On your wedding day, its always a good idea to tip your photographer and/or videographer. Why? Well, many reasons. Of course they should be happy they have a paying job for that alone. But consider other circumstances. Most photographers and videographers do not own their own studio, they are subcontracted. What this means is, they are not salaried, they are hired per day per event. Subcontractors are only paid after the event is over, and they submit an invoice, the photos, video and/or digital files for the studio. If they are lucky, they are paid a week after your wedding event. Some take up to 30 days to pay an invoice. So why tip your photo/video people/person?
Well, before they even show up on the job the day of your wedding, they are already out of pocket for cash expenses. For example:
$12 Suit Dry Cleaned
$3 Shirt Dry Cleaned
$15 Blank Digital Video Tape (not used or re-used)
$6 Fresh Batteries
$10 Gas and/or Tolls
Thats the short list, the longer list would be if they bought/own a GPS to insure not getting lost from house to church to reception hall, perhaps getting a haircut or even a shave. Sure, these are all things they should do, and all things people do when they have “regular” 9-5 jobs, but when a photographer is out Friday, Saturday, Sunday there is no time to have all these things done as the days run 12+ hours. They start at the house at 12noon for the bride to be dressed, they go to the church, there are photos after the church, then they are on to the park, restaurant or catering hall for more photos. IF they are lucky, they get 15 mins to get some food from the cocktail hour, use the restroom and get a drink of water, coffee, or whatver. Then they are working again from the Introductions all the way through the cake cutting without a break. Now it is 11pm, and by time they leave its closer to Midnight if they get the last dance coverage. The limo driver is there 2 hours, they get a tip, the band or DJ is there for 4 hours, not sure if they are tipped, but the photographers and videographers are there for 12 hours, from start to finish… maybe they didn’t even get a chance to eat during cocktail hour or dinner if it was served late and there was a speech or special dance planned. Its a long day, we don’t complain, even when we are not fed, but when we are tipped, we feel appreciated and will give you the extra care and faster service other’s won’t get. No, not because its about $20, not because you didn’t make the gesture, and not because of spite. Its simply because it was recognized that we showed up on the job in clean clothes, plenty of extra batteries, media storage, videotape, and did the very best we could to make sure you had full coverage of your special day, even at the cost of not eating, getting something to drink or using the restroom so we would not miss one minute of your special day.
Again, this is not about the money, whether its $20 or $40 or more, its about showing your appreciation. If not, why should I shave, shower, get a haircut, or wear a clean suit and use new batteries and videotape? Why? well, because I personally take what I do seriously, I want to be presentable because I am a professional, and I will continue to do so in the future whether or not I am given a tip. But when that one in 10 or one in 20 people give me a tip, it reminds me that all my professionalism has paid off even if only one in 20 recognize it. I can show up on a job in black pants & black shirt I used the day before, even use old batteries and recycled tapes. But I don’t and gas/tolls continue to rise. Again, we are lucky to be working and we appreciate that. However, if you see your photographer or videographer working hard, in clean clothes and acting professionally, consider thanking them in person, face to face, or having one of your groomsmen or bridesmaids give them a thank you envelope. Again, not because we need more money, but because we went above and beyond to cover our expenses and dry clean our clothes so we are presentable at your wedding as professionals. Its more about recognition of all our hard work and attention to detail than it is about the money. Something to think about.