Wedding Photographers: To Tip or Not to Tip?

Are you planning your wedding and wondering if you should tip your photographer? If so, how much do you tip a wedding photographer? Is there a standard rule to follow?

These are common questions many couples have during the wedding planning process. 

After all, if your wedding photographer does great work, you want them to feel appreciated, but you also want to avoid overspending where possible.

When it comes to tipping your wedding photographer, there are no set rules, but some general guidelines will help to ease your final decision.

Keep reading because, in this article, we will answer questions like: 

  • Do you tip the photographer at a wedding? 
  • What should you consider before choosing how to tip your wedding photographer?
  • Who do you tip if there is more than one photographer?
  • And much more

Table of Contents

Do You Tip Your Wedding Photographer?

Tip-giving is always tricky, but it can be even more problematic when paying wedding photographers.

“Do you tip wedding photographers?” is a common question couples planning a wedding often ask themselves. 

You already have to dig deep into your pockets for wedding expenses, so adding gratuities to the list can be challenging and quickly become expensive.

Although there are standard ways to tip some wedding vendors, standard tipping etiquette does not apply to your photographer. If, however, a wedding photographer goes above and beyond on a special day, many people decide to tip them.

Is My Wedding Photographer Expecting a Tip?

Tipping at modern weddings has become a little blurry, as with many traditional wedding traditions. Wedding rules such as “you must” and “you must not” no longer apply.

It’s generally not necessary to tip a vendor if they own their own business. Tipping is more likely to be expected (but not required) if someone is an employee of another business. This rule stands true for photography.

It’s important to remember that the wedding photographer is earning a profit from the sale of the services you hired them for, so a tip is not expected but always appreciated.

Before You Tip Your Wedding Photographer Consider These 2 Things

The wedding photographer is usually by your side from start to finish and often spends a lot of time with you leading up to the big day. When it comes to showing appreciation for their time and work, you might already be feeding them a meal during your reception (they are with you and on their feet all day) or showing your gratitude in another way. 

Consider these two things before tipping your wedding photographer:

  1. Were your expectations met?
  2. What is written in your contract?

#1: Did Your Wedding Photographer Meet Your Expectations?

As previously stated, tipping is always welcome but not required. This is especially true if you are not satisfied with the services you received from your wedding photographer.

However, what if you were pleased with your wedding photographer and their services? 

If you are considering tipping your wedding photographer, ask yourself a few questions: 

  • Were they able to assist you with issues beyond those related to your photography, like helping to pin boutonnieres, bustle dresses, etc.? 
  • How did they handle tight timelines?  
  • What effect did the photographer have on keeping everyone calm?
  • Did they provide you with a discount at any time?  
  • Did they shoot for longer than the contract stipulated?  
  • How did they measure up to your expectations?  
  • Did they help you during times of uncertainty and stress?

These questions can help you decide whether or not (and how much) to tip.

#2: Double-Check Your Contract

Most wedding photographers operate their businesses and set their prices based on what they feel is fair for their skills, time, and effort. 

It does not hurt to read through your contract and make sure no automatic gratuities were already included. If a business includes gratuity in its fees, you do not have to worry about additional tipping. 

After you have reviewed your contract with your wedding photographer and determined whether gratuity is included, you can then decide if you want to tip your photographer. 

If You Use a Photography Team, Who Do You Tip?

The obvious answer is the wedding photographer, but wedding photographers often have a second shooter or assistant. If this is the case, are you expected to tip everyone?

Tipping each team member involved in your wedding shoot is appropriate, but not required, if their services are of value or exceed your expectations.

The Photographer

Photographers typically own their businesses, so tipping is not necessary, but always appreciated. 

However, as stated above, if your photographer went above and beyond what was asked of them, a tip is a great way to show your gratitude, even if they are the owner of the business. 

The Second Shooter

One person does not always do photography —  it is common for photographers to use a second shooter. A second shooter is a photographer hired to work alongside the main photographer during an event.

When they provide additional value, tipping the second shooter is appropriate.

If you are looking for a team of two photographers, Julian Ribinik Photography consists of a husband and wife photographer and editor team that focuses on telling the story and capturing the real emotions of your wedding day.

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The Photographer’s Assistant

Photographer assistants help professional photographers to: 

  • Plan
  • Set up; and
  • Complete photoshoots 

At a wedding, their job is typically to: 

  • Carry and set up the equipment
  • Assist with lighting; and
  • Ensure that the shoot runs smoothly

It would also be appropriate to tip the photographer’s assistant at your wedding if they go above and beyond your expectations.

How Much Do You Tip a Wedding Photographer?

How much do you tip a wedding photographer? This is a personal decision and likely varies from couple to couple. 

Typically, soon-to-be newlyweds have many questions that have straightforward answers, but this one has no hard and fast rules.

Rather than thinking of a tip as a flat rate, it is more logical to think of it as a percentage. If you’re happy with the photographer’s work, etiquette experts say a 15-20% gratuity is generally appropriate.

Regardless of the amount you decide to tip, it is always appreciated and above your responsibilities as a wedding client to tip your wedding photographer.

When Is a Good Time to Tip Your Wedding Photographer?

When to tip your wedding photographer is also a personal decision. Some clients like to tip the photographer at the end of their session, while others prefer to tip after receiving and reviewing their wedding photos.

At the End of Your Session

Some clients like to tip in person at the end of their photo session.

If you decide to tip on your wedding day, tipping should be done after all services have been rendered. Tipping any of your vendors is easier if you prepare tips in advance by setting aside cash and putting it in envelopes. Then, since you will be busy enjoying wedding festivities, your wedding coordinator or a family member can appropriately distribute the tips.

After Receiving Your Photos

Some clients prefer to send a tip to their photographer after receiving and reviewing their wedding photos. Tipping your wedding photographer after the wedding is considered acceptable since you will continue to communicate with them until you receive your photos.

Once all the work has been completed, you can send a genuine thank you upon returning from your honeymoon or as soon as your photographs arrive.

Does Tipping Beforehand Affect the Quality of Work?

With a professional photographer, tipping should not affect the quality of services. 

However, it is still considered best practice to tip after all services have been provided so you can tip an appropriate amount based on their services. By waiting, you will have the opportunity to reward incredible service or keep some extra cash for yourself if you were not happy with your experience or photos.

Capture Your Special Day With Julian Ribinik

Julian Ribinik is a New York City wedding photographer specializing in capturing both the magic and mood of the city and its couples.

We strive to give our clients wedding photos that capture New York City’s uniqueness and the essence of their relationship.

You will not find any cookie-cutter photos here!

If you have questions or want more information regarding our wedding photography services, please contact us today. We are happy to discuss all of your wedding photography needs with you. 

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Julian Ribinik Wedding Photography

330 E 46th St, New York, NY 10017

(212) 256-1646