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Should You Tip Your Wedding Photographer?

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DALE

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Should You Tip Your Wedding Photographer? I get this question from both clients and from other photographers. Money conversations are always awkward, and most people avoid them like the plague. However, I do see that a lot of people google “Should You Tip Your Wedding Photographer?” so I thought I would put in my two cents (lol… see what I did there?). So, let’s discuss!

Should You Tip Your Wedding Photographer? What’s the protocol?

The most important thing to be said here is this: as a luxury wedding photographer, I never EVER expect a tip. Wedding couples should feel no obligation or pressure to tip a photographer. The other thing to say is that a tip is always appreciated. In addition to wedding photography, I always try my hardest to go above and beyond for each and every client through the service I provide. Not because I want a tip, but because I feel it’s my responsibility to do the best work I can and deliver the best experience I can. If a client sees that and is moved by it, they are certainly welcome to give a tip, but again… it is NEVER expected!

To drive this home, if I show up 30 minutes early and stay 30 minutes past the expected finish time and shoot for 12 hours straight without eating dinner, it’s because that is what I choose to do. I don’t have ulterior motives; I just want the job done right and do whatever I can to make sure it is. My feelings are never hurt when I don’t receive a tip on the wedding day; on the contrary, I get satisfaction out of a job well done more than anything. I care so much about my clients and their weddings.

(So much so that I even try to match the wedding colors and vibe, as seen below!)

Dale Benfield stands with Benny Bride Caroline in an all-white hallway at Hillside Estate

How Much Should You Tip Your Wedding Photographer?

Again, you don’t have to tip anything at all! However, if you are generally one who enjoys giving tips, then let’s discuss how much is generally tipped. Honestly, there are no guidelines! This week I received a 10% tip on a portrait session, and a $500 tip at a wedding. I’ve also received a $50 tip, $400 tip, and a $1000 tip in the past two months, so there is no hard and fast rule, and it’s not tied to performance or package amount.

Because I’m never expecting a tip, the gesture is always a surprise. Again, it’s appreciated but never expected. There have been plenty of weddings this year when there wasn’t a tip, and that’s just fine! Receiving (or not receiving) a tip doesn’t, nor should it, change the way a photographer feels about a client.

I love my clients. Every single one of them. I know that for some couples, it is a huge sacrifice to hire me for their wedding. I understand and appreciate that! Tipping on top of that might just be out of the cards, and no one should feel bad about that. The bottom line is: I am just thankful for your business!

“It was a Huge Sacrifice Just to Hire a Photographer. Is There Something Good to Do In Lieu of Tipping?”

Absolutely! Most photographers love words of affirmation. One nice text or email is all you need to make your photographer feel warm and fuzzy. Even better, leave a positive review on their Knot, Wedding Wire, Yelp, or Google Business Profile! This helps their business far more than you might realize. Let’s say your google review inspires just one bride to book them for their wedding – that means you have just given that photographer future income, and new clients to turn into raving fans.

The other great thing you can do is remember to tag your photographer on social media. Some photographers require this and put it in the contract, but even if they don’t, it’s a great thing to do. Again, it’s a mini-endorsement of the photographer, which could help book a future job.

⭐️⭐️⭐️ However, the very biggest thing you can do for your photographer is this: refer your wedding photographer to your newly engaged friend and family. A strong recommendation is more powerful than any review, any purchased ad, or any marketing effort. Your friends believe you and trust you. If you say Benfield Photography is the best photographer in Northwest Arkansas, they’ll believe it and hire me. That goes farther than any tip!

Thanks for coming along on this not-so-awkward discussion about money and tipping.

Talk to you soon,
Dale

P.S. To the photographers out there who read this: If you’re offered a tip, the best thing to do is accept it graciously. No need to refuse or put up a show about not accepting it. Some people absolutely LOVE tipping and find joy in giving. The last thing you want is to deprive them of that joy. If you don’t want the money, you’re welcome to make a donation to your favorite charity.

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