The Power of Community in Photography

In this episode of Cowgirls with Cameras, join co-hosts Kim, Cara, and Phyliss as they dive into the role of community in the journey of a photographer. Reflecting on their own experiences, they share how finding their “people” was a cornerstone in their growth and success. From the serendipitous way they found each other to the countless benefits of being part of a like-minded community, this episode is a treasure trove of insights and inspirations. Whether you’re a budding photographer or a seasoned professional, tune in to discover why building your photography community is more than just networking – it’s about creating lasting connections, learning, and growing together in this beautiful art form. Join us for an episode that celebrates the spirit of camaraderie and the magic that happens when photographers come together.


Kim (00:03.452)

Welcome to the Cowgirls with Cameras podcast. I'm Kim with Kim Beer Photography and Be More Business.

Cara (00:10.018)

I'm Cara with Fast Horse Photography.

Phyllis (00:12.788)

And I'm Phyllis with Phyllis Burchett Photo. Good morning.

Cara (00:16.618)

Hi, good morning. Yes. It is the new year when we're recording this, but yeah. I was just thinking that when this episode comes out, if we look to the future, we will have just gone to Art of the Cowgirl. So isn't that crazy how that works? We're like speaking into the future.

Kim (00:16.704)

Happy New Year, everyone.

Phyllis (00:19.092)

Yeah, happy happy.

Kim (00:23.)

It's our first podcast recording of 2024.

Kim (00:35.901)


Kim (00:40.432)

we are and will be all safely ensconced back in our homes by the time this comes out on the 23rd.

Cara (00:46.242)

That's right. Ha ha ha.

Phyllis (00:47.328)

Actually, we will have just been getting back from Art of the Cowgirl and almost ready to go to imaging.

Kim (00:54.788)

Yes. Yeah. We're leaving poor Kara behind for that one.

Cara (00:57.207)

Don't rub it in.

Cara (01:01.939)

Yeah, someone's gotta hold this place together while you guys are gone having a blast with your photography friends. I know you are. Oh, what are you guys been up to?

Phyllis (01:08.988)

Yeah, well, and we are, we're gonna have a blast.

Kim (01:20.62)

Oh my goodness. Well, let's see, there's holidays and I have felt I kept telling people like I feel like I have not done anything like useful since like Thanksgiving. But when I stacked up, I have this habit when I do that, let's stack up what I've actually done and see if it really was actually a wash as I thought it was and it wasn't so bad. I published a poetry book. So

Phyllis (01:48.314)

Wow, congratulations.

Cara (01:49.622)

That's right, congratulations.

Kim (01:52.396)

I got my book put together for my chat book, which has been on my list. Now everybody don't get too excited because it's actually been on my to do list for like a decade, but finally got it completed and got it over to KDP, got all the proofing done on it. And so it is actually available on Amazon as I speak. The name of it is the gift of gravel.

And it's under my author page. So if anybody wants to go take a look, but I was pretty proud of that. And it's also book booking has been something I've been doing a lot of. I created a book of all of the three of our photography for as a catalog so people can order art from art of the cowgirl. Very, very pleased with how that project came together. And then I took the images that we utilized for that book.

Cara (02:34.005)


Kim (02:45.664)

plus some other images that Kara and Phyllis and I all contributed and created this gorgeous PowerPoint that we utilized a few days ago on our happy hour webinar, which we had amazingly good attendance on and I was so excited about to see all of the cool people that came in and talked with us and got to meet us and learn about our events coming up in 2024.

Cara (03:06.222)


Kim (03:13.596)

And I'm going to say it was a success enough. We're probably going to be doing some more of those in the future. And that's just a little snippet of what I've actually gotten done. But so all of.

Cara (03:25.61)

I know you've even been working on our book. You have been very much in the scheme of book creation. So.

Kim (03:29.158)


Phyllis (03:32.193)

I was thinking that she's probably been the most productive of all of us with all the art of the cowgirl planning and prep she's had to do so because she does all that and the website just getting the website up to date with you know our events and all that too so yeah you've been way more productive than I've been.

Cara (03:36.058)

Yeah. Prep.

Kim (03:41.416)


Kim (03:49.744)

Yeah, I have been.

Cara (03:51.142)

Yeah, we're proud of you, Kim. I was gonna give you a hard time, but we're proud of you. You did a good, you're doing a good job. Ha ha ha.

Kim (03:58.365)

Well, I am so, so over the moon happy about how particularly my poetry book came turned out. I am ecstatically happy about it.

Phyllis (04:10.178)

What is the theme of it? Is there a theme?

Kim (04:13.004)

Yeah, it's actually cowgirl and rural themed. So yes.

Cara (04:18.954)

And I've heard some of the poems and they are incredible. Like, you know those, you know when we've heard Kim recite some of her poetry in the past and we've just loved it. She, this book I think is like gonna be 100% that. Some of the poetry she's read to me, I've just been like, like moves you to tears, brings out all the feelings.

Phyllis (04:38.136)

Well, I feel really left out because she doesn't share anything with me. So have you bought the book? No, no, but yeah, but she shared the poetry with you anyway. She's used. You just said she read poetry to you out of her new book.

Cara (04:42.238)

Well, you gotta buy the book. Not yet, but I will, because I support my friends like that. I didn't know it was for sale already. Hold on, I'm getting on Amazon right now.

Kim (04:47.292)

that yet. It's still the-

Kim (04:55.519)



So first of all, don't buy it on Amazon. Buy it from me. So I make the money and not Amazon. That's number one. And for all of you out there, it'll be available on my photography website when I get back from Art of the Cowgirl, which is when you're listening to this. And Phyllis, may I indulge you with reading you a poem that's going to probably take less than a minute so you don't feel left out? So this, that's fine. It's short. So this is called The Magic.

Cara (05:05.554)

Okay, all right.

Cara (05:23.186)

as long as it's short, because we got a lot to talk about today.

Phyllis (05:23.62)


Cara (05:28.534)

All right, all right. Go.

Phyllis (05:28.836)

Go ahead, go Kim, go.

Kim (05:30.984)

The magic of horsehair.

There are stories woven into the manes of horses. Witness the kindly bay gelding whose long locks tell tales of children finding freedom from the prison of human disease. See the bright chestnut mare with short flaxen waves that reveal triumph of woman over fear. Honor the tears of many absorbed into the red mane of a sweet sorrow spirit a prince among horses. Each strand is a review some joy filled some a testament of pain long held in

away by a gentle rain on a Sunday morning in the pasture. Some mains are tattered, torn by the things they know. Others grow impossibly long, expanding to keep the measure of what they have understood. Some become tangled, knotted by the wind as it reads the unbelievable never spoken out loud. Under the mane of a horse is a safe place for your spirit, warm, soft, and inviting. Here you can lay your hand and then your worries, for the mane and the horse know how to release the

and recycle that which is pain into the solace and savv of peace.

Cara (06:40.798)

I'm telling you, chills, right? Like her poetry is so pretty. And Kim, I hope you just sell the heck out of these because I feel like this is something, like you said, it's taken you a decade to do it, but I feel like this has, the time has come and I'm so glad you've done it because every time I read something that you wrote, I'm like floored. So I'm really proud of you.

Kim (07:02.244)

Yeah, I just I'm really proud of myself. And I'm so excited. Because the whole goal of this book is to, okay, and I'm going to tie it back into what we do here. So our mission at the end of the day, if I think for each of us is to tell the story of what it's like to be in partnership with horses. I mean, at the end of the day, for all three of us coming from three different very lives.

very different lives. It's at the end of the day, that's what it's about, right. And part of my mission is to tell the story of what it's like to live the life of a farmer and a rancher of being rural and, and this world that's really kind of disappearing before our eyes, to give a legacy to that. And I feel like that's what this book of poetry is about. I hope that people see the insight.

of what it's like to live here and what it's like to experience this because that's what the words are hopefully saying is that's what I want to give and I want to give that to people not just people who recognize it because they live that life, but people who haven't had the privilege of being here in this lifestyle so that they can maybe experience through my poetry and through other Western artists poetry.

what it's like to live in partnership with nature and animals and especially horses.

Phyllis (08:30.372)

Very well said. That's gorgeous. Love it.

Cara (08:35.906)

Well, Phyllis, she really makes us look like we've done nothing for the last couple of weeks.

Phyllis (08:39.852)

I'm, you know, I'm feeling really less than right now, because I'm looking at what I did for the past month. Ooh, man. Okay.

Cara (08:50.658)

if you guys can hear my dogs but they're going crazy in the background but all right yeah well Phyllis I have I have two Labradors that think they're hounds Phyllis I'm gonna let you follow Kim because I don't want to follow that so

Phyllis (08:54.008)

We can hear them, but that's okay. Just sounds like music to our ears. Arrrr! Ha ha

Kim (08:55.126)

I can.

Kim (09:00.853)

You can tell you have a hound.

Phyllis (09:11.452)

Thanks a lot. Thank you for that. I really, oh gosh, dang. I thought I was doing, nevermind. Well, and I mean, along with the dogs, that fits so well for what I've been up to. Because I have gone to the dogs. I have spent every day with my dog.

Kim (09:30.788)

You've got you've got to the dogs.

Phyllis (09:35.592)

every day with my dog walking and hiking and it's been a really busy holiday season for me which included my birthday. I still have the last of my holiday gatherings to go to tomorrow as a matter of fact. So I'm going to say that I have been productive in a different way but not business wise. So just productive, keep catching up with friends and family that I have kind of neglected during my busy travel season.

Cara (09:48.264)

Never ending.

Phyllis (10:06.464)

It's been tough for me to get back in the groove. I've been trying to prepare for art of the cowgirl for our photography clinic and answering a lot of emails lately. Just I've been working on new greeting cards and I finally got some new business cards that were really long overdue. I actually did a prototype Oh, I did a planner for 2024 that I'm it's kind of a prototype for this year that I'm thinking about selling planners for 2025. Of course, it won't be the

planner I'm selling I'll have a new one of course just keeping up my weekly newsletter and getting those scheduled for upcoming travel and just that's all I've been doing nothing like wow nothing creative like you Kim what about you Kara

Cara (10:39.722)

Oh, well that's good.

Cara (10:55.747)


Well, I have been, I've had Easton Hall, my son. We've had the longest, what feels like the longest holiday break in the history of holiday breaks. It's been good, but they go back to, they went back to school for one day and then we had a big storm and they closed school early, so he was back home again. So we've been back to school just this week. So I kind of feel like this is my first real functioning week of work that I've had since the holidays. But it's, but so it's been,

I haven't stopped working since then. So it's just been nonstop from sun up till sundown bedtime. One of the things I have been working on that has been, that's always a fun thing is I've been prepping for our Horses on the Beach workshop. And what that means a lot of times is meeting local equestrians over at the beach and doing beach practice with their horses if they've never been on the beach before so that we know at the time of the actual event that they're in good shape and ready to be on the beach.

I've done a lot of, a lot of mentoring as well over this last couple of weeks. So even though Easton was here, I take a break and hop on with some mentees. And I've done a lot of in-person sales mentoring with photographers that are trying to add products to what they offer their clients. And that has been, I feel like every time I work with someone, I learned something new about my process and how to get better as a, as a mentor for photographers. So I've been really enjoying that. And I have had, um,

some time to finally start editing into the backlog of images I want to put into my stock imagery folders. So I've actually started adding stock images again, which is really good. And that makes me feel really good because that's such a, to me, that's such a quantity game. So I've been trying to get those images that I have set aside for stock into the place that they need to go.

Cara (12:51.33)

That's really all I've been working on. And I feel like just a ton of back end stuff for Calgros with cameras and answering emails. And we have so many great events coming up this year and lots of people asking questions and checking in about that. And so just kind of handling, battling the inbox. So yeah, that's it. We've all been, we've not been as productive as Kim, but it's been a good, it's been a good few weeks and it was a good holiday and I'm ready to be in the new year.

Phyllis (13:15.468)

Well, I appreciate all your hard work for getting things, all the logistics and everything ready for the workshop on the beach. I know that's a lot of hard work, so thank you for that. And I know that we did have one more, we did have another cancellation, so we have one spot open for that. This will come out in time for somebody to join us if they wanted to. Yeah. Awesome.

Cara (13:27.938)

Oh, you're welcome. It's always worth it.

Cara (13:40.902)

Okay. All right. Good deal. Yeah. So if you guys are listening, come join us on the beach. That's right.

Phyllis (13:47.024)

in beautiful St. Augustine, Florida.

Kim (13:47.257)

Yeah. And just so everyone knows that you have a recap of what is available, we do have a couple of spots left for horses in the snow, which is at the end of February 1st part of March, we will take people for that. We have a I think one or two coveted spots for dry head open, don't we, Phyllis? For in the summer?

Cara (13:58.566)


Phyllis (14:11.264)

I, yeah, that's, I do have, I have three people that are considering it that I haven't heard back from. So I hope I don't know yet. Yeah. Mm hmm.

Kim (14:21.344)

Okay. You might check in for dry head. It's close to full. And if not, you can get on the waitlist in case somebody has to cancel in between. We do have spots available for our essentials group, although that group is filling up quickly and it's a great group of people. I'm super excited about them.

I'm always excited about everybody mind you, but sometimes there is a group that you look at and go, oh my gosh, this group is going to have really good synergy. And I think that one is one of those groups as well as our horses in the snow. And Cottonwood has some places available and Trappers Lake, which is our one of our newer events, this will be the second year for it is already filling up as well. So all of them are great opportunities and would love to see you guys at one of them.

Cara (14:47.666)


Kim (15:08.402)

So reach out, go to our website at cowg look on our events tab and there's registration information for all of those events there. All right. Are we ready to dive into our topic du jour?

Cara (15:23.326)

I think we are.

Kim (15:25.204)

Yes. So one of the things that when we started Cowgirls with Cameras, one of the things that we really wanted to concentrate on was building community. And that's what we want to talk about today with you guys is building you building your own support system and your own photographer community to support you and you being support for other people. And this episode is the brainchild of Kara.

let her tell you a little bit more about why she chose this topic and the really the benefits of concentrating hard on this.

Cara (16:06.955)


I've been, I think I mentioned earlier that I've been working with a lot of photographers one on one through mentorships. And one of the things that has come up kind of repeatedly is the amount of folks that I talked to and I asked them, you know, tell me a little bit about your photography community. And they're, they're just kind of like, what are you, what are you talking about? And what I have found is that some of these folks that I work with are very, very much alone.

in their photography, whether they're hobbyists or they are business owners. And I find that the folks that are trying to have a photography business are more alone than the hobbyist folks that I work with. So what I think inspired this topic for me was this idea that for me as a photographer and a photographer that started out, I remember feeling very much like

have a business, I need to keep all my secrets close, I've gotta be super professional, every other photographer in town is a competitor, and it was a really...

it was a really lonely place to be. And it felt like I had to reinvent everything myself and I was trying to come up with all these ideas and but everything had to be mine. And I realized I attended a, I started attending some workshops, photography workshops where I was learning and shooting and I started meeting other photographers. And my world of photography, my business, it started to finally open up.

Cara (17:49.142)

and I started having successes and I started having wins and it was because I was

I had a community and I was harnessing the knowledge in that community and I was networking and I was getting ideas and I wasn't reinventing the wheel and I wasn't alone anymore. So for me, that's why this topic is so important and it's because I've met with so many photographers recently that are so alone and they're so stagnant in their business and it just made me sad. And so I thought, let's talk about why this is so important and why we need to have a community even though we're potentially very much

or we're very alone in this work and we run our own businesses, we still need support and we still need a community around us. Do you want me to talk about some of the reasons like why finding a community is important? Do you guys want me to talk about that?

Kim (18:39.86)

I think that would be great. Yeah.

Phyllis (18:40.692)

Yeah, yeah, of course.

Cara (18:42.386)

Okay. So some of the things that I have found in terms for me personally, that I found when I found my community and I started growing my community, that I was able to learn a lot faster. I was able to learn new techniques and tricks and about gear and tech and stuff that was out there without having to invest a ton of money. I was able to ask questions from other people, try out practice with other people's gear and just really talk through. Like I remember sitting at Powderhorn.

And I picked out real quick who was in charge in that room. And I sat down right next to Kim, buttered myself up next to her, and then made her teach me things, the whole powder horn. I drove her insane. And so that was so eye-opening for me. The next piece of this is the loneliness side of it. You know, you feel, especially if you came from a corporate world, or like I did, like the nonprofit world, you

are used to being around people every day. People stopping at your office and saying hello, being able to brainstorm ideas, that whole water cooler chat. And not, when I started working for myself and I started working from home, it was very lonely. And I didn't have the water cooler chat. I didn't have people chatting with me about ideas and brainstorming. So really when you create your community, you can help minimize some of that loneliness.

The inspiration piece of it is huge. Like I can't tell you how many times we'll be at a scene shooting and I'm shooting one way and you're shooting another way and Kim's shooting the same scene totally different. And the inspiration that comes from that when we see each other's images, you know, I didn't think about that idea. I love that. So being able to chat through some of that and get inspired. I think I already mentioned it, but saving time when you're trying to solve problems.

If you've got an issue and you have a community, you can put that out to your community and have all these ideas come back to you before even having to do a ton of research on your own. I think community is a great space to foster healthy, constructive criticism and peer feedback, and that can be scary when you're putting yourself out there for criticism. So having people that you trust, to be honest with you, and to, if you...

Cara (20:56.742)

If you need a gentle reminder that you could do something differently or you could do something better, having those people in your corner is really huge. And also having people that you can trust to say to you, hey, I was looking at these pictures, what's going on with your white balance or what's going on? We need to talk about this. Having those people in your corner that can rein you in and do it because you trust them and you know them and you know they're not coming at it from a place of malice. So.

Um, the networking piece of it has been huge, even as an introvert like I am, I love networking with other photographers when we go to events and learning from other photographers. And I think all three of us can say through community, we have been able to grow and we've met people that have opened new doors for us and have moved us into other realms that we didn't even know were possible. And that is through our networking and through, you know, getting to know each other.

other people. And then the last thing I just want to say is that on the topic of trends and emerging trends, when you have a community, a lot of times it helps you see what's going on in the industry faster than if you're by yourself. And you can talk about that with other photographers and just determine if it's something that you want to participate in and if it's a trend that you want to be on top of. So

Those are kind of the things that off the top of my mind, when I think about this idea of community, why I think finding community can be so important to photographers. Do you guys have anything you wanna add to that?

Phyllis (22:34.732)

Wow, I just I, I so totally agree with all of this, Kara that I think we all three, we all agree with it. And I can't, I don't think you can stress how important community how important this is. Whether you're going to be a hobbyist or a professional, it's I mean, I know for me back in the beginning, just before there was, you know, social media, and how just being on sites like better photo and the people that I met, or even EP

Cara (22:53.1)


Cara (23:02.061)



Phyllis (23:04.746)

groups, you know, I just it was so inspirational and I didn't know it at the time, but it opened up so many doors for me, which I didn't even realize how beneficial they would be to me later on and, you know, in my career or life. So yeah, no, I, I think everything you said is so important.

Kim (23:26.72)

Absolutely. I totally agree with the fact that, you know, it does feel like you work in a chasm sometimes when you are a solopreneur. And it's so difficult, especially if you're an extrovert, I think it's easier if you're an introvert. But as an extrovert, I struggled so hard with depression from not having that community to talk to and to bounce ideas off of.

Kim (23:56.674)

motivated to stay in my business. I mean, it was, it was difficult and you can't learn everything you need to know about how to run a business or how to, or how to do photography from a book or a YouTube video or a training course. You, you need to be able to bounce ideas off of other people and be in community with them.

so many different ways. So yeah, I do agree that it is a critical piece of it. And I think it's one of the reasons that it got made the nine focus points list for us when we talked about those things for our mission and how we wanted to shape our community with cowgirls with cameras. So do you want me to start talking? Yes, it is. It is.

Cara (24:47.914)

And dang it, it's just more fun too. It's just more fun. Like photography is more fun with community. A lot more laughter. Yeah, go ahead Kim. Sorry I didn't mean to interrupt you, but I was just thinking about how you guys make me laugh and smile and.

Phyllis (24:50.528)

Yeah. Definitely. Yeah.

Kim (25:01.)

You're fine. You're fine. It is a lot more fun. We also are responsible for some of the gray hairs on her head. So

Cara (25:10.374)

Yeah, I've gotten a lot of gray hairs in the last two years knowing you guys. Oh.

Kim (25:15.616)

Yes, definitely, definitely. So what I want to talk to you guys about is a lot of face to face type stuff. So I think Phyllis is going to talk to you more about the digital and social media aspects. And to be honest, community can be built both ways. So for me, I as an extrovert, I like to be around human energy. So the face to face opportunities,

Kim (25:45.19)

things I'll go out of my way to do. One of the best decisions I ever made was to be involved with Equine Photographers Network, who is one of the sponsors of our show and who we had an episode on just a few weeks ago with Corinne, who is the founder of that. I cannot recommend enough that you join EPnet. Beyond EPnet, there's the Professional Photographers of America.

which is PPA. Phyllis and I are going to be going to imaging here in a couple of weeks, which is their big annual convention that happens in January. PPA offers you the opportunity to find other photographers that do different types of photography than you do. You will be the minority in this group doing equine and western photography. There's a lot of people who do portraits and seniors. And I will tell you that you have a lot to learn and a lot to

communicate with those people, right? You can be a benefit to them, they can be a benefit to you. So PPA is great. PPA also has local chapters and regional chapters. So and state organizations, you just have depends on where you live, you need to get associated with them pretty quickly. Another group that we all belong to that is another great community for you to get involved with is the cowgirl artists of America. And

They are an amazing, amazing organization and I cannot say enough nice things about them. They've been very beneficial for us. Phyllis is, I'll let Phyllis talk a little bit more. Do you want to talk a little bit more? Because you're the, you've got kind of an elite membership in Cowgirl Artists of America, right? You're a juried member.

Phyllis (27:28.224)

Well, I'm a signature member, which just means, like you said, I was, I was kind of juried in as a, yeah, you have to, you have to jump, kind of jump through a few hoops. I mean, they're not big hoops, but your portfolio has to be they look over your work, they get really, you have to have a lot of your bio and your there's just all kinds of stuff you have to get. I mean, I don't mean a lot. It's, it's, it wasn't terribly hard to do.

Cara (27:30.498)

There we go.

Kim (27:30.772)

There you go.

Cara (27:33.646)

She's a fancy member.

Phyllis (27:58.138)

it. And it was funny because they told me, Oh, you rarely get it's not unusual for a photographer not to be accepted the first year. And so I was really excited when they accepted me that as a signature member of the first year. So yeah, that was cool.

Kim (28:14.464)

It's a big feather in your cap and it's a great organization. Megan is the person that we work with over there that's amazing and she's so enthusiastic about everything. I just love her. So that's another organization. Yes, and here's the thing. That's community building, right? That's getting onto those calls and being part of that community. So that's community building. So at the bottom, at the end of the day, find organizations.

Phyllis (28:25.94)

Yes. So much training they do too. Yeah. I- yeah.

Mm-hmm. Right.

Kim (28:44.198)

join clubs. And here's another thing, the club and the organization, sometimes we want you to build your photographer community, but you can also build community through getting to know people in your industry as well, whatever you photograph, like if you photograph Rainers or whatever, get to know the people there as well as part of the networking. Another thing you can do, go ahead, Phyllis.

Phyllis (29:06.444)

I think even, I was just, Kim, as you well know, because this is a big part of what you do, even just getting to know other entrepreneurs that maybe aren't photographers, but other business, single solo entrepreneurs, I think for me is really good. And I think that's a big thing, part of what you do. And I think that's a huge part of community too. They don't have to be photographers.

Cara (29:17.767)


Kim (29:31.556)

No, they don't. And I was just sitting here thinking there's another group that I would recommend as well. And there's an organization in Kansas City called Freelance Exchange, but I do believe they have some different chapters across the US or there's things like them.

But freelance exchange is a place where freelancers, which a lot of us kind of qualify as freelancers, even if we own our own businesses, but they hold all kinds of get togethers and events and meetups that they do to support each other because that's a group of solopreneurs that utilize that community as support for all of the things that they do in their.

their businesses and their lives day to day. So that's great places. Look for organizations and I think at the end of the day, start with photography, but look outside the box. Think outside the box as to who you can connect with and be a part of their organization. The other thing I want to mention

Cara (30:31.542)

Well, and you never know who's going to enhance your business. Like in my community, I have hair and makeup people. I have vintage clothing people. They're all small business owners. But you just never know when you need to pick up the phone because you might need something or you might have a question in who they're going to be connected to. So don't be afraid to throw your net out nice and wide and find other people that you guys can help each other out. You never know.

Kim (30:56.936)

You never ever know. So and then So if you're a little bit lost as to kind of where to find some groups, you might try It is a website and the people do host their put their events on where they're doing groups. I will tell you I've actually been a host. I did a group for a couple of years for artists in Kansas City. It was a great group.

I will tell you it is a community group. And so it's sort of a roll of the dice of who's going to come. So you've got to go experience it. And if it's a group that seems to work for you, then go back. If it's not, it's no big deal. You don't have to stay. So but it's meet up if you haven't experienced it. It is people who form groups like my friend Vicki and I started a group.

It was basically a moral support group for artists. And over the two years that we did it, we had over 1800 people follow our group and we would routinely have people, 20 to 25 people in our group meetings. But it got to be a little bit disruptive. So we retired our group. But some groups are really, really active and interesting. And I still do occasionally go to meetups.

other places that you can do is you can go to expos and events where photographers go together, like Imaging USA. I mentioned that with PPA. The thing I want to really concentrate on and my biggest tip for building your community is don't just show up to these things, but take some time to get to know people. And the best way for you to do that, if you haven't had done this before, is to do what we call a one-on-one.

So when you meet an interesting person that you would like to know better, invite that person to a one-on-one. And the one-on-one could be coffee if they're local to you, or it could be virtual if they're not. Zoom one-on-ones are super common now since we...

Kim (33:06.504)

since COVID taught us that we could do that over Zoom. So there's so many, I mean, COVID was a horrible thing that I wished had never happened, but it did leave us with some lasting legacies that I believe are really good things. And those virtual one-on-ones are one of those things. If you are following somebody on social media and you're like, wow, this person and I share a lot in common, I'd really like to get to know them better. It's okay to reach out and say, hey,

I would really be interested in getting to know a little bit more about you, getting to know a little bit more about your business. And I would love to have a one-on-one. If you would be interested, let me know. So one-on-ones are a great way for you to get to know other business owners and photographers or anybody for that matter. The rules kind of go, you have to be quiet and listen to the other person.

So become prepared with some questions that you would like to ask them to get to know them a little bit better and then be prepared to talk about yourself. A good one-on-one is truly 50-50. So half the time that person's getting to talk about themselves and their business and their needs and their stuff and the other half it's about you and what you are doing and what you would like.

then if there's an opportunity or you feel that there are some things that you have synergy with this individual that you might want to do something further, then make suggestions for that and see what they're open to doing. One-on-ones, I will tell you, I have made the best referral network here in Kansas City doing one-on-ones. It's an amazing tool and a skill that you can utilize for being able to really get...

a lot of contact with people and build a friendship that becomes very supportive for you. Now once you've had the one-on-ones, then you can build a deeper community. And I'm going to ask Kara to talk about something that she does every week with two of her photographer friends that really has helped her build her community and her business. Can you talk to us about...

Kim (35:24.48)

your photographer stuff with Kara, I mean, sorry, with Betsy and Tracy.

Cara (35:29.458)

Oh yeah, so one of the ways that I have utilized my community is I've created a little network and the three of us started meeting regularly on Monday mornings and we use this as a time to first of all at the beginning of the year we set our goals and we announce them to each other and then we use the meeting as a way to check in with each other on how we're doing with our photography goals and kind of where we are for the year.

Cara (35:59.372)

and we get to chit chatting as I'm sure you can imagine and having fun. But we try to have a topic that we're discussing every time we get together. And it can be anything from, you know, I'm looking for a new product to offer my clients to I'm trying to set my pricing on this particular item or I'm trying to

redesign my website or I have some questions about how to word this email. We have talked about anything you can imagine, but just having outside opinions from people that are in your same industry and work with similar clients has been so huge for me. I think it has been for them too because we've been doing this now for several years. I think we're at least on three years now that we've been meeting on Mondays.

continued, it just continues to be a place. And then the longer we go, the more comfortable we are with shooting a quick text message to each other with questions and that sort of thing. So I have found it to be extremely valuable and very influential on how I have handled different scenarios in my business. So I'm a big fan.

Kim (37:09.62)

That's awesome. That is awesome. And it's just so nice to be able to have that community. I'm part of a group in Kansas City called the collective. And they meet on Thursdays, we just get on zoom and work with each other. Like that's all we do. We check in. And then we have like sprints where we work for 30 or 45 minutes. And then I'll come back in and check to see if anybody needs moral support. And it's become a group of friends. I consider those women now my friends and which

Cara (37:24.638)


Kim (37:39.674)

is awesome because I now have a very, very supportive other solopreneur friend network as well. So those are, that's my two cents and how to build some community with those live events. I don't know who wants to go next.

Phyllis (37:58.744)

I guess I'm feeling a little left out right now because I don't have a Monday morning group and I don't have a Big group in Kansas City that I get together with so I'm just down here all by myself, but that's okay. I have social

Cara (38:12.918)

Thank goodness you have us on Fridays to record podcast episodes with us, or you just be so alone. Poor lonely girl.

Kim (38:15.943)


Phyllis (38:22.436)

That's okay, I have my social media. Okay. Well.

Cara (38:27.577)

A good transition.

Phyllis (38:33.556)

Sometimes I do because I take breaks a lot from social media because I feel uninspired a lot to I always try to like I like to think that what I share means something to my followers and sometimes it's hard to come up with something that you think will resonate but anyway, we won't we won't go there. So I really feel that connecting with your own social media, whether it be Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, tick tock, you know,

Whatever it is. Just I feel like that's really highly important. I know it has been for me to help grow my business

connecting with your followers and other accounts that you can connect with can really help grow your community. I've met so many new friends just from social media. I know some people will think you know what do you mean you're going to stay with so-and-so in Alabama? How do you know they're not a serial killer or something? Have you ever met them in person? I'm like no we're just friends on Facebook.

Cara (39:33.522)

I have never said that. Quit accusing me of thinking you're going to get killed by some person you've met on social media. Ha ha

Phyllis (39:42.024)

I think because I am.

an introvert that I that's why I like social media, because I can get to know people and I know sometimes you have to be or a lot of times you really need to be careful but I've had some great friendships that have formed through social media. Trudy and Nicole in Utah that I have been able to photograph on the salt flats at Bear Lake and gone trail riding with I mean it's just been amazing the friends that I've come up with. My friend in Alabama Denise.

Cara (40:03.541)


Phyllis (40:18.884)

that is really such an inspiration to me in so many ways. So don't think that you can't form friendships. Just be careful.

But I think also when you get on your community with the social media is acknowledging and celebrating the achievements of your community, or your followers, your connections. Like if Denise or even Kara, I mean just whoever, if they've won an award or something, go in and celebrate them, maybe even share it. I think that's really important is to toot each other's horn. Not just your own, to other people's horns.

And in turn, they'll toot yours too. So if it's appropriate to, I don't know, sometimes I have a hard time with this. I don't do this very much, but if asked for, you might even offer constructive feedback or support to help them improve. And be consistent. Consistency is really important by regular updating your content and responding to comments. I think that's really important is let your followers know that you hear them.

empty blank space where they've commented on your post and then they don't even know if you're you know if you're appreciative or acknowledge it in some way like it comment I try to comment to everyone that comments unless it really gets out of hand with the comments sometimes but you know a lot of times people will leave something that really means a lot to me and actually has made my day just through a comment that they've made. So but because you want your community members to stay engaged and invested in the group so

you do this is by is by, you know, engaging with them, share the conversation, keep it going. Connecting with other photographers or influencers or organizations and your niche is really big too. And that's will actually help grow your community. And we've already talked about collaboration, but you know, cross promoting content, even sharing other people's content has been a big help for me. So I think all of

Phyllis (42:29.59)

really helped have helped my community grow and I know they'll help yours too and it'll be really have a lot of value to your connections too just by doing this so yeah that's all I got

Cara (42:44.196)

Awesome. Yeah, that was a lot.

Kim (42:44.692)

Well, that's a lot. You I mean, I love the relationships you've built with people that are

Phyllis (42:46.5)

I'm sorry.

Kim (42:55.192)

so good that they have such respect for you that they're willing to get up at 4am in the morning and meet you somewhere so you can shoot them. I mean, to be honest with you, it's a lot we ask of people when we photograph them. And the fact that someone who met you on social media thinks highly enough of you to do that. And I have to say your social

Kim (43:25.406)

they, oh, the Phyllis, Phyllis Burchett is going to be there. And so I love that. So we have, we have that a lot. So the reputation, the reputation and the network that you've built over social media is really important. And I think it does sustain your business in a way that is really, really nice. It's a it's a community that supports you.

Phyllis (43:35.091)

You're just, you're making me blush, Kim.

Kim (43:53.404)

as much as you support them through providing them with your images. So it's just a really good connection to have through the digital means of social media. That's what social media is supposed to be about, right? It's supposed to be social.

Phyllis (44:09.825)


well yeah and it's not just about taking it's about giving back to them too it's about going and going to their account and commenting and supporting them and you know being there for them if they you know answering their questions I mean like you said our whole uh roadmap is an open gate and so I think that's really important is to let people know that you know if they have a question feel free to ask so it doesn't matter well if it's personal it might matter but

Cara (44:16.108)


Cara (44:43.75)

Well, I hope that this conversation today has inspired folks to take a moment and just kind of evaluate their community and see if maybe they've got some work to do to grow their community. I hope it inspires them to maybe look at creative outlets to build community and try some things they haven't tried before. And if they have a great community to take a moment to just thank that community because

I don't know about you guys, but community is something that has continued to keep me going sometimes. So I just like you guys are my community and I appreciate both of you guys so much. So if you guys have enjoyed this episode today, let us know. You can review or you can review us on your wherever you listen. You can also follow us online at cowgirls with cameras. We're on Instagram and on Facebook. And if you want to join us somewhere and become

part of our community, we'd love to have you. You can check out some ways that you can do that at cowg Check out our events tab and keep your eyes open for future happy hour invites in the future.