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WPPI Ten Commandments

Ok, so maybe I’m a little too dramatic by using the term “commandments”, but you get my drift. WPPI is the largest professional photographer convention you’ve ever attended. It’s in the heart of America’s playland, Las Vegas. Exciting? Yes. Fun? You bet! Overwhelming? Ok, you get the point…

So, as a 5-time veteran and 2-time speaker, I’m here to be your WPPI 2011 Charlton Heston with a few tricks to make sure you make it back home without looking like you just finished shooting Pat Benatar’s “Love is a Battlefield”.

  1. Drink plenty of water. Sure it sounds obvious, but you don’t realize just how much moving around you’ll be doing. It’s a huge convention with two full-sized tradeshow floors with workshops and classrooms on multiple levels. We’re talking a proverbial Mecca of photography-dom! Besides, if you’re not familiar with the Nevada desert climate, you’ll learn soon enough that the dry desert air will suck any moisture out of your body pretty quickly.
  2. Pack light. I see it every year. Some people want to wear their prize Canon 1D MK III around their neck the entire convention as if they were a prize turkey. What they don’t realize is that carrying around 20 extra pounds around your neck all day isn’t like shooting your regular wedding. Try it for 12 hours straight for 5 days!
  3. Beware of dead zones! For real though, lots of photographers love their iPhones. And up until recently, iPhones were only available on AT&T 3G. Therefore, if there’s innumerable photogs with their beloved iPhones at WPPI, you can bet your signal will fizzle. So, if you’re not starving for 3G speeds, change your settings on your phone to not use the 3G data network. Your voice and text capabilities will work perfectly, and your phone battery will last much longer.
  4. Day vs. night… shoes. Seriously, this should go without saying. Aside from the enormous long hallway between the tradeshow and the MGM casino and hotel, there’s plenty of pavement to pummel with your shoes. That being said, bring some very comfortable sneakers for daytime. Afterwards, hop into your favorite heels for your night time adventures.
  5. Cash is king. I’m not talking about gambling, I do enough of that every time I fly Southwest. Just kidding. Anyway, the WPPI tradeshow is among the largest displays and sales facilities for the newest and hottest photographic gear. And the vendors know it. So, their providing plenty of deals and discounts that you can’t find anywhere else. So, if you’ve been waiting to buy a certain lens (Canon 50mm f1.2 L), now is the time to do it ;)
  6. Did I mention water…? Of course, this applies again, because as we all know, Las Vegas has plenty of drinking and socializing. I’m not saying you shouldn’t enjoy yourself. Just remember to rehydrate for the next day’s adventures.
  7. Be social. Some of the best friends you’ll make will be made at WPPI. I keep in touch with all my buddies from every year I’ve attended. And the best part is that we all share business secrets and techniques without the restriction of fueling our local competition! So get gabbing!
  8. Twitter is your friend. I don’t even know who text messages anymore. It’s all about direct messages, mentions, and push notifications. With everyone on Twitter, there’s no reason not to be. With geo-location, photo uploading, hashtags and more, you’ll be “in the know” before it happens. Meet-ups, memories, and mayhem are all being recorded on Twitter. Just do a search for #WPPI and join in.
  9. Empty your mind. Some of the best minds in the photographic business are at WPPI sharing what they know on how to make your studio thrive. So, take advantage from the sages and achieve your inner photo-ninja.
  10. Have Fun! Yes, it’s a learning experience. That goes without saying. However, when else do you have the chance to hang out with great people and have some fun?

With that being said, I hope you all have a wonderful time and learn something new. See you there! -Dustin Meyer


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iPhone app review: Dragon Dictation

My good friend Kevin Casey, CEO of, and I occasionally have brainstorms over the phone about new product and service ideas for customers. One day, we were chatting on our iPhones as both of us were driving in our cars, states away from each other. We came up with some really great ideas, but alas I was busy steering my car instead of jotting everything down (you know, priorities and such). But soon after we finished our phone conversation, I received a very long text message from Kevin… within 5 minutes.

I noticed that there were some grammatical errors, and a few missing punctuation marks. But the general idea was transmitted and received loud and clear. How was this possible? How was Kevin able to write a paragraph of text, message it to me from his iPhone, without crossing several lanes on the freeway and colliding into oncoming traffic?

Introducing, the Dragon Dictation app for the iPhone. After I made sure Kevin wasn’t texting me from the great beyond, he revealed to me this nifty little app available for the iPhone.

First off, it takes a little getting used to. The first time I used this app, I quickly learned that the way I speak isn’t always the easiest thing to understand… when it comes to computers. If you’ve never used dictation software before, you’re going to soon realize any articulation challenges you may have. Make sure you speak clearly and concisely into the mic. However, don’t enunciate too much, otherwise your “P’s” and “Q’s” will soon saturate your iPhone with saliva. Blech.

It may take a few tries so I highly recommend testing this out at home or some other place private. Otherwise, onlookers may mistake you for someone with voices in your head. However, once you get the hang of it, you’ll be dictating to your phone like Don Draper to his under-appreciated secretaries.

The built-in keyboard feature is nice, because it allows you to go back and correct any spelling or punctuation errors. Plus, if you double-tap a particular word, Dragon Dictation will provide a small list of similar sounding words to replace them with. Neat!

Plus, for those of you who are social-media minded, Dragon Dictation has seamless integrations with Facebook and Twitter. Plus, it also utilizes the native iPhone copy/paste feature, as well as integrating directly into your email client and text messaging. I use this feature a lot when I’m on the road and I get sudden inspiration that I want to share with all of you. It also makes a great speech-to-text app for sending yourself little email reminders about your ever-growing To-D0 list.

Oh and I almost forgot the best feature about Dragon Dictation… it’s free. Pretty sweet, eh? So, if you have an iPhone, go download the app. Then, navigate on your iPhone to Open Dragon Dictation and dictate a comment, then paste it here on the blog straight from your iPhone. Awesome! Now get out there and dictate your ideas and inspirations. Just try not to look like an escapee from the local mental hospital, ok? Cheers!


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Facebook Places

Ok, so we’ve all seen location-based mobile apps like Gowalla, Yelp, and Foursquare rise to popularity quickly over the past year. Checking in to your favorite locations to get those shiny badges or the possibility of becoming mayor of your local Starbucks is just all too enticing to resist. However, what’s the point of all of this? Using these apps is a great way to see who’s around you. Possibly joining up with friends at your favorite sandwich shop is always a delight. But, honestly how often do you actually bump into your friends due to digitally pronouncing your location to the cyber world?

Most of us already realize that just like Google, these apps are mainly here to gather data about where we frequent and where our interest lie. Enter Facebook Places

Facebook Places was just recently release on Thursday and it already seems to be gaining in popularity. For photographers, this new feature shows great marketing potential for our studios. How? Facebook has graciously given us the ability to not only create Places for people to check in. They’ve also masterfully created the ability for us to tag our friends when we check in. What business potential does this have, you may ask? Well, let me provide you with a brief scenario…

As a senior portrait photographer in Austin, TX, Facebook Places via their mobile app for iPhone or by using their mobile web site from your smartphone, I can tag clients at Dustin Meyer Photography when I check in for their portrait session. Of course, they have the ability to change their privacy settings on the Facebook website. But, should they allow the ability for friends to tag them in Places, I can know announce to my client’s news feed and their friends that they are currently at my studio having their portraits made by me. Brilliant!

The extra benefit this nifty feature creates is that not only do the friends of my portrait clients learn that my client is having their portraits made. Their friends can also learn where my studio is and who else is in attendance. As long as you’re ok with people knowing where your business is located, this feature can be a great way to get more people to notice your business. Also, when people check in to other places nearby, your studio will show up in a list of places they can check in, bringing further attention to your business!

So what does this all mean for the future of other location-based apps? Well, I have my own theories, but of course it’s always smarter to give it a little time and see what happens :)


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MpactPhoto goes mobile

Ever get tired of zooming and stretching websites on your mobile phone? Looking for a more friendly way to view informative blogs such as MpactPhoto? Well, now you can… with the new MpactPhoto mobile site! Here’s how…

First, navigate to on your iPhone. You’ll notice right away that the mobile version of the site is much easier to read and navigate:

The MpactPhoto mobile site has full functionality to help you get to those articles you crave most while on the go. By clicking on the title of each post, you can read the full story as well as watch any videos on that post.

There’s even nifty share buttons to share MpactPhoto posts with your friends. And as always, post as many comments or questions as you like.

We want to hear from you so much, we even enabled push notifications from our mobile site to us directly!

Now, how do you install our amazing MpactPhoto iPhone app? Just push the plus sign at the bottom of your iPhone browser. Click the “Add to Home Screen Button”.

Now, you’re iPhone will show all of your photog friends that you’re part of the inside crowd with our shiny sweet iPhone app button on your screen :)

We love to hear from you! Got any questions for MpactPhoto? Leave a comment and we’ll get right on it. Cheers!