Should you tip the photographer?
And how much?
Wedding photography is a service and as such, you can show your appreciation for a job well done by tipping your photographer. Just like a waiter in a restaurant, when you tip, you're telling your photographer that they have "taken care of you". Sure, you're paying them for the job and it's (hopefully) a substantial amount. You know, if you've read my other posts, that there is much more to the job of producing great wedding photos and an album than just showing up and pressing the shutter. How do you judge if your photographer deserves a tip on top of the fee you're already paying?
Consider this: Did the photographer make your day go smoothly? Did he/she take time to make sure you looked your best in the formal photos? Back when you were planning the day, did he/she offer guidance in how to make the most of the time you had for photos? Did he/she keep the mood light and happy during all the formal photos you had to go thru?
In general, if your photographer made your day fun, worked to keep you relaxed and comfortable while taking hundreds of photos, then he or she deserves a tip.
Remember that it's called a gratuity because it's your way of saying that your grateful for the extra effort your photographer showed working for you that day.
Unfortunately, it seems that tipping is becoming rare lately. Do photographers expect a tip? From my experience, not much anymore. But when the limo driver gets a tip for two hours work simply driving a car or the DJ gets a tip for four hours work and the photographer gets a hand shake for eight or more hours work, you can't help but feel slighted.
If you've hired a photographer thru one of the big wedding photo/video/dj companies you should know that they get a relatively small pay for the day, anywhere from $150 to $300 for eight hours or more work. It might seem like a good pay day, but compared to a photographer who owns his or her studio, it's not.
A tip of $50 is a nice way to say thanks. Tips of $100 are always a great way to end the evening. If you feel your photographer really did a great job for you, show it and give them a tip.