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DPChallenge Forums >> Photography Discussion >> tipping the photographer?
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03/14/2015 01:08:33 PM · #1
One of the things I hate about living in this country (USA) is that tipping for services has become common place that if you are provided a service, a tip is expected. Tipping used to be for exceptional service, except for wait staff whose hourly rate is lower to account for tips. Now it's just about required to tip everyone. I hate seeing that tip jar at a counter service.

My wife an I are renewing our vows this summer on a cruise, daily gratuities were included in the total cost and we were explicitly told that we should not tip for service unless we feel that a service is exceptional. fair enough. So we booked our vow renewal ceremony yesterday and in reading the contract, on top of the cost it states that tipping is expected. what? We are expected to tip what is akin to tipping the priest for conducting the ceremony and we are also expected to tip the photographer who will be present.

So we got to talking about our wedding years ago and while I remember tipping the wait staff at the reception hall, I don't remember tipping anyone else or feeling obligated too. I am going to be shooting quite a few events in the coming months and at no time did I expect to receive a tip over what I am charging for my services. Should I be expecting a tip? It is commonplace to tip a photographer to cover a party or wedding? these people are paying a good bit of money to be there to shoot for them, I hope they don't feel obligated to tip me on top of what I am charging, I hope they feel the service is exceptional, that means I did my job and I don't want them to have to feel like they have to pay more money for doing a good job.
03/14/2015 02:44:16 PM · #2
I'm with you on this.

But regarding the cruise, they cannot both charge you for tipping and then "expect" you to tip. That's double dipping and it's unethical.
03/14/2015 02:54:57 PM · #3
Agreed. Really don't understand the expectation for a tip when one has already paid (in some cases, exorbitantly) for services provided.

03/14/2015 04:32:20 PM · #4
Well, from the cruise line's point of view your ceremony is outside the scope of what they've included in calculating your fare, so they're going to charge you extra for it on top of the fare, right? Now, arguably, they should be "figuring the tip" in as part of the increase, but it's all semantics. Do bear in mind that the officiant and the photographer are undoubtedly employees of the cruise line and not getting anything extra for what they're doing in this ceremony, or at any rate very little, and it may make more sense.

In general, the whole business of "tipping" is out of control, I agree with that.
03/15/2015 12:47:25 AM · #5
Tipping is confusing and I really hate it. I was a hair dresser for years and I really didn't understand the whole tipping thing I charged for a hair cut or a color what I wanted to be paid, I never expected anything more than that. I guess if someone was really pleased with what I did they have the option of tipping but then what happens the next time when I just give them a trim. Now they feel awkward because while the haircut probably was fine it was just a trim of the cut they received last time and nothing special, but they don't want to offend me by not tipping so now we are all in a very weird situation where no one really knows what to do.

I really really hate tip jars on the counters. I never ever contribute to them. I suppose maybe if I was into those fancy coffees and someone did an exceptional work of art on one I might be tempted. But otherwise I don't get why you get a tip for taking my order.

I am a good tipper at restaurants but with that tip comes an expectation of a certain degree of service. If I think my service was horrible and I don't leave a tip that is considered rude but how am I to convey the fact that I wasn't pleased with the service if I just leave a regular tip. I often wish that with the check there was a rating card and you could rate your waiter with an corresponding tip. 10% =horrible service but I am tipping you anyway because that is the kind of person I am. 15%= adequate service they got the job done but you had to wait too long for drink refills or to ask a question. 20% is when everything was done really well. Higher than 20% is exceptional above and beyond the normal.

I also don't understand tipping the guys who park your car. I understand giving a tip if you have a really nice car and want them to pay extra attention to parking it in a good spot. But if you just have a normal car and don't really even care about that why do you need to tip someone who is already getting paid to park your car. The list goes on and on for things like that.
03/15/2015 01:48:21 AM · #6
Yah......tip jar. Just the fact that people have the gall to expect it, and don't seem to try to make an outstanding impression chafes my cheeks. I have been in the service industry my entire life and have never expected a tip. I always did the best possible job because it was a reflection of my personal character and integrity. I also figured that if I treat my customers well, they'll return. I have probably over the years refused tips that I could have easily accepted simply because they are not necessary. I explained that the person was charged a fair price for something done that was the norm. I asked that instead that if they were so pleased that they merely return for services, and/or tell their friends. I pretty much feel that a til for anything outside the food service industry is only reserved for the most outstanding and exemplary service that transformed a normal transaction into a truly memorable experience. That this cruise openly states that tipping the preacher and photog is expected is abhorrent to me. IF, and only if the experience is above and beyond exemplary, yah MAYBE........but don't TELL me I have to tip someone when you've already established a fee up front.
03/15/2015 01:48:49 AM · #7
Oh, the rules of tipping.

Hotel staff (Front Desk - usually not, unless they go out of their way in a big way, Concierge - sometimes, especially for 'favors' called in, like hard to get tickets or seats at a restaurant, bell-hop, almost always unless surly or extremely slow, doorman, yes if they make a positive impact on my day and work hard to increase experience, housekeeping - ALWAYS, 1-5% of room rate..)

Restaurants (Waiter 10-20% depends on service, sushi chef or other specialty chef 2-10%, sommeiller yes, if exceptional, off-menu bottles, special recommendations of unusual bottlings, old and rare reserves, etc - up to 10% of cost of wine)

Car Service (Taxi cab - 5-10%, Limo 5-20%, private car 0-10%)

Dealer (Always when you take a black-jack, and randomly when dealer pays out - cocktail waitresses should always get a tip as well - chips will do fine)

Stylist (ALWAYS, are you crazy? 10-20% at least)

And it goes on. Despite knowing the rules very well, I'd rather we didn't have all this expectation around it - I'd really rather it was given ONLY as a gratuity, rather than simply increasing the amount when real gratuity is deserved.
03/15/2015 03:14:25 AM · #8
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

Well, from the cruise line's point of view your ceremony is outside the scope of what they've included in calculating your fare, so they're going to charge you extra for it on top of the fare, right? Now, arguably, they should be "figuring the tip" in as part of the increase, but it's all semantics. Do bear in mind that the officiant and the photographer are undoubtedly employees of the cruise line and not getting anything extra for what they're doing in this ceremony, or at any rate very little, and it may make more sense.

In general, the whole business of "tipping" is out of control, I agree with that.


But then, many of the wages of those that "expect" tips are also hugely decreased compared to any normal standard of minimum wage, as well. You see talks about not raising the minimum wage, but then those who receive tips are under a different classification, and can (under federal standard) receive as little as $2.13 per hour. So tell me, can anybody realistically argue that $2.13 is liveable? Check your state's tipped wage status The whole pushing of tipping is a reaction from the open market workers, as well. If I were a waiter, and your table (taking up a booth, that could house, say 5 people) consisted of 2 people, why would I care about serving you, from a market standpoint? I'm making $2.13 an hour, so the overwhelming majority of my wages come from tips. If you're in and out fast, yeah, you could MAYBE be "worth my time," but if you camp out and stay for an hour? I'm literally losing money by caring about you. $2.13 an hour for pretending to care about somebody who measures my worth by their pointless refills of soda when it isn't even empty? There's your recipe for nihilism.
03/15/2015 03:59:36 AM · #9
When I was in Canada I couldn't get my head around the tipping. Over here you can leave something if you wish but it's not expected at all as a given, over there you have to calculate a percentage on top of the bill, I mean why not just add it on anyway and pay the staff more, I found it weird and annoying.
03/15/2015 12:21:14 PM · #10
I hate feeling obligated to tip. The service in this country has gone downhill significantly! And now tipping is supposed to be up to 20%?? It wasn't that high when I was a kid.

Prices at restaurants have gone up astronomically, and the tax in my county (because we're a tourist spot) is 10% for restaurants. Why should I pay another 1/5 of my meal for someone who's doing their job? The fact that restaurants can pay their waitstaff so little is ridiculous. I shouldn't have to feel obligated to pay their employees when the service sucks.

The system is truly screwed up.
03/15/2015 12:38:15 PM · #11
I used to wait tables and bartend, and I lived on tips. In Texas, the wage for restaurant/bar workers is $2.13 an hour, and that barely covers the taxes you pay on your declared tips. I've always been fine with tipping, and tipping well, because I lived in that world for quite a while.

That being said, I don't get the tip jars at Starbucks, etc, because I'm waiting on them, not the other way around.
03/15/2015 03:49:52 PM · #12
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

Well, from the cruise line's point of view your ceremony is outside the scope of what they've included in calculating your fare, so they're going to charge you extra for it on top of the fare, right? Now, arguably, they should be "figuring the tip" in as part of the increase, but it's all semantics. Do bear in mind that the officiant and the photographer are undoubtedly employees of the cruise line and not getting anything extra for what they're doing in this ceremony, or at any rate very little, and it may make more sense.


If this ceremony was going to be done as part of a standard service offering of the cruise, then yes, tips would be in order but the fact that they are charging me quite a bit of money and then informing me that I should tip the employees in addition is a bit cavalier, to the tune of $20 - $100 per person is what they say is expected. If I'm not happy, I already paid, and if I am happy I have to pay more? seems a bit backwards. I'm almost hoping the job is marginal, lol.

In any case that's not why I posted this, I was curious if anyone has shot a wedding or event and then was given a tip or if anyone has tipped their photographer for covering an event. I have never heard or expected that to be the case and I curious if it is the norm.
03/16/2015 03:25:18 AM · #13
Originally posted by Mike:



In any case that's not why I posted this, I was curious if anyone has shot a wedding or event and then was given a tip or if anyone has tipped their photographer for covering an event. I have never heard or expected that to be the case and I curious if it is the norm.


You're on a cruise. Everybody is paid negligible amounts. The "photographer" is a person with a camera snapping away. The cruise line takes the "inflated cost" and you probably get the available "photographer" that isn't tied up shooting/selling photos for whatever other random activity. I'm sure they make next to none, like most cruise ship employees. Talking about tips etc outside of a cruise ship scenario is not a valid comparison. You are likely dealing with an underpaid employee who probably was given a camera set in P(rofessional) Mode.
03/16/2015 09:32:42 AM · #14
Oh. I thought this thread was similar to tipping cows... my bad...
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