Do you tip an elopement photographer? & More Money Questions You Want to Ask

Elopements

Do you tip elopement photographers? |

& More Money Questions You Want to Ask

Tipping Etiquette for Eloping Couples

So you’re getting closer to that wedding day you’ve dreamed of… one that’s a little different than that traditional wedding you’ve always seen.  You’ve got your plan ready and most importantly have your elopement photographer(s) in place with a great day of timeline, your permits, your attire, you name it!  But you have a lingering question, “Do you tip an elopement photographer?”

As Montana elopement photographers, we don’t get asked this question a lot as it might seem a little rude to directly ask a photographer if they require or want tipping, but we’ve seen this question come up time and time again in varying elopement planning support groups and social media.  

 

What we’ll cover here

Below you’ll find helpful perspectives on not only tipping, but tipping alternatives, common payment standards, and fun gift ideas to surprise your elopement photographer with!  So keep scrolling to see it all!

 

Our opinion on tipping elopement photographers

Is it required?  Absolutely not!  You can trust that your package value has been taken care of in full by your payments beforehand, but if you feel the value and service has gone above and beyond that then a tip is always a nice bonus!

Here’s the truth:

Your elopement photographers will be head over heels about serving you either way.

 

An alternative to tipping your elopement photographers

Here’s a little secret and what we actually love more than tips: small and personalized gifts!  If you want to surprise your elopement photographer with a tip that’s great too!  But an amazing alternative is offering a gift!

 

What about payments vs package value?

You’re likely investing a large amount toward your elopement photographer so they can showcase your memories for you in decades to come!  So what does payment look like for that if tipping is not required?

For us, we break our couples’ total balance into either a 4 installment or 6 installment plan with the final payment being due one month before their elopement date.  This gives some flexibility on payment amount throughout the process if needed but ensures all payments are made before the date so everyone can take on the day with joy and have no lingering money thoughts hanging around!  However, every photographer’s payment processes will vary so keep that in mind!

We actually polled some other photographers on the way to get their opinions on tipping, package value, payment processes, and gift ideas as well!  Read below to check out more opinions on the matter of tipping your elopement photographer so you’re not just taking our word for it. 😉

A quick word

About our photography service:

“Des was so so so helpful! She provided us with so much information and made the experience & planning so effortless for us. Des is so much more than a photographer and planner, she is a friend. She makes you feel so comfortable and like you have known her for years.” -J+J

Elopement photography professionals and their perspectives on tipping, payment plans, and gifts:

 

Jessika Christine Photo

Photography niche: Weddings/Elopements

Value of most popularly booked package: $3,500

When do you require your clients to have their balance paid in full relative to the session date?  The day of their wedding unless I have to travel, then a month before the date.

Do you expect clients to tip in addition to paying their final balance?  I never expect it. I do think if it’s a big wedding and they have a planner it’s more normal to receive a tip. 

What percentage of your clients tip each year? 25%

Do you expect clients to give you a gift?  No

What percentage of your clients give you a gift? 5%

If given a tip, what is an adequate tip? For an elopement around $100-$150. For a big wedding $200-$300.

If given a gift, what is a great gift idea? No camera themed stuff please! Haha. I love a good candle, FOOD, gifts for my dogs!

 

Marissa Solini Photography 

Photography niche: Elopements and nature-centered weddings
Value of most popularly booked package: $5k

When do you require your clients to have their balance paid in full relative to the session date?  Paid in full 1 month before their wedding date

Do you expect clients to tip in addition to paying their final balance? I never expect a tip, though it’s appreciated when people want to! I do have the option available to leave a gratuity when clients are paying their final balance. Besides that I don’t mention it at all anywhere else in our time working together.

What percentage of your clients tip each year? About 90% of my clients tipped in 2021.  In more recent years, I’d say it was about 25% in 2022 and 20% in 2023. 

Do you expect clients to give you a gift? I never expect a gift, though it’s appreciated when people surprise me with a gift! Especially when it’s thoughtfully done, and/or is something local to where they live.

What percentage of your clients give you a gift? About 20-25%

If given a tip, what is an adequate tip? Probably somewhere between $150-500

If given a gift, what is a great gift idea? Gifts I’ve absolutely loved – a cozy blanket, personalized art created by the couple, local food goodies from where the couple lives. 

 

Texas Elopement Photographer (Nikole Valasco Photo)

Photography niche: Texas Elopements
Value of most popularly booked package: $6000

When do you require your clients to have their balance paid in full relative to the session date? 4 weeks before their elopement

Do you expect clients to tip in addition to paying their final balance? No

What percentage of your clients tip each year? 25%

Do you expect clients to give you a gift? No

What percentage of your clients give you a gift? 0%

If given a tip, what is an adequate tip? Any tip is appreciated.

If given a gift, what is a great gift idea? I like coffee, stickers, mugs, plants, bandanas. Anything from the park gift shop where the elopement is taking place!

See also: All Day Adventure Elopement with Dogs at Inks Lake Texas

 

Pacific Northwest Elopement Photographer (Brianna Parks Photography)

Photography niche: Adventure Elopements
Value of most popularly booked package: $8,500

When do you require your clients to have their balance paid in full relative to the session date? I require my clients to pay the full balance two days after their elopement date.

Do you expect clients to tip in addition to paying their final balance? No, I never expect clients to tip me in addition to paying their final balance, but it always is a nice surprise.

What percentage of your clients tip each year? Around 75% of my couples tip me.

Do you expect clients to give you a gift? Absolutely not. Them booking with me is a gift enough.

What percentage of your clients give you a gift? Very little, maybe 5% of couples a year. 

If given a tip, what is an adequate tip? I think an adequate tip would be 3-5% of the total package price.

If given a gift, what is a great gift idea? Any gift that is personalized is always a winner in my book, whether it’s something pertaining to my job (i.e. a camera ornament, national park keychain, outdoor stickers, etc.) or something hobby/interest related, such as a new book (I love to read), a gift card to my favorite restaurant, or a mug. My personal favorite gift to receive as a photographer is a handwritten letter.

See also: Best Places to Elope in Washington State

 

Oregon Elopement Photographer (The Dropped Pin) 

Photography niche: Elopements in the Pacific Northwest

Value of most popularly booked package: $7,000

When do you require your clients to have their balance paid in full relative to the session date? Our couples final payment is due two days after their elopement. 

Do you expect clients to tip in addition to paying their final balance? Nope! 

What percentage of your clients tip each year? Around 5%

Do you expect clients to give you a gift? Nope!

What percentage of your clients give you a gift? 1%

If given a tip, what is an adequate tip? Around 5% has been pretty standard 

If given a gift, what is a great gift idea? We’ve had couples gift us things that we’ve chatted about during our calls, or sweet moments related to their day. For example, we had an Oregon Coast elopement and our couple gave us some sand cloud beach towels. 

See also: Getting Married Without a Wedding & Oregon Coast Elopement

 

Minnesota Elopement Photographer (Samantha Burke Photography)

Photography niche: Intentional Elopements
Value of most popularly booked package: $6200

When do you require your clients to have their balance paid in full relative to the session date? At least 30 days before their elopement date!

Do you expect clients to tip in addition to paying their final balance? Nope, tips are never expected from me, but greatly appreciated!

What percentage of your clients tip each year? About 50%

Do you expect clients to give you a gift? Nope, absolutely not! But it’s always a fun surprise when they do!

What percentage of your clients give you a gift? Maybe about 25%!!

If given a tip, what is an adequate tip? Literally anything is adequate to me!! I appreciate my tips so much, no matter what <3 

If given a gift, what is a great gift idea? Gift cards/certificates for massages and/or spas (literally anything self-care related)!

See also: How to Elope in Minnesota

 

Scenic Vows

Photography niche: Adventure Elopements

Value of most popularly booked package: $5200

When do you require your clients to have their balance paid in full relative to the session date?  3 days AFTER their elopement

Do you expect clients to tip in addition to paying their final balance?  We never expect a tip but we always appreciate it!

What percentage of your clients tip each year? 30%

Do you expect clients to give you a gift?  No

What percentage of your clients give you a gift? We’ve had one couple give us a gift

If given a tip, what is an adequate tip? Any amount is great! But it’s usually 10-20%

If given a gift, what is a great gift idea? We were given a coffee mug and a pocket knife!

 

Samantha Rose Photography 

Photography niche: Arizona Elopement Photography

Value of most popularly booked package: $4500 

When do you require your clients to have their balance paid in full relative to the session date? I require clients to have their balance paid in full 1 month before their elopement date (1 day before for engagement/couples sessions).

Do you expect clients to tip in addition to paying their final balance? I do not expect clients to tip in addition to paying their final balance.

What percentage of your clients tip each year? About 30-40% of my clients tip each year.

Do you expect clients to give you a gift? I do not expect clients to give me a gift at all!

What percentage of your clients give you a gift? About 10% of my clients give me a gift each year. 

If given a tip, what is an adequate tip? Truly any amount is always appreciated. When I do get tipped, it tends to be about 5% of the package total. 

If given a gift, what is a great gift idea? Gift cards are always nice & useful. I’ve also received candles or treats from my couple’s hometowns which always feel so special. 

 

Lyndsey Leach Photography

Photography niche: Weddings and Elopements

Value of most popularly booked package: $6800

When do you require your clients to have their balance paid in full relative to the session date?  For weddings and elopements, 30 days before their big day. For all other sessions, the date of the session. 

Do you expect clients to tip in addition to paying their final balance?  Not for regular sessions. While I don’t expect it for weddings, almost all of my couples have tipped me. 

What percentage of your clients tip each year? 95% of wedding/elopement couples. 

Do you expect clients to give you a gift?  No, but it’s definitely a nice gesture. 

What percentage of your clients give you a gift? 25% 

If given a tip, what is an adequate tip? I have been given anywhere between $100 – $400.00. Anything is really generous! 

If given a gift, what is a great gift idea? Some of my favorites are really nice bottles of tequila, a gift card to my favorite restaurant, and a gift card for a massage. 

 

Narrowleaf Photography

Photography niche: Adventure Weddings and Elopements

Value of most popularly booked package: My 4 hour Simply Elope package: $3,500

When do you require your clients to have their balance paid in full relative to the session date? 30 days before wedding date

Do you expect clients to tip in addition to paying their final balance? Nope

What percentage of your clients tip each year? 27%

Do you expect clients to give you a gift? Nope

What percentage of your clients give you a gift?  16%

If given a tip, what is an adequate tip? Anything really, but I do tend to see usually $200-$700

If given a gift, what is a great gift idea? I loved getting customized Yeti’s with our team names on it and a hand-drawn graphic made by the bride of their elopement ceremony location—BEST GIFT EVER!!! Also loved getting my Pendelton throw, coffee always, and an REI Gift Card!!

 

Wild Heart Weddings

Photography niche: Eco-conscious Elopements and Intimate Weddings

Value of most popularly booked package: $7400 for up to 12 hours of coverage

When do you require your clients to have their balance paid in full relative to the session date? 30 days

Do you expect clients to tip in addition to paying their final balance?Tips are optional but always welcome!

What percentage of your clients tip each year? 70%

Do you expect clients to give you a gift? Not really, but if they do it’s very much appreciated

What percentage of your clients give you a gift? 5-10%

If given a tip, what is an adequate tip? Honestly any amount is appreciated. However, most of my couples who tip me, tip 5-10% of my package price.

If given a gift, what is a great gift idea? I really appreciate every gift, however, definite brownie points if it is a vegan dessert; eco-friendly, artsy fashion, photography or home decor item; or something handmade

See also: 10 Tips to Plan an Eco-Friendly Wedding

Every elopement photographer is different

So don’t be afraid to ask them the tough questions.

Conclusion:

 

-Most elopement photographers require the final balance due one month prior to the elopement date.

-Of the photographers we polled, none require or expect a tip.

-All appreciate tips with the average amount to be 10% of package total.

-The best gifts for your elopement photographers include meaningful and relational gifts such as a gift from your hometown or a gift related to their interests that you would know.

Let’s hear it again!

Here’s what eloping folks are saying about hiring us:

From the first conversation I had with Des I was at ease! When we began planning our intimate wedding, we were both lost on next steps and knew more about what we didn’t want than what we did. Des guided us through the whole planning process, and shared her expertise on picking the perfect location, creating a detailed timeline, and directing us to reliable and proven vendors. She made sure to understand what was important to us and help us incorporate our priorities into every part of the day. Most importantly, Des and Dan took incredible photos that captured every detail while hyping us up and making us feel comfortable the whole time. With Des you get a photographer, wedding planner, and someone who is willing to go to extreme lengths to make your vision a reality.

-Erin & Jake

Hey, it’s us!

We’re Des & Dan! Husband & wife elopement photographers, planners, and officiants! We help couples like you create elopement days full of meaningful details, authentic moments, and creative experiences because we believe you deserve a wedding day where you are truly heard—a wedding day you can truly remember.

We’d love to help in any way you can, so check out our other free planning resources or send us an email by hitting contact! We’d love to hop on the phone and see what you’re envisioning for your elopement day.

You deserve this.

Des & Dan

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