Do I tip my photographer?

A few weeks ago I received a panicked message from one of my friends, asking me if she should have tipped her photographer. It read:

"Is it customary to tip a photographer? I had a boudoir shoot a few days ago and after they left (it was a husband and wife team) it hit me that I had totally spaced on it. It's not too late, I can still send them something. I just feel stupid. I think I was just nervous and distracted by the whole concept of the shoot and was not thinking! Thoughts?"

Tipping has always been a great debate since well, whenever tipping began. I used to waitress, so I have heard every argument about when to tip and when to not, how much to tip, etc.

There are similar arguments when it comes to photography. To start, you're already making an investment by booking a session with your photographer. To tip before you've seen the end product (your final images) seems backwards, so I personally don't expect a tip at the end of your session. To compare it to something you do on a more regular basis, imagine tipping a hair stylist before they've ever touched your hair with the scissors.

On the other hand, a photographer is providing you a service. Depending on how much involvement your photographer has had with you in the planning process, how attentive they've been to your emails or calls, or how well your photographer worked with you and your kids, a tip can go a long way in showing your photographer how much you appreciate and have enjoyed your experience. After speaking to a number of photographers we agree: it's not expected, for the reasons I mentioned above, but it is guaranteed to make our day.

One of the best ways to "tip" your photographer is to tell everyone you know about your experience. It doesn't cost you anything, but it can go a very, very long way in helping their business. Spread our company's name on Facebook. Credit us on your blogs. Doing this says the same thing a tip would: you were pleased with our service, the end result, you loved working with us, and would come back.

Whether or not it's the norm, if you feel like great service deserves a great reward, you can never go wrong by making someone's day. Should you feel bad if you don't? Absolutely not.

In the end, I wrote back my friend and told her not to worry. Her photographers probably hadn't thought twice about it and hopefully after this blog post, you won't either!

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