Blog - SweetShot Photography, LLC

Hunter Jumper Shows and Blue Ribbons

Posted on Photoblog August 29, 2018

We have been spending most of our shooting time at the Gold Standard Stables a beautiful equine training facility for show horses and riders in Amherst, New Hampshire. GS3 as it is referred boards our horse Peter Pan "Neverland" a grey American Quarter Horse/Welsh mix. A show horse in the Hunter Jumper show ring for many years, "Petey" as he is affectionately known, had been retired from the ring for 2 years and has not shown for  awhile...up until this month. 

After several months of training and rider coaching by well know expert Equine Trainer, Tammy Hicock also trainer for the Northeastern University Equestrian Team  in Boston, MA, Tammy trained and coached both Petey and his Owner Annie Citarelli for the Hunter Jumper Show ring. Horse and Rider were entered into the   the New Hampshire Hunter Jumper Association Long Stirrup Division, at the Tack Shack, Fremont NH show on August 18, 2018. This was the very first show for Rider Annie Citarelli and  for Peter Pan "Neverland" (registered show name) coming out of retirement. 

Let the photos tell the story of this Teams' outcome!

NHHJA Hunter Jumper Show-Tack Shack 8-18-18

Taking the number ONE spot in the Long Stirrup Division. THREE Blue Ribbons and onto the FINALS!!

The Moving Wall - Vietnam Memorial

Poste on Photoblog July 20, 2018

There needs no words for this solemn memorial. It is best felt in the photos we took on the site of the Moving Wall in Amherst NH.

We chose to display the wall and it's memorials in black and white to express the mood and the powerful emotion it emanates and the magnitude of its presence.

God Bless the Fallen, May You Rest in Eternal Peace.

The Moving Wall

You Want to be an Event Photographer

Post on Photoblog May 14, 2018

Lets back up a little. We were so excited about our new Equestrian photography that we really started the GPS before explaining about our photography service and how we came to be "Event Photographers". So we are putting on the brakes,  turning around and  re-calculating! This will put us back in the right direction on how we came to shooting Equestrian Events.

After receiving hundreds of solicitation emails and newsletters, blog posts and other photography related emails, one caught my eye before I hit  delete. It was from a photography blogger  and the title of the post was "I really was fascinated by the title and decided to read further. The author refers to event photography as an industry. I chuckled at that description because we have been shooting events since 2008 way before it was even called "Event Photography" no less the Event Photography industry! I actually thought I was the one that dubbed it Events photography for the lack of any better description of what we did! We aren't wedding photographers and had never intended to get into the wedding photography industry  a really over saturated market even back 10 years ago. Actually we started out shooting political events pro bono. Yes, you read correctly, we shot many events our first few years for "FREE".  We knew no other way to prove and show our work. We were very "choosey" however, of the events we would shoot for free. They had to be high end, high profile events. I am a marketing and PR professional at heart, so I used my "pitching" strengths to have the Event Chair agree to our photography. That was 8 years ago. Now we are paid and we are paid very well. We provide our clients, whom by the way, call us exclusively for their events. We do not market ourselves any longer because after the thousands of events we have shot, we now are word of mouth marketing. That wasn't the way in the beginning!  was our very best friend long beforeGetting Your Foot In The Door Of The Event Photography Industry."Facebook Mark Zuckerberg decided to start charging for business page advertising. We used both Facebook and Twitter got  a great website and every event we photographed we posted. There is much work you need to do to be successful at Event Photography.

Here is a few tips that may make it a bit easier to break into this tough market.

1.  Know your manual settings. Know your ISO settings as most events are held indoors in not so ideal lighting conditions.

2. Train your eye to see what others don't and capture the unseen very candidly.

3. Focus on the key players at the event and be very discreet on where you place yourself when shooting the key players.

4. Do not pose anyone at an event. Ask first if you can photograph them. Some guests do not like having their photos taken.

5. Dress professionally. Know the type of event you are photographing and dress accordingly. It is best to wear black as you do not want to be "seen".

6. Aim for the "money shot" as they call it in PR. That is the shot that out of the 1,000s you take it is that "one"  that will make  you the most sought after Event photographer.

7.  Remember that these photos are used for marketing and PR for some organizations and for media announcements for others. Yes, you do own the copyrights to them, but if you are being paid for the event (and usually quite a lot) you must relinquish the copyright release to the company, organization or host of the party. 

8. Be prepared for anything that can go wrong, for it will. Have a second camera, tons of batteries, extra camera batteries, 2 speedlights, a ladder, a strobe, a flashlight, an umbrella

9. Enjoy what you are doing. Have fun at the party, it's OK to have fun. It's a party afterall and you are photographing it! By you smiling, the guests will too!

10. Lastly, find a niche. Be different and unique from all the rest. Be creative and love what your photographing and you will be sure to be "invited" back and be referred by the hostess, or a guest at the party. Remember you NEVER  who will be a guest at an event!

The Jump

                                                                                                         Post on Photoblog May 4, 201

Taking the jump both literally and figuratively in the Horse Community. Same as the pun "chomping at the bit!" Here we mean it figuratively. Only 2 months new to owning a horse and adapting to a whole new world of photography, we were faced with our first photography challenge. One of the horse people at the barn has a saddle that no longer fits her horse. She would like to try and sell it on her own. Now this is quite a feat almost like trying to sell your house on  your own! She wanted detailed photos (professional) and every angle possible of the saddle and they must be studio quality! Oh boy,  we NEVER  decline a challenge especially when it has to do with a camera. Step 1 was to have her clean and polish the worn leather. Use tons of elbow grease to make it look as good as new and bring it to the studio for us to photograph.

The photo below is of the studio set up. It was certainly a challenge, with all the scents of a barn, horses, hay and, well, just equine smells. These smells take a bit to get used to especially when you have spent time at the barn that smell just seems to permeate into your core! We did the shoot and we did the layout for the ad. First posting was today. We shall see how long it takes to get it sold or will she need to have the help of professional saddle and tack people!

Post on the Equestrian Photoblog - April 27, 2018

The Horse and Rider and Commonality

Horse People

There are "horse people" and then there is me!  I love horses but I don't know a thing about them.  I am a dog person. I can tell you anything about a dog, especially a Golden Retriever and Jack Russell Terriers. Ask me about a horse and I will just say that they are beautiful animals and one that I love to photograph...until now! My daughter Annie has always  had a love of horses since she was 7 as most 7 year old little girls do. Maybe it's from stories like Cinderella and Prince Charming, whatever  She has had numerous riding lessons through her childhood and off and on time spent at different barns in New Hampshire. Life gets busy for a child growing up especially in the pre-teen and teenager years. Time gets precious and hobby's like horseback riding get few and far between.  High school, college and career  made the distance of the horse riding dream even further out of reach until the career  has a salary that would make the dream a reality as it did for Annie. Finding the right barn, the right instructor and the income to purchase a horse and board it at the barn.

Finding the right horse

 As I have said I am not a horse person nor am I involved in the "horse community" until now. Annie found the "right" horse! A beautiful grey Quarter/Welsh Cross horse. I am told they don't call a white horse white because a true white horse is actually an albino, hence the color grey. It all happened in the blink of an eye. Annie told her instructor Courtney that she wanted to buy a horse. Could she help her as Courtney is a very experienced "horse person."

The horse community

Courtney not only is a true "horse person" but she is very connected in the "horse community". Through word of mouth and some referrals, Courtney heard that there was a riding facility owner looking to sell some of her horses due to a divorce situation. She and Annie went to see what horse/s were for sale. When they got there the Owner brought out the 2 horses, one a cute little pony named Simon and the grey horse named Peter. Annie immediately took a liking to Peter (aka Peter Pan "Neverland") and amazingly Peter took to Annie. That was it! Annie would be days away from owning her own horse, a dream come true.

As the saying goes

it was all meant to be. Call it the Universe aligned or higher powers but whatever you call it, it certainly can be called LOVE at first sight. Horse owners who sell their horse request that the name of the horse be kept. Annie did keep Peter's name as Peter Pan "Neverland" but she wanted to feel he is special to her so he now goes by the name Petey and everyone at the barn where he has his own stall loves him to pieces. That is the commonality one shares with a horse, call it spiritual, meant to be or a blessing from above. This horse is a very special horse, and I am becoming (slowly) a "horse person!"

Commonality - PETEY the grey horse

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