I originally wrote this article in 2013… not only does that make me feel really old now, but it means it’s well overdue for an update. A lot has changed in the world of wedding photography, especially since the COVID pandemic, and my personal thoughts and feelings towards the question “do you tip a wedding photographer” have changed slightly.
Guilt Trips vs. Education
Let’s get one thing clear from the very beginning – this article is not meant as a guilt trip by any means. If you’ve been my client or are currently my client and you’re reading this – I promise this isn’t some kind of super passive-aggressive way of guilt-tripping you. This article is meant to be educational and since being totally transparent is part of what my business strives to be, sometimes we have to talk about slightly awkward topics… like tipping your wedding photographer!
History of Tipping in the Wedding Industry
So many vendors play a part in making your wedding day truly spectacular; whether it’s your hairstylist, DJ, photographer, or videographer, any reliable and trustworthy vendor will give it 110% on your wedding day and deliver you the best damn product or service they can. After all, many of these vendors rely heavily on word-of-mouth, so their performance at one event is what gets them their next gig! Historically; however, some vendors are privy to receiving gratuities while others aren’t. Historically you aren’t “supposed” to tip your wedding photographer if they own the business but etiquette and traditions are the last things to evolve despite the constant, fast-paced evolution of the wedding industry itself – so there’s certainly an opportunity for change in many practices.
Do you Tip a Wedding Photographer?
Some vendors will automatically include a tip, or gratuity, on your final invoice. Most banquet halls/caterers routinely add gratuity onto your invoice without question. Most clients will always give a little something extra to their make-up artist and hairstylist as a ‘thank you’ – but what about the photographer? Is it even proper to tip the photographer or is it an etiquette faux-pas?
Well, here’s the answer…
…but what if you’re considering tipping your wedding photographer? There are some things to consider
What to Consider before Tipping a Wedding Photographer
If you’re considering tipping your wedding photographer, that’s awesome of you! Again, it’s not necessary by any means but if you think it may be a kind gesture, here are some things to consider.
How Much do you Tip a Wedding Photographer?
If you do choose to tip your wedding photographer, the popular wedding website TheKnot.com suggests $50-$200 be delivered at the end of the reception ensuring that the primary and second shooter are both considered. Etiquette expert Ruth L. Kern suggests that if you have received truly outstanding service from your photographer, a tip of up to 10% would be a nice gesture although depending on the cost of some photography packages this may not be reasonable.
Alternatives to Tipping
My personal take on tipping your wedding photographer is that if you received awesome service, find some way to say thank you beyond simply the words “thank you”. Certain gestures can mean so much more than a bit of money could. Here are some alternatives to tipping a wedding photographer:
So do you tip a wedding photographer? An actual monetary tip is optional, but when it comes to ways of saying thank you for their dedication, their craft and their talent there are a number of ways of expressing your gratitude beyond simple tipping. If you had a great experience with a wedding vendor, find a way to say thank you.