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Do You Tip Photographers? (And How Much?) 2023


While tipping is expected in the restaurant industry, it’s a bit of a gray area with other types of services. 

Photographers have the important job of capturing special moments and producing a high-quality finished product.

But is it necessary to tip them on top of the initial costs of having a photo shoot and paying for prints?

In general, it’s not mandatory or expected to tip photographers. However, a tip of five to 10% is a great way to show your appreciation. Even when photographers do shoots for free, they typically earn money afterward by selling prints. Most photographers ensure their prices cover expenses and leave them with plenty of profit to spare.

Read on to learn more about the nuances of tipping (or not tipping) photographers. We’ll also go over different types of photographers and whether you should consider giving them a tip.

Are You Supposed To Tip Your Photographer?

While it’s not expected or required for you to tip your photographer, tipping is a nice gesture that photographers really appreciate.

There are many reasons why you may consider tipping your photographer. One is that they often work for companies and only get a small percentage of the flat rate that you pay. 

Another is that it’s often very challenging to have a successful career in the arts, and tips can help quite a bit.

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Tipping your photographer can also help the two of you build a good working relationship, and your photographer is more likely to put extra effort into photo editing if they’ve received a tip.

If your photographer went above and beyond or had a particularly difficult job to complete, a tip can help you express your appreciation and recognition of what they did for you.

You do not have to tip your photographer if you don’t want to. However, it is starting to become more commonplace.

How Much Do You Tip A Photographer?

Although it’s recommended to tip service providers like waiters and bartenders for around 15 to 20% of the bill, blog posts about photography explain that tips of this size aren’t expected for photographers.

Generally, a tip of five to 10% of the total is appropriate. Of course, if you want to go above and beyond, you can always tip your photographer more than 10%. 

If you worked with multiple photographers, the general recommendation is to tip the main photographer 10% and any assistants 5%.

In many cases, photographers love to get positive feedback, public reviews, and recommendations just as much as tips. 

If you love your photographer’s work, it’s a great idea to share your positive experience online. In doing so, you can drive more business to them and help them achieve additional success.

Are You Supposed To Tip Photographers For Family Photos?

Family photographers are responsible for working with and posing for families. They also aim to capture family members’ personalities and special moments in time. 

There are two main types of family photography. One takes place in big-box store photography studios, and the other consists of a more candid photo shoot typically completed by smaller photography businesses or individuals.

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If you get family portraits taken in a store’s photography studio, you don’t need to tip. Employees working at these types of studios generally make decent wages and do not require tips.

Meanwhile, if you’re working with a small business or individual photographer, tipping for family photos isn’t mandatory, but it’s an excellent way to show your appreciation for a job well done. 

It’s especially nice to tip your family photographer if they had to work with difficult kids or figure out creative solutions during the photo shoot.

Do You Tip Photographers For Baby Photos?

Baby photos are often the type of pictures that are treasured forever. Like other types of photography, it’s not mandatory to tip a photographer for baby photos.

Still, a tip is always a nice gesture, especially if you’re pleased with the pictures. You can also consider leaving positive feedback for your photographer on their website or social media pages.

Should You Tip A Photographer For Engagement Photos?

Engagement photos are an excellent way to capture romantic moments and remember the exciting period of time before marriage.

Whether or not it’s good practice to tip an engagement photo photographer varies quite a bit. Some people choose not to tip, as the session is already expensive.

Others prefer to tip their photographer if the engagement photos were included in their wedding package

There are many different opinions on this topic. In the end, it’s not required to tip your engagement photo photographer. However, if you’d like to, it’ll surely be appreciated.

Do You Tip Photographers For Senior Pictures?

What sets senior picture photo shoots apart from many other types of photography is that, more often than not, the parent runs things instead of the photographer.

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Parents often have very specific ideas about what types of outfits, props, and poses should be used for senior pictures. The graduating seniors themselves also have many ideas and images they’d like to have captured as well.

It’s usually unnecessary to tip a photographer for senior pictures. Not only do parents usually take charge so photographers have less to do, but senior picture photo shoots are also completed within a short timeframe.

In addition, most senior picture packages only include a specific number of photos. This reduces the time the photographer spends editing after the photo shoot is done.

Therefore, tips aren’t required or expected for senior pictures. Of course, there’s nothing stopping you from tipping your photographer if that’s what you want to do.

How Much To Tip A Free Photographer

Generally, a good tip for a photographer – free or otherwise – is around $100 if you don’t want to tip a percentage. However, many free photographers actually prefer publicity in the form of online reviews rather than tips. 

Some like receiving a tip or gift card after a session because it showed that their hard work was appreciated.

Others make the point that even if they do the session for free, they still earn money when people buy prints afterward.


Tipping photographers isn’t expected or required in most cases. If you’d like to tip, five to 10% of the total is a nice gesture that shows you appreciate the photographer’s hard work.

The majority of photographers that own their own businesses set prices high enough to cover their expenses and have profits left over. Even photographers that offer free sessions typically earn money when people buy prints of the photos later on.