hocus focus
Sept. 2014
VOL. 5 - ISSUE 3

featured article
you hired us!
cool shoots
stock? have a look
in the know
where we are

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About Us:

Deborah Brown & Associates is an agency providing outstanding photography services to the graphic design and corporate communications communities.
For more information, please click here.



300 East 85th Street
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New York, NY 10028
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Hi There!

Kudos to those who noticed no Hocus Focus in their inbox in August. You guys are exceptionally alert!


I decided to take a newsletter break in August and spend some time floating on my back in a lake upstate. Rather luxurious and I highly recommend it. Only in the summer, though. I've been on that lake in the winter--wrapped in down blankets on a sled and being pulled by a pack of 8 dogs. Really fun, but not the same peaceful vibe. 


So now that we are unofficially into Fall, HF is back again, and this month's topic has to do with the expiration dates on usage rights for photos (thanks to my friend and colleague, Staci, for suggesting this topic).


Read on to see how to handle this.


And don't forget to scroll down past the end of the article to see how all the photographers spent their respective summers (You Hired Us); Neal Wilson's images from an allied invasion anniversary celebration in the south of France (Cool Shoots); and Bill Gallery's all-natural, in-office stock photos (Stock? Have a Look).


And keep updated about the DB&A photographers' projects and an upcoming ICP exhibition by looking at the In the Know section. As always, to see where the DB&A photographers will be (Where We Are This Month), keep scrolling down!




Deborah Brown, Office Manager (among other things)                       



The Expiration Date
Whose Responsibility is it Anyway?

My daughter, Sarah, successfully completed a driver's education course about four and a half years ago and received her learner's permit for that. Here in NYC, once you have your permit, you are supposed to practice driving with an adult in the car for 50 hours before you can take the test to get your regular driver's license.


They give you 5 years to practice, but still, this is a tall order for someone who lives in NYC and who doesn't have a car at her disposal.


Now her permit is about to expire, and she thinks she's ready to take the driving test at the DMV. But we have differing opinions about that. When the driver (she) asks the passenger (me) which pedal is the accelerator and which is the brake, I can tell you the passenger has no faith in the capabilities of the driver. I imagine the DMV would feel the same. 


I'm not really sure what happens when one's learning permit expires, but it's my sense that one has to start the process all over again. I do know that Sarah is loathe to take driver's ed again, so she's visiting family members and friends (who own cars) to try and rack up those hours before her permit expires.


This whole process started me thinking about how sometimes our lives can really be affected by something as seemingly small as an expiration date and the consequences of not paying attention to it. 


For instance, how many times have you ignored the expiration date on a milk carton only to have the milk inside spoil a great cup of coffee? Or how about leaving a gift certificate in a drawer and then trying to use it a year (or more) later? Library books, unused airline tickets, passports, medicine, we are surrounded by things that expire.


Even usage rights for photos.


By now you know that when you hire a photographer to do a shoot for you, the fees are determined by the usage rights. Not only where the photos will appear but also how long you need to license the images for. 


Once the media and time frame are agreed upon, agreements are signed, and the job is shot and delivered, photographers will put the media rights and time limit right on their invoice. Usually it will say something like, "Usage rights to begin from date of first use," or, if the date is known, then, "Usage rights to expire on [date]."


So whose responsibility is it to keep track of this expiration date--yours or the photographer's?


The answer is both of you.


The photographer will have the most to gain by keeping track of the final date, since he/she will most likely want you to renew the rights for additional time (for an added fee, of course). Plus, it's just good business sense to keep track of when and where his/her images are being used. 


But you also should keep track, and here's why:


1. Once the usage rights are up, the photographer can re-sell the images to another client.


2. If you don't keep track and the photographer doesn't let you know until months after the expiration date (this does happen sometimes, as diligent as photographers try to be), you are liable for a retroactive re-use fee which you (and your budget) may not have anticipated.


3. The photographer may remind you about the expiration date only weeks or days ahead of time. That may not be enough time for you to get approval for renewal fees or to find replacement images.


One other thing. Not only should you keep track of the licensing, but, in case you leave your job (you're getting a promotion, right?), there should be a system in place so that anyone who has access to the photos can easily find the licensing terms.


I have to hand it to the DMV. They make it pretty hard to forget when your driver's license expires. Mailings, emailings and it's written right on the front of your license for Pete's sake.   


As for Sarah, unless a miracle happens, I'm afraid (actually, hopeful is the more accurate description) that she's going to be sitting in a driver's ed classroom again soon. I'll have to wait and see what happens after that... 

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hiredyou hired us!
Rosanne Olson


Today, this column should really be called "We Hired Ourselves!" If you click here, you'll see an image shot this summer by each of my photographers most of whom chose to show a personal image. Things tend to slow down a bit around here in the summer, and the photographers have more time to shoot for themselves. Sort of a how-I-spent-my-summer-vacation visual essay.


coolshotsvideo title
Neal Wilson


Every summer, Neal Wilson spends some time in a village in France with his family. This year was the 70th anniversary of the allied invasion of the South of France. It so happens that Neal's village is on the coast exactly where they landed.   
There were fireworks, a fly-by with fighters and a naval parade in the bay. Here are some of the photos of the anniversary celebration.  Neal says, "So sad that anybody had to die freeing this perfect place of pure heaven."



stockvideo title
Bill Gallery


You know how hard it is to find an interesting, unique stock photograph of an office situation. New England-based photographer Bill Gallery  has a collection of candid office shots which are always so beautifully composed. Whether you need that or industrial, bio-tech, medical, or travel images, have a look here to see all of Bill's unique stock photography.




in the know




Rosanne Olson was (finally) asked by Amherst Media to create a lighting textbook, after teaching lighting to photographers for more than 20 years. In it ( ABCs of Beautiful Light ), Rosanne says, "I teach photographers and artists how to be 'light detectives.'  For example, one can examine catch lights, which are highlights on shiny surfaces, such as eyes. They tell the story of what type of source was used (window, umbrella, soft box, for example). Another clue is where the shadows fall and how hard or soft-edged they are. I also talk about the art of using fill (a card to bounce light into the shadows) to subtly control the drama of the image." If you want a copy of her book, it's now available on Amazon


Perhaps some of you know that the International Center of Photography here in NYC is moving to new museum space next year. As a fitting final exhibition in their current space, Sebastiao Salgado's Genesis will be opening on Sept. 19 and running through Jan. 11, 2015. If you like gorgeous black and white photography with an emphasis on environment and climate change, you will not be disappointed with this show.

where we are this month




Do you need a photographer in:

USA: Chicago; Seattle; NYC; Boston; New England; Newport Beach, CA; Orlando, FL; Short Hills and Ft. Lee, NJ; Stamford, CT; Coatesville, PA


Europe: UK              


Asia: Japan; Hong Kong    


South America: Brazil


Other: Australia             



We're there!