We had the good fortune of connecting with Jimmy Nelson and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Jimmy, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I chose an artistic career because I realized that I no longer had a choice. If I wanted to live my best life, I had to follow what I was passionate about and make a living doing what I love. Throughout my whole life, I’ve always been passionate about being involved in something creative. Growing up, it was skateboarding. If I wasn’t in school, I was skateboarding. I practiced all day, everyday, regardless of weather or my surroundings. I remember when going on camping trips with my family, I would practice doing kick flips off of a picnic bench into the dirt because I didn’t want to go a day without practicing. During this time, I also developed a passion for filming and editing videos of my friends and myself skateboarding. While I truly enjoyed it, I thought that having a career in film was unrealistic and only for the lucky few.
As I got older, my interest in music pushed me to get involved in music production. I made beats for various hip-hop artists in Arizona and other parts of the world. I recorded other artists in my home studio.
As I moved into adulthood, I started a career with a liquor distributor. It was a big step out of my comfort zone getting involved in sales. It certainly helped me grow as a person, but after 9 years, I hit a wall. In my last couple years in the business, I started to think all day about what I could do differently for a career. I knew that I had a gift that I was not utilizing.
I started to get back into music production and had the desire to do YouTube videos about music production. While this was short-lived, it got me involved with cameras again. Very quickly, I started to look into ways to make money with my camera. While on a trip with the liquor distributor I worked for, we had a large dinner with people from all over the country. During the dinner, we each got to pick out a prize. The prize I chose was a drone. Most people thought it was a ridiculous choice, but I had a good feeling about what I would be able to do with it.
Now that I had a decent camera, some lenses, and a drone, the possibilities with filmmaking became apparent. My sister was a real estate agent, so I got an easy start in real estate photography. Being able to do photography, videography, and aerial shots was very profitable for me in real estate photography.
One day, my neighbor informed me that he was getting married in two weeks, and I immediately told him I wanted to film his wedding. I had been watching videos on YouTube of wedding videographers “behind the scenes” at a wedding. This helped me learn all of the types of shots and techniques to use. I knew that there was good money to be made in the long run, so I used the experience of filming his wedding for free to start a portfolio and learn. After filming his wedding for free and doing a few others for very cheap, I was also growing with real estate photography.
One year after buying a camera, and six months after filming his wedding, I quit my job with the liquor distributor. It was a huge risk, but I knew that everything would come together. At this point, I knew that this was the best opportunity to do something creative, what I love, for a living.
This was December 2019, so within just a few months of being self-employed, Covid hit the world and changed life as we know it. Throughout this time, I’ve still managed to grow my business and make more money than I did in my previous career. It has been an amazing journey.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I grew my business by becoming better at doing what I love. I always strive to learn, grow, and become better with every wedding film I make, and every property that I shoot. I seek out mentorship with those who I strive to be more like. I treat all of my clients with the upmost respect. I do everything I can to deliver on what they value, and add more. By treating people well and doing the best job I can, people want to see me succeed. The feeling is always mutual, as I want to see my fellow business-owners grow and be successful.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
There’s something for everyone. Do they like music and the city? Let’s go get some coffee downtown, hit a record store, visit a museum/art gallery, go see live music. If they’re into the outdoors, there’s plenty of terrain and trails to hit in the valley. Bonus: Go up north and visit Sedona. Hit some trails, go camping.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I have to shoutout my son, James, for giving me purpose in life, and inspiring me to do what I love to give him the best life possible.

Website: jnelsonfilms.com and jnmedia.net

Instagram: @jnelsonfilms @jnmedia365

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCl-CDGp2fSJjasLvemRM_xw

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutArizona is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.