Snarky Brides

Tipping photographer "argument"

julieanne912julieanne912 member
1000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary First Answer
edited March 2015 in Snarky Brides
So on a local Facebook wedding "buy/sell" page, a girl asks if you have to tip the photographer.  I, and a few others, mentioned that you do not tip any vendor who owns the business (photographer, florist, etc).  Hair/makeup artist might be the only exception.  However if they're an employee of that business, you tip them.  I also posted a link to TK's article about that exact subject (where it says tipping the photographer is optional, and that if they're an employee you should, but if they're the owner, probably not).

Then some other girl comes in and says you absolutely should tip everybody.  She told us about how her friend is a part time photographer with her own business, who has her work featured on The Knot and Rocky Mountain Bride etc etc.  She talked about how much time before, during, and after the wedding her photographer friend puts into her photos, and that she should be tipped because of all the time she puts in, and she sometimes even has to bring in another photographer and pay them.  I responded with, well, she should charge accordingly then.  If she's under-charging for her time, then that's her fault.  But, a tip is still not required.  I mentioned that if my own photographer does an excellent job, I might send her a small thank you gift after the work is completed (ie after I get all my pictures).  

I also brought up the fact that most people you tip (for example, waitstaff), you tip them after their job is complete, and the tip is to reward them for a job well done.  Your photographer's job isn't complete until the photos are delivered.  She then said that if the photographer does a bad job, you ask for a refund (ha ha).  Then she basically told me I'm a terrible person because I stand by my thoughts that you don't tip a self employed photographer.  

So... what do you think?  Was in in the wrong, or is she crazy?
Married 9.12.15
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Re: Tipping photographer "argument"

  • I'm in agreement with you. My photog owns her own business, so we won't be tipping her. I'll probably send her a hand-written thank-you card along with a small gift after my wedding is over. Also along these same lines are caterers. My caterer charges a hefty for service. I sort of feel like we shouldn't have to tip. The whole reason you tip at a restaurant is because the wait staff is making peanuts. But I don't know if that's right or not?
  • I'm in agreement with you. My photog owns her own business, so we won't be tipping her. I'll probably send her a hand-written thank-you card along with a small gift after my wedding is over. Also along these same lines are caterers. My caterer charges a hefty for service. I sort of feel like we shouldn't have to tip. The whole reason you tip at a restaurant is because the wait staff is making peanuts. But I don't know if that's right or not?

    I know for catering, it's important to read the contract.  I've gotten two quotes so far, one included gratuity, one did not.  
    Married 9.12.15
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    [Deleted User]
  • In my area, good photography starts around $1200 and I got quotes for as much as $10k (from people who obviously were meant to work for people much richer than I am, but). If my photographer spends seven hours taking pictures and ten hours editing and posting them, at minimum he'll make $70/hr. They don't need a tip on top of that.
    momofbride530
  • In my area, good photography starts around $1200 and I got quotes for as much as $10k (from people who obviously were meant to work for people much richer than I am, but). If my photographer spends seven hours taking pictures and ten hours editing and posting them, at minimum he'll make $70/hr. They don't need a tip on top of that.

    That was my thinking.  She said her friend spent 26 hours editing photos from a wedding.  All I could think of is, "your friend is doing it wrong then".  
    Married 9.12.15
    image
  • In my area, good photography starts around $1200 and I got quotes for as much as $10k (from people who obviously were meant to work for people much richer than I am, but). If my photographer spends seven hours taking pictures and ten hours editing and posting them, at minimum he'll make $70/hr. They don't need a tip on top of that.

    That was my thinking.  She said her friend spent 26 hours editing photos from a wedding.  All I could think of is, "your friend is doing it wrong then".  
    Yeah, her friend probably needs to chill on the curves function. Or get better at editing down the number of shots that make the final gallery.
  • I don't remember if we tipped our photog. They owned their own business.

    If we did, I regret it. And if we didn't, I'm glad we didn't. They were weeks late in getting our photos to us, didn't respond to emails, didn't do as we asked on the wedding day (i.e. we had two shooters and asked one to take candid photos of guests at cocktail hour - when we arrived, she was just loading stuff onto her laptop), didn't edit any of our photos, gave us blurry photos/photos that were way over exposed/photos where my eyes were closed... It was pretty obvious they didn't edit shit and just sent us one big fat file. 

    Anyway, if I had it to do over, I would pay them the contracted rate and wait to tip until I got the pictures back. If they were great, I'd tip. If the experience was what ours was, I wouldn't give them shit.
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  • I don't know, I don't think owning a businesses is a good reason not to tip. A lot of MUA or hairdressers or bakeries own their businesses. Sure, check the contract first to make sure gratuity isn't already included, but otherwise I don't think "this is my company" is a good reason to not tip someone.

    The cost you are charged isn't just profit. It's salary, it's labor hours, it's materials and supplies. 

    This might be snarky: but I feel like no one thinks twice about tipping their MUA even if that person works independently or owns their business, but with photography no one wants to tip.
     
    IMHO, I think your desire to tip or not should be based on the services provided and your level of satisfaction with those services. My photographer owns his business and he's the sole photographer/editor/etc. so far I've loved our interactions with him, and if he does a great job at the wedding I would definitely tip him for that. 
  • I don't know, I don't think owning a businesses is a good reason not to tip. A lot of MUA or hairdressers or bakeries own their businesses. Sure, check the contract first to make sure gratuity isn't already included, but otherwise I don't think "this is my company" is a good reason to not tip someone.


    The cost you are charged isn't just profit. It's salary, it's labor hours, it's materials and supplies. 

    This might be snarky: but I feel like no one thinks twice about tipping their MUA even if that person works independently or owns their business, but with photography no one wants to tip.
     
    IMHO, I think your desire to tip or not should be based on the services provided and your level of satisfaction with those services. My photographer owns his business and he's the sole photographer/editor/etc. so far I've loved our interactions with him, and if he does a great job at the wedding I would definitely tip him for that. 
    To the bolded: exactly, which is why it's the responsibility of the owner to set prices that meet their overhead costs AND allow them to take home a wage. If they're not accounting for that, it's their own fault.

    You tip a stylist/MUA who doesn't own the business because you know that a portion of what you're paying for their services doesn't go to them but to the owner for their cut and overhead AND they have little to no say in setting the prices. You tip a server because we live in a ridiculous culture where we pay service employees less than minimum wage so they're at the mercy of individual customers to make up the difference, and individual servers don't have the power to negotiate a higher wage or make prices reflect the true cost of labor and overhead. 

    Those who own their own business have all the discretion in the world to charge as much as they want for their skills and time over and above the cost of overhead and labor. If they are not charging enough to adequately compensate themselves, it's on their own head. A small gift in thanks for a job well down after all of their work is completed is appropriate; tipping is not, and is in my opinion insulting to those who rely on tips to make up where their fees and wages don't adequately compensate them.
    KahlylaKnottie1463426215khugs15
  • huskypuppy14huskypuppy14 Boston Suburbs member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    You don't have to tip anybody. But if your vendors did a great job, then why not tip them? 

    For photographers, you absolutely should wait to tip until you get your pictures back. If you love your pictures, I would tip them, whether or not they own their own business. 

    We tipped our photographer 100 dollars, and he owns his own business. It was not a lot percentage wise, but we thought it was a nice gesture for the work he did for our wedding.
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    charlottesmom0626rcher912
  • sylveonplath 
    I still disagree. 

    Yes, the price charged for services should accommodate for supplies, labor, materials, etc. but that's not what tipping is for. Tipping is NOT for supplementing a salary. Tipping is a gesture to reward service that you're happy with. I'm not suggesting a photographer rely on tips to make their wages. I actually don't think ANYONE should rely on tips for their wages. I understand that's the culture we live in, and there's nothing I can do about that, and yes I definitely tip at a restaurant, even if it's not exceptional service. 

    I think you're losing sight of what a "tip" is. You aren't required to tip anyone, ever. In the US we've become accustomed to tipping waiters and other staff because we understand they aren't getting the wages they deserve, essentially you're guilted into tipping them.

    You suggested that your photographer was making $70/hr just based on time and price, not including the materials/supplies/driving time. So that's an unrealistic price per hour. Not to mention that photographers don't book events every single day. They're more likely booking one event a weekend, maybe two. So they're making much less than you think they are. But yes, as you said, they should be setting their prices to be able to afford their business cost as well as their annual salary. 

    Also, there's also staying competitive in the market. Photographer A might have exceptionally reasonable prices, but then they have to work two or three times the amount of events to have the same salary as Photographer B who has hirer prices, even if they have the same skills. So are you suggesting all photographers raise their prices overall to build in their own gratuity? I would rather make that decision myself. 

    Again, I'm not demanding anyone tip. I recognize that's ridiculous. Or maybe you're unhappy with the quality of the work. 

    I just feel that because photography is so pricey, people get stingy and say "I don't need to pay you extra" and that's not fair. I could almost bet if photography cost you $50 or $100, you would throw 15% down as a nice gesture of "thank you". Also, when photography services cost $10,000, I also don't think the 15% rule applies (we can check with the etiquette board on that), and a thank you card with a gift card, or $50-100 is a great personal tip to say "thank you for your exceptional service"

    I guess my last point/take home message is this: you're paying this person/these people for a service you obviously want but don't want to do yourself. Or maybe you just aren't thrilled with the idea of Aunt Marge taking photos on her iphone. You're paying for the service, true, there's no obligation to tip. But if you are happy with the quality of the work and the artistry of the photos, why wouldn't you tip for those skills that they provided?
    rcher912
  • aliwis000aliwis000 member
    250 Love Its 100 Comments Third Anniversary First Answer
    edited March 2015

    I think our culture has gotten a bit ‘tip happy’ these days.
    It seems like everyone wants a tip.

    Now do not get me wrong, I tip at a restaurant. However, I
    do tip based on service. Average =15-20% Above average over that. Total crap
    service? Under that % to nothing. And how I define what is average or not
    depends on the place. 5 star restaurant? I expect pretty amazing service. Chili’s?
    Please keep my diet coke full and I am happy. In these cases it makes sense, the structure is
    set up to depend on tips.

    However, I do not think that tipping should extend to
    everyone in a service industry, especially if they own their own business. I
    work in a service industry. I am a consultant. I produce nothing physical, I simply
    offer my time and opinion. I work for one of the largest firms in the country
    and my clients include Fortune 100 companies. Should I get tipped? Of course
    not. I have chosen of my own freewill to work for the salary offered to me by
    my company and can leave if at any point I feel I can make more elsewhere.

    So tell me. How is that different than a photographer contracted
    out to a national firm? I just do not see a big difference. Especially if you
    own your own business you should be charging enough for your time. That is just
    common sense. There is no hard and fast rule that says each of your clients
    will tip so why would you ever build your business model on the HOPE that they
    will? You have to build it knowing what you will make and how much you need to
    cover costs.

    Would I send my photographer or wedding planner a small gift
    if they go above and beyond? Of course. But just showing up and doing what is
    in your contract is not going above and beyond. That is the minimum amount
    agreed to in a written document.

  • In my opinion tipping is generally up to the discretion of the customer.  Tips are earned not given and I think if your vendors do what you want you should absolutely tip them.  I went to a wedding whose photographer who was pretty awful as they were getting a discount for being recommended.  The photographer acted like he did not care and it showed in the pictures they got back.  Make sure you wait until you get your photos back before you decided to tip.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    charlottesmom0626
  • kaitlynmichellekaitlynmichelle British Columbia member
    Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 1000 Comments Name Dropper
    I didn't tip my photographer. I did send her a thank you card and wrote excellent reviews.
    imageDaisypath Anniversary tickers
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