Why reviews matter (and how you can help support small business)

A couple weeks ago, my wife and I were cruising along highway 287 and happened to stop in Bowie, TX for lunch. The choice was driven entirely by an undying love for David, though their awesome, massive Bowie knife—largest in the world—suggested a different provenance for the name.

Now, I love aimless wandering, but I also loathe inefficiency, so the ability to whip out my phone anywhere I happen to be and quickly track down attractions, stores, and (most saliently) restaurants that aren’t part of some massive chain is one of my favorite parts about living in the future. On this particular mid-day, a quick browse of the map suggested Sweet Boy’s Diner as a local favorite.

Boy, were we not disappointed! It was an outstanding experience, from the food to the decor and from the wonderful waitress to the other friendly patrons. Then, toward the end of our meal, a funny thing happened: that wonderful waitress asked us to leave a review, if we felt like we had experienced something worth sharing.

I was dumbfounded. Why hadn’t I already thought of that? It was doubly surprising given that I relied on reviews to find the restaurant in the first place. Naturally, I hopped onto Google and shared a five star review before we even left town!

I also resolved to be a bit more fastidious about giving praise where praise is due. All too often, only those unfortunate enough to have a bad experience somewhere are motivated enough to tell the world about it, and hundreds or thousands of good experiences drift away, unrecorded. We hear enough about problems on a day to day basis… I’m ready to live in a world where things tend to go right.

I told you that story to ask you this: how similar is your relationship with online reviews to the one I just described? Everyone relies on reviews, but do you take the time to be a part of that collective voice? I would like to take a moment to remind you (as Samantha did for me) that it is well worth the effort. Not only are other people with similar interests relying on that input, the small businesses you love are relying on it too. The wide-ranging educational programs, guest speakers, and unique opportunities we offer would not be possible without the support of the local photographic community!

Photography is only a small slice of the big economy pie, but we make up for size with passion. Our crew—the whole Mike’s Camera family—is full of people who love what they do. They love it so much, in fact, that they have devoted themselves to making sure that you love it, too, and are able to capture and showcase your own photography to the very best of your ability.

If you’ve had a good experience with us, we would love to hear about it. A five star review goes a surprisingly long way, letting us know what we’re doing right (so we can do it more!) and helping other folks with needs like your own find the right solution for what may not be a common problem.

Mentioning someone by name goes even further, helping bring personal referrals to the person who actually helped you out as well as helping other passionate photographers connect with the right folks for their needs. Yes, we’ll make sure that the person mentioned sees it!

If you’re so moved, please use the links below to give credit wherever it’s due, and I hope you do the same for any local business that makes your life a little better.

(And hey—while you’re at it, give us a like on Facebook or a follow on Instagram, and we’ll make sure to keep producing content that will make it worth your while. From inspirational tips to super sales, social media is the quickest way we have to share all of our exciting news.)


  1. I regret that by living in Mill Valley, it is on the far, far periphery of your operations, thus rarely having teaching events of my need/interest. How about Lightroom education coming to the Mill Valley store? Or Nikon Z cameras too?

    1. Thank you for bringing your suggestions to us regarding our class offerings at our Mill Valley location. We will certainly look to see if we can add these to our selection within the next 6 months.

  2. I see you have a very socially distanced milkyway class in WY, any chance of getting one on the West Coast?

    1. We’re always looking for opportunities to do more with our educational programs. I’ll pass the request along!

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