Do I Tip My Wedding Photographer

The question

I recently received an email from a bride whose wedding was coming up. I want to share this email because it approached (what most consider) a sensitive subject incredibly well. Do I tip my wedding photographer and how much?

The email

Hi Peter-

Had a quick sensitive question for you. I am putting together my vendor tips for the wedding and wanted to seek your input on how your primary (you) photographer and your assistant photographer are tipped. Do you clients typically tip both equally? At 20% of your package price? Do they tip the night of or once they receive their final photo edits? Trying to politely get a sense for protocol…every wedding vendor of mine has had a different answer (some say don’t tip us, some want it, some say it’s nice if you do). If you can provide any guidance or insight that would be much appreciated, we want to make sure you are appropriately taken care of! Thank you!

Best,
Michelle

I thought this email was really well put together, polite and to the point. If you’re looking for a great way to ask this question to your vendors, use what Michelle wrote!

A lot of times people become uncomfortable when discussing money so they avoid the topic all together. Here, Michelle showed that she really cared about her vendors and approached it in the right way – seeking guidance. Her message also showed me that she trusted her vendors enough to know they were going to do an amazing job even before the wedding. She trusted us enough not to wait for the results. This is a direct reflection of the type of people Michelle and her fiancee are. Michelle and her fiancee are smart and thorough enough to have done their research and hired the RIGHT vendors – vendors they knew would take great care of them.

Product vs Service

The answer to this question (for me) is rooted in the way I see my business. Some photographers – maybe most, I don’t know – see their business as providing a service. I do not – I sell a product.

Because I look at what I give my couples as a product – and not a service – I never, ever expect a tip. It’s always appreciated, but never necessary. And no, you don’t get extra wedding photos if you do tip us – just like you don’t get less photos if you don’t tip us. To me, a tip means that we went above and beyond your expectations during the planning process and on the day of your wedding. The great wedding day experience and the guidance and helpfulness in planning, is all part of that awesome product I sell.

Now, if someone is viewing photography as a service business, no different than a cab driver or a waiter – they might very well expect a tip. Personally, I don’t think this is the right approach for any photographer…but hey, that’s just me.

How much

When it comes to the question of how much do you tip – personally I can tell you we’ve been tipped anywhere from $100 to $500. The one time we were tipped $500, I had two assistants with me. Typical for two photographers is $200-$300.

Advice

My advice to couples planning their wedding is to invest in the relationships you have with your vendors – and I don’t mean financially. Take the time to get to know them, make sure they are well fed (a warm meal) and get to sit when they eat.

For photographers who expect a tip – sorry, but you’re just wrong.

I hope this was helpful and, as always, feel free to reach out with any questions or comments. 🙂

Comments Off on Do I Tip My Wedding Photographer

Comments are closed.

Web Analytics