Do You Tip Photographers?

photographer shaking hands with a client

The question of whether or not to tip a professional for their service is often hotly debated. In particular, there is a great deal of confusion among consumers about tipping photographers. Some people claim to always tip photographers while others say it is not necessary. As a result, no one really knows the exact etiquette around tipping photographers. In this article, we break down whether you should tip a photographer, if tipping varies by the photoshoot type, and how much should you tip.

Are You Supposed to Tip Photographers?

There is no simple guideline for tipping etiquette for photographers. This is largely because tipping is expected for some types of photoshoots, partly expected or becoming the norm for other types of photoshoots, and completely unnecessary for other types of photoshoots. Adding to the confusion is that the amount or percentage that you tip will also vary by photoshoot type.

In general, if you feel that a photographer has gone above and beyond during your photoshoot, then you are more than welcome to tip. However, this is not standard practice. Here is a detailed breakdown of the tipping etiquette across a number of photographic categories.

Tipping Wedding Photographers

Soon-to-be newlyweds typically have thousands of questions but one that tends to get overlooked until the big day comes is whether or not to tip your wedding photographer and if the answer is yes then how much do you tip? 

The simple answer is yes. Tips are generally expected for wedding photographers, as the photographer is likely spending an entire day devoted to capturing each special moment on your big day.

How much you tip wedding photographers is largely up to you. At the end of the night or the beginning of the day, you can give the photographer, not the owner of the company, a $50 to $100 tip. You might also give a small tip at the end of your wedding day and a larger one after you receive your photos if the photographer delivered some outstanding shots. 

Tipping Engagement Photographers

Although you are often expected to tip a wedding photographer, the same is not the case for engagement photos. A simple thank you note to show that you appreciate their work is more than acceptable. Of course, you can always go the extra mile and write an online review and/or refer your friends to the photographer. 

Do You Tip Headshot Photographers?

Headshot photographers offer a valuable service for professionals that need to get their face out there, literally. But that does not mean that you need to tip a headshot photographer. There is no expectation of a tip for a headshot photo session. However, the general rules of etiquette still apply so if the service was outstanding writing a good review and referring others is an excellent way to show your appreciation.

Are You Supposed to Tip Family Portrait Photographers?

Tipping a family portrait photographer can depend on a number of things. In general, you do not need to tip a portrait photographer if they are a novice, work in a department store, or are a part of a professional photography studio.

However, if you are hiring an independent photographer to capture the perfect portraits of you and your family, you are often expected to leave a small tip. Consider this tip a friendly gesture if the family portrait photographer goes the extra mile. Nothing more than 5-10% is needed in this case.

a young man and woman inspecting a camera

Tipping Newborn and Baby Photographers

Newborn and baby photographers capture a very special moment in time. These photos are often treasured for years by parents and family members but tipping is not required. Of course, thank you notes are always appreciated as are online reviews and referrals.  

Do You Tip Maternity Photographers?

You can head into your maternity photoshoot with no worries about gratuities. Tipping for maternity photoshoots is not expected. Since the photographer is likely operating on an hourly rate, there is no need to tip anything beyond the flat rate.

Tipping Portrait Photographers

Tipping a portrait photographer is not the norm. Often a portrait photography session is based on a flat rate, meaning that the photographer has already taken into account the amount of work needed to give you a beautiful portrait shot. 

Are You Supposed to Tip Senior Photographers?

Senior photos are a great way to capture the moment a high schooler closes a large chapter in their life. However, tips are only expected if the photos turn out incredible or you felt that the photographer went above and beyond the call of duty. If you choose to tip a senior photographer, aim for nothing more than 10%.

Final Thoughts on Tipping

In conclusion, hopefully, these guidelines help put your mind at ease when it comes to whether or not to tip your photographer. Remember when hiring a photographer, you’re paying for a service to enhance your life so don’t let the tipping question cause you any additional stress. Enjoy the moment!

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