was reading Erma Bombeck. She reminded me of my own mom, and I always thought that if I were to ever become a parent, I’d want to be like her.

THEN reality set in. People all over the WORLD listen to Jimmy. And I realized that he’d driven them all to MY BLOG. The blog I hadn’t written on SINCE DECEMBER and still contained the ugly old purple theme and then I TOTALLY PANICKED thinking, “OhmyGod, Jimmy told them I was funny and I hadn’t brought the funny for MONTHS and then OHMYF-INGGOD that purple theme was so stupid why didn’t I change it up sooner?” It was similar to just learning that a friend was bringing over a celebrity in five minutes and you hadn’t showered yet and your house was an absolute mess.

Then I realized it was just Jimmy and “his peeps,” and I totally relaxed. He wouldn’t care about appearances and neither would those who listen to his podcast or hang out in his forums. They’re too nice for that.

I am anxious, though, to find out what they think of my photos . . .

Anyway, thank you Jimmy for the “shout out.” I wasn’t expecting it, and you didn’t have to share my little slice of blog heaven with the world, but you did.

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02 2010

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  1. Nic #

    Hubby gave me a Nikon D5000 for Christmas. I almost fell off my chair. :0) My intro course is the first week of March and I’ll be sure to share any tidbits I think you may be able to use. :0) Right now it’s just a point and shoot camera for me. But I’ll send you a couple. Makes me look soooo f’n cool, LOL…

    My son’s teacher wrote me a brief note that he needed new “indoor shoes” (um, okay…). Took a look at his boots as he was walking ahead of me; he’s literally walking on top of the heel… he went from a 12 to a size 2!!! wth?? So obviously, boots, too.

    At his dr’s appointment I found out that he went from the 5th percentile to the 10th percentile… from 50 to 65 lbs and 2.25 inches in one year (he just turned nine and is growing out of a size seven). So basically from East Indian to French Canadian. !!! ha, ha, … Gotta love them.

  2. 2

    Ha, Erma Bombeck. Congrats.
    .-= Marvin´s last blog ..Global warming is killing Minnesota’s meese =-.


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