It’s one of those questions you might not think about until you’re waist deep in wedding planning: Should you tip your wedding photographer? I’m here to share my insight as a wedding photographer including all the meaningful ways you can show appreciation beyond extra cash.
Speaking for myself, I can say that about half of my clients tip me with cash while the other half don’t. I always appreciate cash but never expect it. The industry standard is that wedding photographers don’t rely on tips to round out income made from a wedding. On the other hand, it is industry standard to tip hair and makeup artists as well as people who serve at and cater events. For wedding photographers, there are plenty of other ways to show that you loved your experience.
Maybe you’re still wondering if you should tip your wedding photographer. When I think about tipping as it relates to wedding photography, I think about it as a way of giving some lagniappe, a New Orleans word for a little something extra. This can look like so many things other than cash in an envelope. If my clients think I’ve gone above and beyond in our process together or the actual photos, I hope they’ll give me a little lagniappe to show how satisfied they are.
If you think your wedding photographer has done an amazing job, it’s nice to let them know! Here are some ideas to express your gratitude.
I’ll never complain about being handed a cash tip at the end of a wedding as a thank you. On average, I tend to receive tips that are equivalent to about 5% of the collection amount. I understand that not everyone has budgeted for this, though, so I’m always excited for any of these other ways that clients reciprocate their great experience.
I would rather receive a glowing review than an envelope of cash any day. Reviews are invaluable for my business. They serve as “social proof” that I can deliver on everything I promise. Did I move mountains for you? Did I help plan a timeline that made for incredible photos? Maybe I spent a few minutes during the wedding doing a small photo session with your grandparents. Leaving a detailed review that clearly describes the ways I served you is so meaningful. It’s really something money can’t buy. Curious where to leave a review? Sharing your positive experiences on Google, The Knot, and Facebook are all great ways to tip your wedding photographer.
I often work with couples for over a year as they plan their wedding. We definitely get to know each other! Some of my favorite “tips” have been thoughtful gifts that my clients gave me. One client, a ceramics professor, gifted me to ceramic ramen bowls that she made by hand. Another client, who knows how much I love my dogs, gave me a customized sweatshirt and cup with their faces. If you have a alent, I’d love receiving a small gift that reflects your skills!
Most people share their wedding photos on social media these days. Wedding photographers always appreciate it when you tag them and sing their praises. This is another form of social proof to communicate that your photographer came through. When I’m tagged in a photo I took and see a heartfelt caption, it means the world to me. I wouldn’t expect this for every photo a client posts, but it means so much for the first couple posts. This feels good for me but also drives traffic to my social media accounts and website. Ultimately, this could lead to future bookings for me! I can’t overstate the ripple effect this has.
Do you know someone else planning their wedding? Word of mouth referrals are another way you can help your wedding photographer without a cash tip. Again it shows that you were so happy with your experience that you want to share it with others, and it could lead to more business for your photographer.
I love a thank you note or email with specific details about a client’s experience with me. My love language is words of affirmation. You’d be surprised to know how many people I work with never reach out afterward. Even a quick email in response to the gallery delivery means so much.
Did you find this helpful? I share lots of wedding planning advice on my blog! Check out these tips on putting together your wedding timeline with your photographer.