Mary Cornelius Photography | Policies & FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Horse show sign up policy 

 The sign up fee covers our time photographing you and your horse, editing and uploading the best of your images to your own online gallery as well as safe storage of the images on a multitude of media devices. The gallery will be available for viewing for 1 year, then it will expire. After that time, it will cost $25 to re-create your gallery and give you access to viewing once again.  

 If you purchased sign up packages Silver or Gold, you have 1 year to choose your images.  After that, image(s) will be chosen for you and delivered to you completing the agreement.  

Please note that Pre purchased products with sign up package are not transferable, creditable or accumulative to other shows or horses. 

We cannot guarantee to photograph all of your tests. We promise to try to get as many as we can.  We must schedule several people throughout the show and sometimes conflicts arise.   If you decide to ride ahead of your time and do not notify us, it is possible that we will miss your ride as we go by the posted schedule. In the rare instance that we were not able to photograph any of your rides, you will of course receive a refund.  

General Questions

  Is it okay to take a screen shot or cell phone photo of my proofs to share with my friends on social media, email, or to show an interested buyer?  No, that is copyright infringement and is technically theft. It is taking and using the photo without paying for it.  So please don't.  The law is on the photographer's side.  It also is very discouraging to discover this sort of thing and is the reason that so many qualified photographers are quitting. 

I bought a print, I own it now, can't I do whatever I want with it?   You own the print, frame it, put it in an album, make a paper airplane out of it....but you did not purchase the copyrights, not the reproduction nor any publishing rights without permission.   No scanning, no photos of it.  I offer low resolution digital files of your favorite photos for sale.  If you did purchase some reproduction rights, they are spelled out for you at purchase time.

Can you take my credit card info over the phone?  Short answer, no.  Due to increased costs, I have suspended my credit card merchant account. It just wasn't penciling out with year round charges for largely seasonal use.  I can take Paypal, checks, cash or, with you and your card present, I can swipe it through a device on my phone.  I have a "store" with Square on their website for a variety of purchases such as prints and custom packages as well as dressage show and breed show sign ups. You can use any credit card through Square and it is very secure.  I also can invoice you specific amounts for a mixture of items.

Can you just use the card I gave you before when I ordered?   If we swiped your credit card via Square on our phone, I do not get access to your card info.     If you ordered  through this website. it goes directly to be processed by Zenfolio, my photo lab/gallery site host.  I do not receive or have access to your credit card information so there is no way that I can access and use it again.  Which is a good thing!

Can you make the picture look better before I order it?   All orders are individually custom prepared by me, Mary Cornelius before they are given the go ahead to proceed to the photo lab or to be downloaded as digital files if purchased in that form.  I level, crop, color and contrast correct and lightly retouch out annoying objects in each photo. (exception: I do not retouch small digital files for social media or the spiral bound proof books)   Additional and more complicated retouching is available at an additional cost to cover the time involved. 

Can you do special effects or treatments on a picture I order?   Absolutely!  Before you place your order, just call or email me and we can discuss your options and any additional costs involved. There are many products available that are not listed on the product list that I am able to get from other sources.   Under Other Products you will find special artistic background replacements available.  You can also order different sizes for a special frame or idea that you might have.  Lets talk about it!

How long does it take to receive my order?   Maybe a few hours, days or less often, a few weeks.   Equine photographers do not keep regular office hours like most businesses.  We have to go where our subjects are and they aren't in an office.    It depends on if I am in my office and how much work i have ahead of me.    I am often traveling and photographing away from home and away from the hard drives that may be storing your images.  If I have internet connection, I will try to convey that information to you in a reply or post on my blog.   True to the ways of the cosmos, often orders come in from a variety of people all at once.  In which case a queue is formed according to date received or publishing deadline requirements.  

I emailed you, why didn't I hear back?  I try very hard to respond the same day but if I am working, traveling or buried in work, some emails may slip by and scroll away from view and memory or just have to wait until I am back in town or back in the country.  If you haven't heard back from me, please inquire again after a few days or a week.  Check my blog for travel notices.  

You charge to photograph my horse at events, what do I get for my money?   For dressage shows and breed shows/inspections several shots are taken of your horse. The images are downloaded to two digital storage locations for safety, edited down to just the best, processed lightly and uploaded to your own personal online gallery.  You are receiving the photographer's time and expertise, image storage, editing time and your own personal online gallery from which to order prints and digital files. Generally the gallery is online for 1 year and then it will be expired. 

 If I sign up for photos with you, why do you have someone else photograph me?  I would prefer that I be the one to photograph all who sign up with Mary Cornelius Photography, but at larger shows with multiple rings going, it is just not always logistically possible.  I try to employ qualified people as my second photographer.  Sometimes I will be able to photograph one test and they will catch another one.  Its always a juggle to cover all the sign ups in all of the rings and we can only do our best with the scheduling.  At smaller 1-2 ring shows, I am the only photographer.

Why do prints cost so much when I can just buy them at Walmart for so much less and why do digital files cost so much when it doesn't cost anything to make and send them to me?   Oh let me tell the ways, but it would probably put you to sleep.  In a nutshell:  The photo lab takes a commission off of the top and charges for printing each print, but in a professionally managed photography business, the materials are the least expense of doing business.  The computers, software, software training, photographic equipment, repairs, upgrades, taxes, liability & theft insurance, vehicle maintenance, employee wages etc etc etc all factor into a professional photographer's pricing structure.  Somewhere in there we hope to receive compensation as a creative fee as well.   My prices have actually gone down since I started my business, but my expenses are rising all the time just like everything else. 

Do you give group discounts for private photo sessions?  You bet!  If you can arrange 4 or more people/horses who want sessions at the same barn, I can offer a great per head discount with travel outside of my 25 mile area shared amongst each participant, the costs are much more affordable.

What is your area of expertise in photographing horses and why do you do it?   I happen to like them - a lot.  I think it helps to have a "thing" for horses to photograph them. I have been obsessed over horses since I was a small child, spending more of my childhood than I care to admit sketching them during class at school and playing with toy horses until I could finally get my own.  Always visually inclined with an artistic feel, I also am Technically oriented. I started out wanting to promote equestrian sport in a positive light.   I have a strong background as a dressage rider and instructor. I not only know how it should look, i often know how it should feel as I am photographing.   I also cultivated an educated background in equine conformation and biomechanics.  Which I believe really helps me in skilled conformation studies. I am an accredited equestrian sport photojournalist, having photographed some of the top international competitions in the USA and Europe.    I am also dedicated to putting people in touch with their emotional connections to horses through my images.  Its multi-faceted. 

Tough Question time!   When there is an official photographer and another photographer comes in and starts working the show, why is that a problem?

This is one of the reasons that so many equine show photographers are no longer doing shows.  (that and online proof theft noted in next paragraph)  If the official photographer didn't have so much invested up front when they walk onto the show grounds to work in fulfilling an obligation for the weekend.  There is also the matter of an exclusive contract with the management that may have been awarded to an official photographer. It is always a good idea to check first to find out if the OP is working under exclusivity.   Most OP/show management contracts contain an obligation to cover all of the rings and the awards and to provide promotional images, pay a staff, carry liability insurance and pay taxes on the income. This amounts to long hard days in all kinds of weather doing the job of providing professional quality images to the competitors.    The show management often grants their official photographer exclusivity and in return the show management has signed onto an agreement to carry an obligation to protect that status.    So with the duties and obligations and expenses up front, there is really no leeway nor fairness for individuals with cameras to come in and shoot and sell (often for less) which they are able to do because they carry none of the expenses or obligations.  So yes, most official photographers at events including myself, are definitely not pleased about that unauthorized and unfair competition.  When I see it happening, I inform the show management and let them handle it.  I am too busy trying to do my work.   Many times they see it and take care of it before I am even aware of it.  Its a simple concept, do unto others as you would have them do unto you.   If you are shooting and selling, you need permission to do so, and should be prepared to show proof of liability insurance.

Is it okay to take a screen shot or cell phone photo of my proofs to share with my friends on social media, email, or to show an interested buyer?  Sorry, I had to put this twice in this FAQ as its become quite the number one complaint of event photographers.  My answer is No its not okay, that is copyright infringement and is technically theft. It is taking and using the photo without paying for it.  You receive value from the photo, but the photographer didn't.   So please don't.  The law is on the photographer's side.  It also is very discouraging to discover this sort of thing and is the reason that so many qualified photographers are quitting.  If you find a  share button in the gallery, feel free to use that so that the images are kept in context as the property of the photographer.