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Do You Tip Photographers? Does It Depend On The Event?

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In today’s tipping-centric culture, the last thing that you want is to not tip someone who did a great job and is expecting it. That said, you don’t necessarily want or need to tip everyone who does a service for you, which leads to the natural question: “Who do I need to tip and how much?”    

While we’d love to give you a clear answer as to whether you should tip your photographer, many factors come into play, including who you’re hiring, what job they’re doing, and if you think that their service deserves a tip in the first place!

We break it all down for you here, so when it’s time to decide whether you should leave a tip, you’ll know what to do.

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Is It Customary to Tip a Photographer?

It depends on the exact situation, but if you’re hiring an independent photographer, there’s a good chance that you should drop them a small tip. If you do decide to tip your photographer, an amount that’s equal to 5% to 10% of your total bill is considered sufficient.

However, if you’re going to a professional studio at a large company in a department store or working with a novice photographer, you typically don’t have to tip.

Image Credit: Pexels, Pixabay

Do You Tip Your Photographer for Engagement Photos?

If you’re heading into a professional studio, like one that you would find in a department store, you don’t have to tip. If you’re using an independent contractor, as in you’re working directly with the business owner, it’s entirely up to you if you want to tip.

The contractor sets a price for their service, and they get to keep all the profit. But if you feel like they’re going above and beyond for you, a great way to show your appreciation is to leave a tip for them.

Finally, if you’re working with a large company that is sending someone to you for your engagement photos, it’s almost always best to tip. While they likely won’t say anything if you don’t, these individuals benefit more from a tip because they’re often salaried or hourly employees.

Is It Customary to Tip a Wedding Photographer?

Most of the rules that apply for engagement photos apply here, except that a wedding photographer almost always comes to you. If you’re working directly with the owner, which is most often the case, you should only tip if you feel like their service went beyond what you expected.

However, if you are working with a large company that sent out a specific employee to cover the event, it’s expected that you should tip. Tip about 5% to 10% of the total bill.

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Image Credit: Mariah Krafft, Unsplash

How Much Should You Tip a Professional Photographer?

When you’re trying to figure out how much to tip photographers, it all comes down to this: Tip whatever you feel is appropriate. While social conventions might dictate a certain amount, it’s only worth tipping that if you feel like they earned it.

If you do feel like tipping, anywhere between 5% and 10% is a typical amount. If your photographer has a team or assistant working with them, a $50 to $80 tip per person is a more-than-generous amount.

How Do You Know If You Should Tip a Photographer?

If a photographer travels to you and works for a large company, it’s customary to tip them. However, if you’re traveling to them, you’re generally not expected to.

If you’re working with an independent contractor, you don’t have to tip, but they’ll certainly appreciate it.

There are many rules to follow here, and it can all get a bit complicated. Just know that even if you’re in a situation where most people tip, you’re not really expected to do so. Whatever you do leave will be more than appreciated, and if you decide not to tip anything, you won’t be the odd one out.

So, go with your gut, and if your photographer blew away your expectations, show them with a tip!

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Final Thoughts

While everyone certainly appreciates a tip, you don’t have to tip. Photographers do collect full salary even if they work for a large company, although tips might help supplement their pay.

The best rule of thumb to follow is whether they did a phenomenal job for you. If so, you should show your appreciation with a tip! It’ll keep your photographer happy if you ever want to use them again, and it’ll help ensure that they do the same thing for their next client!

Featured Image Credit: Sam Dan Truong, Unsplash

About the Author Robert Sparks

Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.