Photographers, Videographers, DJs, all of us in the Wedding services provide a service. We all receive an hourly pay, just like your hairdresser, just like the bartender at your favorite bar. The tip boils down to every other tip you leave: Did we go above and beyond? Did you feel that we provided you with more than adequate service?
The argument is always “I paid a lot more for my wedding photographer than I do for my haircut!”, and you are, of course, right. However, your hairstylist is only involved with you for your 15-60 minutes session, and that is it. The next time you see them, you tip them again. Same goes for a server at a restaurant – they interact with you 4 or 5 times from when you enter the door to when you leave, totaling maybe 20 minutes of their day. Wedding services are in an entirely different ballfield.
We have phone conversations, engagement sessions, editing your engagement pictures, creating Save the Dates, more phone consults, timeline review and editing, formal portrait reviews, then the actual wedding day photography (which is on average 10-12 hours just that day), travel, photo editing, album design, image reveal session, etc. The list is quite long, and this is only the front-end of our services. We also have gear to upkeep, insurance we have to carry, online data storage, software to buy and update to edit your photos, training we may attend, practicing, etc. This is another long list of stuff our clients never see, and honestly don’t need to. But in the end, if you want a better photographer, they got better by practicing and making this their full-time job.
The etiquette of tipping is really simple: Do you want to say Thank You to your photographer or your DJ? Do you feel they delivered more than they had to? That’s really all a tip is; a Thank You directly from you to them. Tips go directly to the professional that worked with you and let us know that we helped make your special day that much better for you. They are a way of saying “Thank You for helping me enjoy my day and get everything I wanted on my Wedding Day.”
Some couples ask about guidelines for what to tip their vendors for different services that are
provided. We have polled vendors throughout the wedding industry in the state of WI to see what they are saying their average tips are, and here is what we found out:
Bus Driver: $50
Hair/Make-up Stylists: $20 per person serviced
Featured Photographer $250-500
Lead Photographer: $150-250
2nd Photographer: $100-150
Photo Booth Attendant: $50
Wedding Coordinator: $100-$150