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Do You Tip Wedding Photographers?

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wedding phtographer
Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

A wedding can be great fun, but it’s not something that many people do frequently, so most don’t have much experience with all the aspects involved. For instance, a common question is whether you need to tip the wedding photographer. The short answer is usually but not always. Keep reading as we explain why and how much you might want to tip your photographer, to help make at least one thing easier while you prepare for your huge event.  

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Are You Supposed to Tip Your Wedding Photographer?

While there is no standard rule dictating that you must tip your photographer, many people agree that it’s the right thing to do. Unlike many other photo sessions that typically only take a short time, your wedding photographer will need to devote their entire day to capturing your special moments. These camera operators need to stay alert and plan ahead to get the best shots, which can be exhausting after several hours, especially if there are many people at the wedding. If the photographer performs well, they likely deserve a tip.

photographer in wedding
Image Credit: alphaspirit.it, Shutterstock

How Much to Tip Wedding Photographers

How much you tip your photographer is a matter of opinion, as there is no set guideline. Some people like to give a $50 or $100 tip at the beginning of the day to encourage the photographer to work a little harder to get the best pictures. If successful, they may give another tip at the end of the event. Others like to add a flat rate of 15%–20%, which can be costly but appreciated.

When Do I Tip the Photographer?

Many people like to tip the photographer before the event to try to convince the photographer to work harder, while other people prefer to tip at the end of the event so they can modify the amount based on performance. There is no set rule, so go with your gut feeling.

woman using camera
Image Credit: Billion Photos, Shuterstock

When Should I Tip My Wedding Photographer?

Most people will tip the wedding photographer if they are paid hourly and do a good job. Flat-rate photographers are less likely to get a tip, but either might deserve a tip if they go above and beyond their duties, such as helping with set up or tear down or designing and building the photo album.

What If I Don’t Have Money to Tip the Photographer>

If you don’t have the funds or feel the need to tip your photographer, there are a few other ways that you can show your appreciation.

  • Send a thank-you card after the event, where you let them know that you appreciate their hard work. Many people will send this card even if they do provide a tip.
  • Give the photographer a gift instead of a tip.
  • Pay more money up front. Adding your tip to the initial cost can help prevent confusion or forgetfulness later, but it might also reduce the effort that you get in return because the photographer knows going in that they are not getting anything more.
  • Writing a good review on social media or a review website can dramatically increase the photographer’s chances of getting another job in the future, and this is one option that is almost as good as real money.
man holding a gift
Image Credit: Piqsels

When Don’t I Have to Tip the Photographer?

In many cases, paying a flat fee means you aren’t required to give a tip later unless they do something above and beyond what you expect. You also don’t need to tip any non-professional that is assuming the responsibility. Amateur photographers, students, relatives, and DIYers likely asked for the job. The experience will help improve their skill and make them more likely to get additional jobs in the future, which is itself a good bonus over their expected pay, so you shouldn’t feel bad about not tipping.

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Most people will tip the wedding photographer if they do a good job and put in a decent effort. However, it’s not always necessary, especially when you’re paying a flat rate or using an amateur. Instead of or along with the tip, you can give a small gift, put a good review on social media describing your experience, or send a thank-you letter to let them know that you appreciate their work. In many cases, these small gestures will be nearly as effective as a monetary reward and will set you up for a great price next time that you require their services.

Featured Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

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.