Do You Tip A Wedding Photographer? [How To Approach It]

Tipping wedding vendors can get a little confusing. And pricey! Besides, everything wedding screams expensive, before all the tips are considered! And whether to tip the photographer is a particularly tricky one. Do people generally do this? Is it expected or even necessary? Let’s find out. 

So, do you tip a wedding photographer? Most people will agree that it is unnecessary to tip either the wedding photographer or their assistant – generally, the tip is built into the price. However, tipping is an option for showing appreciation to photographers who go the extra mile or do an outstanding job you are delighted with.

Let’s get into the situations in which you may or may not tip, and if you do, what is an appropriate amount. 

Should You Tip Your Wedding Photographer?

Most people say you do not have to tip a wedding photographer. And for this reason, many photographers will not expect to be tipped.

But we all know a wedding photographer does a lot. 

This rings especially true if they are also a videographer and they have assistants helping them out too to make sure your wedding is perfectly documented.

In a society where we tip a lot for good work, it is natural to feel bad and feel obliged to do so. 

But whether you do or not, it’s really down to you.

It really becomes a judgment call as to what feels best in your heart. 

Under no circumstances is it obligatory, and as a general rule of thumb, it is never a bad idea to wait and see how your photos come out. 

It’s easier to look at certain situations and then assess what feels right. 

Let’s evaluate some situations where you may want to consider tipping and, if so, how much you should tip. 

Some General Tip Provoking Situations

There are certain situations where you may want to throw down some extra dollars towards the photographer or a videographer and their team. 

Most of the rules can be applied in many of your wedding services, so feel free to follow a general guideline with most of the companies and vendors you work with. 

This, in general, can make things a lot easier when it comes to decisions. 

Going The Extra Mile

It’s always a generally good idea to show appreciation for someone who goes the extra mile. 

For instance, any service that goes above your contract and is working hard may deserve a bonus on top of what they are getting financially. 

Or they get your photos back considerably quicker than initially expected.

It’s again no obligation to you, but if you can afford to compensate them for the extra work, it can go a long way in appreciation. 

Tips are definitely a good move, but if the budget really is too tight or you feel the price is already very high for services, there are other ways you can tip. 

You can write a wonderful review on their page to help attract customers. 

Take your time with this and make it specific if you want it to go a long way. 

Complications That Aren’t Their Fault

Anything that makes their job harder that is not their fault needs to be considered. 

For instance, if you are late or feel like you can’t make up your mind on how you want the photos done, then these are times where tipping should be considered. 

You are somewhat asking them to go above and beyond what they agreed to, and if they are kind enough to constantly accommodate your wishes, it may be nice to throw a little gratuity. 

Having said that, photographers who are professionally trained should know how to work with specific situations. 

In other words, things do not always go accordingly to plan on the big day.

And a good photographer will be flexible and responsive during such times.

But if you are being a bridezilla and making things more challenging for the photographer, and they rise to the challenge, tip.

Or at least find a way to make up for them dealing with all the extras. 

How Much Should You Tip a Photographer?

If you tip a wedding photographer, you should tip what you can afford and something reasonable. Generally, between $25-$100 is a good range to consider.

Again this becomes a judgment call because being too cheap is no good, but neither is breaking your bank. 

If any of the above applies, we can look into a number of different incidents and situations that may alter how much you tip. 

Single Photographer 

In this instance, you hire a single photographer who works on their own.

Here are a few guidelines from brides and their grooms in the past that have resulted in certain tip ranges. 

  • Some brides felt a 50 dollar tip was appropriate because they did a great job and met the standard contract originally agreed upon. They had the budget to do and felt it didn’t need to be more than that because things went smoothly and as planned. 
  • In situations where the photographer does a fantastic job and has worked extremely hard to make things special and thoughtful such as video moments and above what has been agreed upon, it may be appropriate to tip $100 upwards. 

For the most part, the bigger a project your day is, the more likely you will want to tip. 

Having said that, a more complicated project is usually reflected in the price – photographers design their quotes based on your needs.

Photography Team, or With Assistants 

In the event that you decide to tip and the photography company has assistants to the main director, consider tipping $25 to $50 each. 

This is if you really felt they did a great job and you have the comfortable budget to do so. 

Likely it will go a long way because assistants are generally not tipped but do a lot of work as the director does. 

Nevertheless, always remember the range that you feel comfortable tipping – it should depend on your situation and financial circumstances.

When Not To Tip A Wedding Photographer

There are a few times where you really shouldn’t tip a wedding photographer, such as bad work.

Likely that won’t happen.

But sometimes, it can be a game of back and forth, wondering whether you should or shouldn’t tip. 

This is because, like everything, it is very situational and dependent on income, the job is done, and your satisfaction. 

It’s easier to talk about when you shouldn’t tip. 

Poor Service

When you sign with a photographer, they will likely go over what you can expect and have some written agreement documented. 

The thing with wedding photos and videos is that they can be so subjective because no moment is ever the exact same. 

So if you come to an agreement and find that half the agreed pictures or moments are missing or the work seems to be poor, you should absolutely not tip. 

In fact, in terms of very poor service, some people may ask to void the contract. 

This is incredibly rare, and if you read the reviews from previous clients and see their portfolio, the chances are even slimmer. 

Built-In Gratuity

You may notice that the number is a little higher than you thought at the end. 

Some photographers and videographers like restaurants will already add their gratuity to the bill.

This can be off-putting for some, so if you find a section that specifies gratuity included, you can always ask for it removed. 

This becomes a really tricky dance, so it’s best to ask beforehand if there are any hidden fees and if you can get the finalized contract before the wedding. 

It’s Not In Your Budget

Simply put, you are not obligated to tip a wedding photographer. 

Sometimes their services are expensive for just this very reason. 

If it becomes a budget issue, do not stress. 

There are other ways that you can show your appreciation that don’t include necessarily giving more money. 

Let us now look at them below.

Alternative For Tipping Your Wedding Photographer

Tipping can be awkward.

You don’t want to give too much and regret it or give too little and feel like you were better off doing nothing. 

Let’s talk about two different types of appreciation that are not a check or straight cash. 

Some will be of cash value, and the others involve no money at all! 

There is also no harm in doing both. 

Really if you get anything from this article, the point is you can do whatever you want! 

Cash Value

If you do want to give something with some monetary value to it but is not necessarily cash, consider the following:

Gift Cards

Gift cards are always a great way to say thank you.

You want to keep them as generic as possible because you aren’t always sure what your photographer likes.

Unless you know them well, then, in that case, you can give them a gift card to a specific coffee shop or restaurant in their local area. 

Alcohol

If they drink, getting them a nice bottle of wine or something alcohol is always a gift that goes a long way.

Sometimes to make it more formal, you can put together a wine and cheese basket that also has things like olives, nuts, and spreads in it.

Business Gift

If you really know your photographer well, you may consider giving them a useful gift for their business.

This is more difficult and requires a little more knowledge about them and their business. 

No Cash

Some people don’t have the money to give a tip or anything of cash value.

It can be difficult to know what to get, which is why there are a few other things that you can do to say thank you and how much you appreciate their work and time. 

Review

Giving a detailed review of their account is so important.

Often things are too generic and don’t let interested clients know what their experience was really like.

If you take the time to put in the effort, people will appreciate that and really value what you are saying. 

Referrals

Giving referrals and sharing their work to any of your social media pages or with friends can also be a great way to express your gratitude.

This will pull in more clients for them and ultimately can offset not giving them a tip.

From there, it can become a snowball effect where those clients might even refer them to new clients. 

Thank You Card

Seems simple and maybe silly but saying thank you to your vendors is just as important as saying thank you to your guests.

A hand-written note and card goes a long way and is something that is relatively easy and definitely affordable to do. 

Play It By Ear

Tipping is one of the more stressful parts of wedding planning. 

But it doesn’t have to be. 

If you have some guidelines on how to handle the different vendors, like your wedding photographer, then it becomes easier to read the situations and understand what is and what is not a good situation to tip in.

Generally, great service that goes above and beyond what is agreed upon is a good indicator that this may be a situation that you want to tip in. 

Having said that, it is still not necessary or obligatory to do so. 

If you feel really stuck in the middle about whether you should tip or not, there are alternatives that both off monetary value and not. 

As mentioned, a simple thank you card can go a long way. 

Even better, helping them meet new clients is sometimes more desired than getting a tip because it means more possibilities for the future. 

Whatever you decide to do, there should be no guilt or shame in the decision. 

Most people will say it’s not necessary, and that’s because it is true. 

You don’t have to tip a wedding photographer. But if you want to, you can.