Do You Tip A Photographer For Family Photos?

A tip is an extra payment made to certain service professionals as a way of thanking them for good service. Photographers who take family portraits and photos are one type of service provider who may receive tips from appreciative clients. Tips are a nice gesture but generally not required or expected for family photography sessions.

Do you tip a photographer for family photos? This is a common question for families getting professional images taken. There are good arguments on both sides of whether gratuity is warranted for this type of photography service. Some reasons supporting tipping family photographers include showing appreciation for time and effort and incentivizing great service. 

Family photography sessions require photographers to use their skills, equipment and time to capture special memories. Most photographers price their family session fees to cover their costs and desired profit margin. While not strictly required, some families choose to offer a tip of 10-20% to thank the photographer if service met or exceeded expectations.

How much is an appropriate tip amount for family photos?

There is no set standard for how much to tip a family photographer. A tip of 10-20% of the total session fee is fairly typical and considered an appropriate amount by many photographers. For a session costing $400, a tip would range from $40-80.

Some photographers note that tips for family sessions tend to be lower than event photography like weddings. But families should not feel obligated to match a wedding tip percentage. Leaving $20-50 is generally perfectly acceptable for showing appreciation to a family photographer who met expectations.

What factors into deciding whether to tip the photographer?

Clients deciding whether to leave a gratuity for family photos should consider if the photographer delivered professional results and high-quality customer service from start to finish. 

Good communication, efficiency during the session, providing a comfortable and fun experience, meeting promised deadlines, and delivering exceptional photos that exceed expectations are all reasons tipping is warranted.

Tipping may not be necessary if the basics of showing up on time to take technically sound photos at the agreed upon place and duration were the primary extent of the photographer’s duties. Most photographers price sessions to account for their average costs and profit margins without relying on or expecting tips.

When is the best time to provide a tip to the photographer?

Many clients prefer to tip their family photographer on the actual day of the photo session, especially if they are highly satisfied with the photographer’s demeanor and efforts so far. This allows the client to express gratitude in the moment. 

Other clients wait until after viewing the final edited photos, and they base the tip amount on satisfaction with the end product. There is no truly right or wrong time, as long as the tip is given directly to the photographer and not a photography studio or other business. Whenever works best for the client’s budget is appropriate.

What Are Common Family Photography Tipping Practices?

Here are some common family photography tipping practices:

  • It is not standard to tip the owner of a photography business. They set their own rates to earn a profit. However, tips are sometimes given as a bonus if clients feel service exceeded expectations.
  • Tips are more commonly given to photography assistants and second shooters who work for a lead photographer. $20-50 per assistant is typical.
  • Tips tend to be given more often for family sessions that require extra time, patience and effort like large groups, young children, or challenging locations. Appreciation for the extra work is shown through tips.
  • If photographers provide extra services beyond the normal shoot time like extremely fast online gallery delivery, extra editing requests, or last minute extended hours, tips recognize going above normal expectations.
  • While photo quality and fundamentals don’t change based on tips, small gestures around customer service, turnaround time, flexibility etc. can be incentivized by tips that serve as positive feedback.

So in summary – tips for owners are optional, tips for assistants are more common, and tips tend to correlate to situations requiring extra time and effort from the photographer. They show the client’s satisfaction with the overall experience.

What percentage of clients tip their family photographer?

Tipping practices vary widely in family photography. According to one survey, approximately 25-30% of clients choose to tip their family photographer. Regional differences can greatly impact tipping habits. In some parts of the U.S., nearly 50% of customers tip their family photographer, while in other areas less than 10% of clients leave a gratuity. 

Overall tipping rates tend to be higher in major metropolitan areas compared to rural regions.

The average tip amount also fluctuates significantly. Among those clients who do tip, common gratuities range from 5-20% of the total photography fee. 

Some families give a set dollar amount such as $20-50 instead of calculating a percentage. Higher end photographers who charge over $500 for family sessions seem to receive tips at the upper end of this range more consistently.

Do most photographers expect tips for family sessions?

Expectations around tipping vary between photographers. While tips may be welcomed, most family photographers do not actively expect or rely on receiving gratuities. Their session fees and package rates account for their desired compensation and profit margin from the work. 

A minority of family photographers hint either directly or indirectly that tips are assumed as part of hiring them. This may take the form of tip jars prominently displayed in their studio space or reminders about gratuities in follow up emails after a shoot. While not explicitly demanding extra payment, the culture in some photography circles leans towards anticipating tips as standard practice after any session.

How do tipping habits differ by region and culture?

Regional tipping customs related to the service industry and other occupations seem to extend to family photographers as well. In the U.S., those living in large coastal cities and states known for more liberal political leanings tip family photographers at higher rates than other areas of the country. 

Some European, Asian, and African nations where tipping is less ingrained in the culture rarely provide gratuities for family photography services. Variations also emerge between metropolitan and rural regions, with small town customers tipping modestly if at all compared to larger city dwellers. 

New money and old money attitudes factor in too, as elite but frugal families may decline tipping while nouveau riche clients generously overtip. Generational differences, ethnicity, faith, and family values further impact views on tipping family photographers.

Why Do Some Choose Not to Tip for Family Photos?

Why Do Some Choose Not to Tip for Family Photos?

Some people may choose not to tip family photographers because they view it as an extra, unnecessary cost on top of an already expensive photography session fee. Others may see tipping as inappropriate since the photographer owns the business and sets their own prices. 

There is also no standard tipping etiquette or expectations around family photography like there is for wedding photography. The decision comes down to personal preference and budget.

Is tipping ever inappropriate or unnecessary?

Tipping would be inappropriate if the photographer provided subpar service that did not meet expectations. It is also unnecessary to tip if you have already paid what you consider a fair rate for the service provided. 

Supposed To Tip Photographers Some regions of the world have different cultural norms around tipping, so it is not always expected or standard practice. As long as you pay the agreed-upon photography fee, tipping is optional based on your satisfaction.

What other ways can you show appreciation besides tipping?

You can write a positive online review, recommend the photographer to friends and family, or give small gifts like gift cards, food, or flowers. These gestures show appreciation without any monetary cost. Repeat business and referrals also indirectly help photographers succeed.

Should amateur photographers get tips too?

Amateur photographers who do free sessions for family and friends would certainly appreciate tips, but should not expect them. If the photographer is still learning and building their portfolio, tipping is a nice bonus but not mandatory. For amateur photographers trying to turn their work into a side business, tips do provide helpful encouragement and validation.

Are Tips More Expected For Other Photography Services?

Are Tips More Expected For Other Photography Services?

Tips seem to be more expected and commonplace for wedding and event photographers compared to other types of photography services. Weddings are milestone events where emotions run high and clients want everything to go perfectly. 

Tipping the photographer is seen as a way to show appreciation for capturing precious memories. Events also require photographers to work long hours and manage many logistics, so tips can serve as extra compensation for their efforts.

Tipping practices ultimately depend on regional and cultural norms. In countries like the US and Canada tipping photographers is relatively common across photography services, while countries in Europe, Asia, and Australia generally do not have an established tipping culture. Photographers in non-tipping regions can introduce and encourage tipping to potentially increase revenue.

How does tipping differ for weddings and events?

Weddings and events require photographers to spend more time on location, manage groups of people, and deliver products very quickly after the event. Because of the extra work involved, tips for wedding and event photographers tend to be higher compared to portrait sessions and other services. 

Wedding photography packages can cost several thousand dollars, but tips of $100-500 or more are not uncommon from satisfied clients. Events may have lower budgets, but tips help supplement event photographers’ income in return for long hours and quick turnarounds editing images the client needs. Overall, tip amounts scale with the total photography package cost and effort required.

Should you tip a real estate photography differently?

Real estate photography requires a different skill set, with no special moments to capture candidly like a wedding. Photographers must capture properties accurately under tight deadlines so listings can go live quickly. 

Because real estate photography is focused on marketing properties, not on celebrating clients’ personal milestones, tipping practices are different. Real estate photographers usually charge per image or property, not large bundled packages. If tips are given, $20-50 is typical for appreciating efficient and high quality work rather than for emotional reasons. 

What about tipping a photographer for headshots?

Headshot photography sessions are relatively quick compared to weddings and events, but professional headshots are vital for people’s careers and public image. Photographers must balance efficiency with quality, personal direction with flattering posing. 

Tips for headshot photographers are given less frequently than wedding photography, but are still appreciated. If the photographer provides an exceptionally comfortable, confidence-boosting experience that results in excellent headshots, a modest tip of $20-50 shows gratitude for going above expectations.

How Can Tips Impact the Quality of Family Photos?

How Can Tips Impact the Quality of Family Photos?

Tips are unlikely to directly impact the quality of family photos. Professional photographers aim to deliver high-quality results regardless of tips because their reputation and repeat business depends on it. Tips can positively influence the photographer’s attitude, energy level, and willingness to go the extra mile. 

A happy, appreciated photographer who feels their efforts are valued is more likely to connect with clients and capture authentic emotion in photos. Ultimately though, a talented professional will strive for excellence with or without tips through their skills, experience and commitment to their craft.

While tips don’t change quality per se, they can motivate photographers to spend more time editing or to provide faster delivery of final edited photos. Tips act as positive feedback, showing clients’ satisfaction. This encourages photographers to continue providing prompt, attentive service that enhances the overall experience.

Can tips incentivize photographers to provide better service?

Tips may incentivize photographers to provide enhanced client service in small ways, but likely not to influence the core quality of their work. Talented professionals have intrinsic motivation to constantly improve their technical abilities and creative eye because their success relies on skill and reputation. They strive to capture the best possible photos regardless of tips. 

Tips can motivate them to respond more quickly to client questions, offer more flexible scheduling, spend more time on edits, provide online galleries faster, etc. Little above-and-beyond gestures that make clients feel well cared for.

So while tips don’t affect fundamental performance quality, they can incentivize photographers to go the extra mile on client service elements around the shoot like communication and delivery. Tips act as positive feedback that their efforts are appreciated, encouraging them to keep up their high service standards.

Do tips ever influence the end product or delivery time?

Tips are unlikely to directly influence the end product – a photographer’s skill and creativity define photo quality regardless of tips. Tips can subtly influence factors like editing time and online gallery delivery. 

Appreciated photographers feel positive about spending extra time perfecting edits or providing galleries faster. Additionally, while photo quality remains consistent, a photographer’s mood and energy on shoot day can influence the client experience and how enjoyable the process feels. 

Happy photographers who feel their work is valued are more likely to connect with clients, putting them at ease to allow natural moments to emerge. So while tips may not change photo quality, they can enhance the overall experience including subtle things like turnaround time in small, positive ways.

What’s the best way to provide feedback along with a tip

The best way to leave feedback with a tip is through a handwritten thank you card. Cards allow space for a personalized message expressing what you specifically appreciated about your experience. This shows the tip comes from genuine satisfaction rather than obligation. 

Writing specific compliments about the photographer’s customer service, flexibility, quality results etc. makes the feedback more meaningful. Mentioning you’ll recommend the photographer to others gives them a sense of pride. Cards convey thoughtfulness and let photographers know exactly what clients valued, providing encouragement along with the financial gift. 


How much do you tip for family photos?

$20-50 per assistant is a typical tip for family photo sessions requiring extra time and effort.

Should I tip my photographer for senior pictures?

While not expected, tips are appreciated for senior photos to show gratitude for an enjoyable, smooth session.

Do you tip a photographer if they own their own business?

It’s optional to tip photography business owners as they set rates to earn a profit, but tips recognize exceptional service.

Do you tip photographers for newborn pictures?

Tips for newborn photographers are optional and show appreciation for an enjoyable session, not an expectation.

What’s the best way to tip besides cash?

Good tips beyond cash include handwritten thank you notes, gifts like gift cards or food, and online reviews.


Family photo sessions require a lot of time and effort from photographers. Making large groups feel at ease, posing extended families, and working with young children takes skill and patience. Tips are commonly given in these situations to show appreciation for the photographer going above and beyond normal expectations. 

Though photo quality remains consistent regardless, small gestures around turnaround time, communication and the overall experience can be positively impacted by tips that serve as feedback. Tips for family photographers are not necessarily expected, but are typically welcomed. 

They demonstrate the client’s satisfaction with the full experience when the photographer put in extra work. While the photography fundamentals don’t change, tips incentivize exceptional customer service. 

Tips let families convey their gratitude for smooth, enjoyable sessions requiring more from the photographer than an average portrait client. They also encourage future above-and-beyond service. 

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