The do's and don'ts of tipping photographers is a topic that can be hard to cover. There are so many different photographers with all sorts of pricing structures, which makes it easy to feel overwhelmed by the subject. The good news is that there are some do's and don'ts that will help you out if you're not sure how much (or what kind) to tip your photographer!
Tip your photographer if you feel they did a great job.
If you have a friend or family member who is a photographer, consider giving them a gift rather than tipping (or do both!).
Give a cash tip if you're happy with the service and want to ensure that your photographer remembers your wedding day.
Tell your wedding planner that they should tip the photographer. If they do not, do so yourself.
Tip the photographer in cash or check, rather than through a third party.
If you're unhappy with your photographer's work, do not tip them.
Treat a gift as an expected part of hiring a professional photographer (it shouldn't be). If you want to give one, make sure it is something meaningful and not impersonal or generic.
Treat a cash tip as an expected part of hiring a professional photographer (it shouldn't be). If you want to give one, make sure it is something meaningful and not impersonal or generic.
Use your general wedding budget for tipping the photographer.
Feel obligated to tip just because your friend is a photographer and shot your wedding (although you can certainly do so if you want!).
How Much Should You Tip Your Photographer?
The answer to this question depends on how happy you are with your work. A good rule of thumb is to give around 15%-20% of the total price of the package.
When to Tip Your Wedding Photographer?
If you hire a professional, contracted photographer for your wedding, they will likely not expect or ask for tips. However, if you do want to reward them in some way, here are some ways that could be done:
A cash gift on the day off is always a nice gesture.
Write a thank you card or email to your photographer after the wedding with a gift, note of appreciation, and/or referral that may be appreciated as well.
Give them a gift if you feel they provided exceptional service throughout the whole experience (before and on the big day) so that they know their efforts do not go unnoticed.
Give them a gift if you do not feel they provided exceptional service.
Do what feels right for your relationship with the photographer and how happy you are with their services throughout your wedding experience!
Other Ways to Show Appreciation Without Tipping:
If you do not want or need to give additional compensation (and that's OK!), here are some other ways you can show your appreciation:
Write an online review for the photographer. This is a great way to thank them, and it will do wonders as they build their business! Plus, future clients who read your review may be more inclined to use that particular vendor if they see how happy you were with their services.
Invite them to your wedding reception or send a "thank you" note after the event.
Give referrals, especially if it is someone who may do business with that photographer in the future! This can be an incredibly rewarding experience for both parties involved and often leads to great things down the line.
Invite them to do a photo session with you (and perhaps your friends and family) in the future so that they can get more photos of you! This is an excellent way for them to gain new clients without compromising their business.
The Knot's Advice on Tipping Wedding Photographers
If you do decide to give a gratuity to your wedding photographer, The Knot recommends giving it in cash so that they can immediately put it to good use. They also advise tipping 15%-20% of the total cost of the photography package, regardless of whether you're happy with the results or not.
Finally, if you have any questions or concerns about tipping your photographer (or any other wedding vendor for that matter), be sure to speak with your planner! They will likely have some great advice and can help to make sure everyone involved in your big day is taken care of.
What to Do if You're Unhappy With Your Wedding Photos?
If you're unhappy with the results of your wedding photography, speak with your photographer as soon as possible. They may be able to offer a revision or retake the session at a discounted rate. If that's not possible or doesn't meet your expectations, ask for a refund. It's always best to address any issues before the wedding day itself, as it's unlikely they'll do much (if anything) to help you after your big day.
Why is Tipping Important?
Tipping is an important part of the service industry, and it's something that should not be taken lightly - especially when it comes to those who helped make your wedding day unforgettable. Tipping your wedding photographer is a great way to show your appreciation for their hard work and dedication. It's also a tangible way of saying "thank you" for a job well done.
When NOT to Tip Your Wedding Photographer
There may be a few circumstances in which you do not feel the need to give a gratuity to your wedding photographer. Here are a few examples:
If the photography package was included as part of the overall cost of the wedding, there is no need to tip.
If you were displeased with the quality of your photos, do not feel obligated to tip. If you do decide to give a gratuity, be sure that it is only after you speak with them about what went wrong and how they can fix it for future clients!
If you do not have any contact at all with your wedding photographer (no one from the company came to do a walk-through with you or meet up in person), do not feel obligated to give a gratuity.
Best practices for tipping your wedding photographer
If you do decide that it's necessary to tip your wedding photographer, there are some best practices when doing so:
Do not wait until the end of the night to do it! Have the tip in cash and ready to go beforehand, so you don't have any issues when it comes time for your photographer to collect.
Keep a list of who gets what amount (in case there are multiple people working on your wedding day). This will make things much easier for both parties involved - especially if they're working with a team of photographers.
Be sure to thank them for their hard work! A simple verbal "thank you" is always appreciated, but write a handwritten note expressing your gratitude if you want to go the extra mile. This will be something they remember and appreciate long after your wedding day has passed.