Photography's Best Kept Secret: Neal's Photo

Steve Neal, Proprietor, Neal's Photo, Philipsburg, Montana 2013  Photography by ©Craig Varjabedian

“If you can't get it here, you probably don't need it anyway." Ralph’s Pretty Good Grocery, Lake Wobegon Minnesota

Philipsburg Montana is an old mining town located in southwestern Montana halfway between Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks. It is named after Philip Deidesheimer, a prominent mining engineer from Nevada who designed and supervised the construction of an ore smelter for which the town originally formed. Today this picturesque town, which is surrounded by a wellspring of gorgeous lakes, streams and panoramic mountains, is so beautiful, it has been named a finalist in the Prettiest Painted Places in America contest.

Downtown Philipsburg, Montana

Nestled in this quiet little town is the unassuming photo establishment known as Neal’s Photo, owned and operated by proprietor Steve Neal. Steve has just about everything that a photographer could ever want and at prices that might sometimes make the big New York camera stores actually weep. He carries all the biggest names such as Canon, Epson, Tokina and Lowepro to name a few.  And Steve is the Chief, Cook and Bottle-Washer of the establishment.  He is the guy who picks up the telephone to answer your questions, and packs up your new equipment to be shipped after your purchase. I have acquired a lot of gear and supplies from him over the years and have always been so pleased with the service I receive and the prices I pay. I consider Steve Neal to be one of my favorite photo dealers and I am grateful that Steve considers me one of his many friends. I encourage you to check him out the next time the need arises for that new camera, lens, tripod, filter, inkjet paper, cable release, camera bag or any other photo-related item you may be looking for. A++

On a final note . . . we live in a time when small businesses are under seige by big box retail stores. Many small businesses have had to close their doors because big box stores often get better pricing, making it difficult if not impossible for small businesses to compete. Small businesses provide colour, texture and choices to our lives. If we don’t support them, we risk a kind of generificaton of our society where our choices of camera gear (or books, or clothing, or groceries or anything else we purchase for that matter) are controlled and/or limited by some large retailer whose home office is located in a galaxy far, far away. Not for me! I like to support independent businesses because they offer me choices and sometimes better customer service than I would get at the big box retailer or even online. I encourage you to support small businesses too. Thanks.

NEAL'S PHOTO 409 N. Sansome Street Philipsburg, Montana 59858 406 859-3855 e.mail: