Do I Need to Feed My Wedding Photographer?

Published by Sam, Editor -
Do I Need to Feed My Wedding Photographer?

You’ve found your perfect wedding photographer and have ticked it off your list, at some point you reach catering and tot up the number of guests that shall be there, and then think ‘Do I Need to Feed My Wedding Photographer?‘. This is a very common question that seems to crop up a lot and the answer to it can vary.

Should I feed my photographer?

The answer is entirely up to you, you don’t have too, however a lot of couples do, be it a full sit down meal at their table, or making sure a meal is provided away from everyone else. Your photographer could be working the whole day, so while everyone maybe snacking, drinking and having lunch and dinner your photographer would be capturing this all. But when would they step aside and go and get some food?

If your photographer will only be there for the ceremony and reception then food probably isn’t needed, however if they are there for the whole day, from first thing in the morning right through until the night then that is a very long day and a long time to go without any substantial food.

“Our photographer ate the same meals we did, he also sat at our table while he ate. I’m not sure why I would have fed him something “lesser.” He sat with us and got some great pics in between bites and then got up and moved around getting more pics of the dinner in progress.”

You may have spoken to your wedding photographer a lot before the big day and built up a bond and connection with your photographer, although they are there as a professional to do a job you may wish to treat them as a guest, making them and your guests more relaxed around each other which may make more natural and fun photos.

Some couples like to have the photographer join them at their table for dinner allowing the photographer to grab a few shots and then moving around the other tables to get other photos.

On the other hand the photographer may wish to have a break away from it all for a moment where they can take a breather and have some food. They may also prefer this as they may not prefer to sit with guests as they may find this awkward as they don’t know anyone and would prefer some quiet time briefly.

The photographer will have been on the go working harder and longer than anyone else, from being there first thing in the morning capturing photos of the bride getting ready right through the whole day to the ceremony, reception, cutting the cake, right through to the first dance, making sure they are always capturing those moments that others would miss.

Depending on the location and shots they maybe carrying heavy equipment around grounds of a stately home or remote barn to get those beautiful bride and groom shots with a stunning backdrop. It can be a long and tiring day and however feeding your photographer is not only a nice thing to do, you could also say it will help you get back much more in return.

It is a good idea to discuss this with your photographer and give them the option, they may love to join everyone for dinner or just prefer to sit in their car with their pre-prepared sandwiches, so do find out what works best for them.

So did you offer your wedding photographer a meal?

If you are a wedding photographer what is you take and experience regarding this?

Check out these articles to help you find your perfect wedding photographer:


  1. Karen Bullard

    I would agree that going from 9am till 10pm is a long time to go without food and drink. Important thing is to talk to the couple before hand and ask what their plan is and work out a plan to suite everyone. Being prepared is part of being a photographer. If the couple say anything about paying for food then I would be flexible to fit in with their budget or actually being some food in for when they sit and eat.

  2. Lightscape Photography Cambridge

    Thankfully the weddings I photograph, the couples have always provided food for me without me having to ask. But I always bring my own food just incase. Snacks and water are also, to keep energy levels topped up. I’ve been at some weddings for 16 hours!

    Depends on the couple and their budget. As Karen said staying flexible is key.


  3. Mark Martin

    I never ask for or expect food. In fact I am often shocked when my colleagues in the industry get so worked up it they are not provided with a meal. I take my own sandwiches, I am a grown up and can look after myself. Recently a couple during a pre wedding meeting asked if I needed to have meals for me and my second shooter. I asked them if they had to pay for these meals and they said they did. It would have cost them £35 per meal. Now I have worked in many different jobs over the years and never did I go into work and say to my employers or clients, “You must supply me with food.”
    From a more practical standpoint. I don’t photograph when everyone is chewing their food and that is when I have my sandwiches. I am then free to walk around the venue, get some detail shots, review what I have done so far, keep an eye out for guests who wander around, for example, Granddad taking grandson out for a walk when the child was bored. When you are provided with a meal, even one in a separate room, I find that I feel tied down waiting. The staff at the venues are busy enough already and often, and rightly so we are fed last, having waited for an extra hour or more.
    I think it is wrong for photographers to expect food, and I know some have it in their terms and conditions. My opinion is not going to be that of everyone, I know that but at least I can reassure my couples that I am quite capable of looking after myself and that I will not incur them any undue extra expense.

  4. The Zoots

    We’re a band performing at lots of weddings up and down the UK.

    Having food is never a deal breaker and we do usually bring a packed lunch.

    It really can make all the difference to our performance if we do have access to refreshments, a changing room and teas/coffees. If the couple does provide food for us, thats brilliant and very lovely and always gratefully received. We never ask for anything fancy, sandwiches are fine, and we’re always very appreciative, especially if we have travelled a long way or have a long wait before our performance.

    The Zoots

  5. daby1907

    I usually don’t expect any food provided if I’m hired just for one part of the day (e.g. ceremony and couple’s session). But, if I’m hired for 12+ hours, especially if I’m traveling and staying over night, I expect to be fed 🙂 It doesn’t have to be anything fancy but at least one warm meal on the day of the wedding, some coffee and water. The best thing for a photographer, I guess is to talk about it with the couple before the wedding, or manage these issues with his/her contract.

  6. Paul McCarthy

    I’d never expect a meal and I always take my own food with me. If the couple did provide one I like to sit somewhere separate to eat. This gives me a chance to back up some images too;-)

  7. Barney Walters

    Always find this very interesting topic upongst other photographers – it amuses me more than anything. As does the word ‘list’ anyhow that’s another topic.

    My view point is that, like previously mentioned, when shooting for up to 16 hours, an average would be more like 12, I expect to be looked after. Good, drink, snacks, whatever. Of course I always have a few things in the car to ‘snack on’ and a bottle of water if in a remote place, but at a venue if the guests are eating – I’m eating. Often with a canapé in my mouth and the camera also to my eye. 🙂 what’s wrong with that ? I’m a human, I need to eat and need the energy to do my job.

    I don’t expect to have exactly what the guests eat, in fact, sometimes it’s better to order off a menu or have something more substantial than a traditional wedding breakfast, however a hot meal is defiantly required at the same time as the wedding breakfast. I don’t need to document people eating.

    Ideally I will talk to the catering team earlier in th day to mark sure with them their best case senario and mine. If I’m last, that’s bad, as normally it means rushing food down before speeches but normally I explain this and all is fine. At less formal weddings or like a hog roast or buffet, things are easier, and I just get in the que with the guests.

    That’s my thoughts anyhow. Each to their own, and what works for some, won’t work for others. That’s just my view and what works for me and I guess more than anything , what I have got used too.

    At the moment I always eat away from the guests even even asked to join, however I am reviewing that, and may sit always with In the future.

    It’s good to review things.

    My thoughts.

    Barney 🙂

  8. James

    I find the photographers who expect a meal bizarre. The couple are paying for you to be there for the day and from my point of view, they should not be paying extra for you to eat. I’m a grown up and I plan ahead and take lunch with me. The last thing I want to do is sit in the main wedding breakfast, I back up my images and have a break. I only shoot one or two weddings a week and I can survive on a packed lunch for a couple of days a week.

    I think it’s rude to expect to be fed.

  9. Keoma Zec

    I generally shoot days that are between 10 and 16 hours, so in my opinion it goes without saying that I should be fed during that time.

    Also I prefer to be seated with the guests, not only does this break the ice, it makes me part of the wedding instead of just an outsider. There can also always be surprises during wedding dinners which can last up to 3 hours, so if you’re sat at a table having a chat with guests you’ll always be ready IF something happens, whereas you would just be having your sandwich when something special happens and you missed the moment.

    One extra meal for a couple getting married isn’t that much to ask I think, and it makes me a very happy photographer instead of having to sit somewhere all by myself awkwardly in a corner far away from everyone.

    Being involved is one of the key elements of a good reportage and I think the people generally like to hear new stories of someone they have never met before too, and vice versa 🙂

  10. Rachel from September Pictures

    I’ve never actually expected anyone to provide food for us – on any other sort of photoshoot I’d expect catering, but couples planning wedding aren’t generally used to organising events where they feed their workers!

    Having said that, I’ve *never* shot a wedding where we weren’t fed. It’s just never happened. Most couples ask us in advance which of their menu options we’d prefer (or tell us of some other arrangement they’ve made, like a meal each in the restaurant over the road because there’s no room at the venue, etc). But, on all the occasions where it’s not been mentioned in advance and we’ve planned to feed ourselves, we’ve always been pleasantly surprised.

  11. nsilvaphoto

    As a wedding photographer i do expect to be fed, as i will be with the couple non stop for 8-10 hours on the day.

    For the majority of times i eat next door to the main room so that i close enough to them but away from the guests as such as i am not part of it so to speak, this i also a time for me to restock and reassess my equipment in terms of batteries, lenses, etc…

    This is also a great time to chat with the venue organizer or anyone working on the sideline. Knowing and becoming friends with the staff and venue managers is also important, not only for the present wedding but future ones as well.

  12. James

    A great article, having a hot meal makes such a difference when you have been on the go for a long period of time!

  13. John Armstrong-Millar

    It’s a good question. I shoot wedding sin France and that’s a mixture of French and International weddings.. There is a marked difference between the French ones and most of the others. In France food is considered very important and no French couple would ever consider not feeding their photographer. Photography is creative process and it always seems to work better with good food. Only in the Anglo-Saxon is it considered clever to go all day without a proper meal.

  14. Gary Stafford

    I think being fed as a photographer is very important and I do have it as part of my contract and here’s why.

    Last year I photographed a weddin at a stately home in the English countryside a truly beautiful location. Myself and second photographer ate a small hot meal in the bar the videographer and his assistant looked on as they realised they wouldn’t be fed and the venue had no where you could buy a meal from. Cue videographer having to leave the venue to a burger king 30 mins away brining back cold food and having to be away from the venue for an hour which is not conducive to a break. The bride couldn’t apologise enough over this over looked part of the day which could so easily have been resolved. After a meal and a break I feel refreshed for the speeches cake cutting first dance and any other shots that may present themselves…

  15. Harry Who

    I require meals for my 2nd shooter and my assistant. I let my clients know about this requirement at the consultation meeting and include it in my contract. I also follow up when I discuss the Wedding timeline a week before the Wedding.

  16. k

    There’s always the comment that your employer doesn’t feed you if you have another job but what people are forgetting is that this isn’t your average 9-5. “Day jobs” give you a lunch hour, allowing you to leave to grab food. A wedding day is far more limited.

  17. JT

    As somebody getting married this year…. I can’t work out why we need to pay for a persons food that we are giving over £1000, to do a Job for us, I cant get my head around paying for a meal for someone who we know has more money than we do haha… This is a Job, as an adult you know your meal times and can plan accordingly (sandwiches) it’s not like the job is being done for free out of hardship.. to be expected to be fed is very rude and Cheeky. I work 12 hour shifts and I manage to take my own food to work.

  18. Camera and Kit

    Really depends on many factors like whereabouts, shooting duration, and what you have arranged prior to the wedding. Sometimes it’s not possible to be provided with a small meal (I’m not suggesting a three-course meal) sometimes it is, my advice is to sort it out before the day. Open any professional photographers camera bag and you’ll find it stashed with food. No shame in bringing your own food nor expecting a meal to be provided, just depends on how you want to work but I do suggest having this sorted out prior to the day, a clause in the contract is a good idea but if the venue/couple don’t want to provide a meal then it’s not really a deal breaker or an annoyance if expectations about this are in writing and/or sorted prior to the day.

  19. Christopher James Hall

    I never expect to get fed and sometimes prefer not to eat while I’m working. I’m there to do a job and would rather spend my time looking around to see what is happening.

    In m view if I have been paid to work for a set amount of hours I haven’t been paid to sit down eating. Snacks though or something that I can eat ‘on the go’ is always welcome.

  20. S. F.

    I am a bride, but I want to reply to K who said this isn’t your average 9 to 5 job.

    I understand that you are working long hours, however it should never fall on your employer to provide meals for you. You should be able to provide for yourself. If you can’t even pack a breakfast, lunch, or even a dinner, than maybe this isn’t a job you should have. Nurses and doctors work long hours, sometimes even having to sleep in the hospital, but they don’t get fed. They have to bring or buy their own food.

    To Gary Stafford,

    I understand that you had an issue with your videographer and their assistant getting fed, but honestly that’s on you. You and they should have brought backup food in case something like this happened. If food was promised beforehand, you should have made sure the bride remembered everyone. I hope when you include a meal in your contract, that you are deducting however much the meal costs from your final total, as I do not feel a couple should be expected to pay out extra for you to do a job for them that they are already paying for.

    With all this said, my photographer is only with us for two and half hours. He was a last minute hire as our original photographer had to cancel due to losing his photographers (they died unexpectedly). Our new photographer was gracious enough to work with our budget as we were extremely tight since we had already paid our first photographer and wouldn’t receive the refund before our wedding. As a thank you I am providing one of the wedding meals (about $200 per person). I can’t provide anything smaller since our venue doesn’t have that option as it is not a restaurant and does not have a menu, just wedding dinner plates that we chose from. If a photographer had required me to provide them with a meal, I would be asking for that $200 to be taken off the final price since I am paying for their food.


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