Time for a short and sweet article from us now about a subject we are well versed in, how much to tip a wedding photographer. The chances are that we will shortly be putting together an ultimate guide to wedding tipping, but with wedding photography being one of your biggest outlays, we thought it best to get out ahead and provide the information you need.
We get it, tipping is a little bit of a taboo subject, especially in the wedding industry. That being said, hopefully we can shed a little bit of light on the subject. When it comes to wedding photography, we are rather well versed having spent 15 years capturing happy couples across the world. We can honestly say that in those 15 years, never once did we expect a tip from a couple. Not that we weren’t extremely grateful every time we received one.
Anyway, let’s get onto the question and hand and explore how much you should be tipping your photography team.
Should You Tip Wedding Photographers?
When considering whether to tip your wedding photographer, there are various aspects you should take your time to think about. From industry norms to quality of service, right down to whether you are just a really nice person or are happy playing the scrooge. Joking!
Tipping and the wedding industry
From our experience, and the experience of the thousands of couples we have had the pleasure of working with, tipping is quite commonplace in the wedding profession. If we photographed 50 weddings a year, 40 of those couples would provide a tip after they had received the final photos.
While we personally didn’t have a clause in our contract, and it is very rare from the vendors we worked with, occasionally vendors will include a gratuity fee as a requirement. Be sure to check the contract with your vendor before making any decisions on how much to tip.
Good Service? Above and Beyond?
First and foremost, the most important question you need to ask yourself, how was the service they provided? Did your wedding photos make you scream with joy? Tip tip tip. Not so happy? Maybe consider limiting the amount you give, if any. It all comes down to how you feel about the service you received. Obviously, if they arrived 10 mins late but didn’t miss anything, it is a much lesser fault than losing the favorite photo of your grandparents. Tip accordingly.
Story Amour Tip: Try to keep an open mind and look at the situation from their perspective. Remember many vendors work long hours. Often 10+ hours on your wedding day. Taking 5 minutes out while there is a lull in the wedding is not something to hold against your vendor team.
Any contractual gratuity fees?
As we’ve already mentioned, check your contract. While it’s quite rare, we have definitely seen examples of vendors and wedding photographers including gratuity fees as part of their agreement. In some cases, the contract might state what an acceptable amount to tip is. While you shouldn’t be bound by this, you should still consider before giving your tip.
Different rules for different places
One thing to remember is that tipping, and the custom surrounding tipping, fluctuates dramatically between locations. In the US tipping is quite commonplace, however hop across the pond and you are unlikely to find many wedding photographers receiving tips for their service. In Hong Kong, there is an entire tradition built around tipping where the couple will provide small red envelopes, known as red pockets/packets to their wedding team. These pockets will include a cash tip. Be sure to check the traditions associated with your area and type of wedding.
Related Reading: The Best Place to Buy Your Red Pockets in HK
How Much Should You Tip Wedding Photographers?
Now it’s time to answer the big question, how much should you tip your wedding photographer. Without beating around the bush, we recommend tipping your photographer around 15-20% however, with the average cost of wedding photography in the US totaling $2000, , spending $300-400 dollars is something you will need to think about.
With photography being one of the biggest expenses from your big day, you may want to skip the percentage and give a custom amount. While $300 does seem excessive, remember that it’s relative to the amount you are spending on a photographer. You would expect to tip more at a more expensive restaurant than you would at a cheaper one.
FAQs about tipping wedding photographers
Having been involved in the wedding industry for nearly 15 years (have we mentioned that?), we have had the opportunity to help thousands of couples on their wedding day. These are some of their most commonly asked questions when it comes to tipping their wedding photographer.
What is a good tip for a wedding photographer? $50? $100
As stated previously, the amount you tip is relative to the amount you are spending on your wedding photographer. That being said, whether it’s $50 or $500, any amount of gratuity shown will be massively appreciated. We know, we’ve been in that position.
Generally speaking, you tip to show appreciation for the work your supplier has provided. $50-$100 is a great amount to tip your photographer, however, you should tip based on your experience, plus what you feel comfortable giving. You should also take into consideration the tips you will have to outlay for your other wedding vendors. Unless you only really like your photographer and all the others were garbage…
If a photographer has an assistant/second shooter, should you tip them?
Again, a little bit of a tricky one as you need to consider lots of different variables. First being your personal situation. You should only tip what you can afford. If you can’t afford to tip. Don’t. There are many other ways to show your appreciation without the financial expense.
The second major variable to consider, is the level of involvement of the assistant/second shooter. If it was simply an assistant, helping the main photographer, with little to no interaction with yourselves, we wouldn’t recommend tipping. We would be expecting the lead photographer to be tipping their assistant. However, if it’s more of a second shooter, perhaps photographing the groomsmen in the morning, or being heavily involved in rounding up guests during the photos, it would probably be worth taking the time to tip them as well. You will need to assess the situation and make a decision based on your experience.
When is the best time to tip the photographer?
From our experience, there are typically two points to tip the photographer. The end of the wedding, or after you have received your final edited photos (and/or photo album).
If you are happy with the service provided on the day itself, you can always provide your gratuity in the evening when the photographer is saying their goodbyes. In some cases, couples will nominate a member of the wedding party to be in charge of any “on the day” finances. Usually this person is sensible and not likely to have one too many sherry’s after hitting the dance floor. Uncle Dave, we are looking at you!
The other suggested time to tip would be after you have received your wedding photos and photo album. This will give you time to assess the situation and make a more informed decision on how much to actually tip. If the entire service from start to finish was brilliant, you may feel inclined to tip more.
Story Amour Quick Tip: One way to decide when to tip your wedding photographer, is dependent on the amount you are tipping. If it’s a smaller amount such as $50-$100, then feel free to tip on the day itself. However, if you are planning to tip upwards of $300 we would recommend waiting until after you have received your photos. This way you won’t be having to keep large sums of cash on your person during the wedding day.
What if you can’t afford to tip? Alternatives to tipping
We get it, times are tough. Never mind “how much to tip your photographer”, you may not be able to afford to tip at all. Do not worry, there are plenty of alternatives to giving financially, all of which will be tremendously appreciated. Sometimes thoughtful gifts matter a lot more than monetary.
- Leave an epic review – One of the simplest ways to show your appreciation is to leave a very detailed and complimentary review on the service you received. This will likely have a positive financial impact on their business as new couples scramble to book them.
- Thank you card – Sometimes something straightforward like sending a thank you card is a great way to show you care. Photographers will then likely share the card on their social channels.
- Gift something personal to you – Maybe you have a particular hobby or skill set that you think your wedding photographer would be appreciative of. Gifting something personal to you is a great way to show your thanks to your team.
- Shout about them from the hilltops – Word of mouth is a massive deal when it comes to wedding suppliers. Getting a referral from a previous couple is like gold dust. Soon-to-wed’s are much more likely to book a referred vendor over an unknown vendor. Whether it’s your friends and family, your colleague, heck, even the local delivery driver, shouting about your amazing wedding photographer is a great way to help out when you can’t afford to tip.
To Wrap Up
There you have it. While there is no set amount you should be tipping your photographer, we recommend between 15-20% however it is very dependent on the amount you are spending overall.
You should make your decision based on the service you received, not the industry standard. If you loved everything about your photography team, go above and beyond, whether that’s financially or another alternative method. Happy with what you received but expected a little more however you still want to tip? Donate something small like $20. It will still be appreciated.
Most importantly, tip the amount you are happy with. Everyone is different, with different situations. You shouldn’t follow industry standards, you should follow your head and give an amount you are comfortable with.