Blog / June 2024

Freelancer Journeys #1: Garick Bay

Garick on assignment in Paris,France

Garick Bay is a  full time freelance photographer and Assistant General Secretary with VICPA. He shares his journey making the plunge of faith into being a full time photographer, the highs and lows and some of the lessons learned along the way.

Garick got bitten by the  photography bug from a young age and enjoyed it as a hobby. After graduation, he had a full time job as an engineer. He continued to be employed for 4 years and continued to hone his craft as a photographer. As part of his learning journey,Garick actively networked with professional photographers, taking part in community photo shoots and discussions in photography forums. He also did various freelance photography jobs where he received positive feedback from his peers and clients. As the number of inquiries and opportunities grew, Garick made the carefully calculated career switch to photography in 2011.

Developing his talent

Starting out, Garick tried various methods to build up his skills as a photographer. He recalls going out regularly with just a standard lens to “look out for interesting things to shoot”. He shares a daily habit he practised: “I often challenge myself to make a non-interesting thing look interesting in the photo.”

“At the start, I didn’t learn in a vacuum,” Garick reminisces, “ I had a friend that guided me along. This friend not only taught me , he also gave me a lot of encouragement and confidence to take on photograph assignments from other friends,which in turn gave me the experience and portfolio to turn professional. I would encourage anyone looking to do freelance work to find their tribe. Having a community of experienced freelancers to consult on different matters really helps. I managed to avoid quite a few pitfalls thanks to helpful advice from my community.”

With fellow photographers shooting for ATxSummit, Singapore, May 2024

The journey of getting it right

When Garick made the plunge into freelance photography, he recounted that it was a struggle to get things right operationally even when it was only a few jobs a month. As more opportunities came in, he realised that he needed to be more disciplined in the administration and scheduling aspects of the work. He needed to set aside time for business processes such invoicing, checking of payments, and schedule confirmation. He regretfully recalls a time when he did not note a prior booking on his schedule and did not turn up for the shoot. Even though he managed to avoid any major repercussions, it was a sobering lesson that made him resolve to ensure his business operations were run well and such mistakes were not repeated. One small but important change he realised early on  was to set up a separate bank account for business related payments and expenses. “This helped me to track payments from clients easier and to do timely follow up where needed.” One of the most important practices Garick started to do was to incorporate contracts into the business process. “Contracts protect me and the clients and set out clearly details like payment and conflict resolution avenues”

Communication is not just about promotion

Making sure that his clients’ expectations and his delivery were matched was an important hurdle Garick had to learn to overcome. “Most of my initial clients were friends, so it was easy to talk and follow up on what I was expected to do, but when it came to new clients, I had to develop a clear communication style and tried to get the details of our discussions in writing as much as possible. Being professional also meant refraining from expressing negativity online about clients and prospects. When it came to promoting his services, Garick relied a lot on his network of relationships and word of mouth. “Digital platforms are a great way to showcase my work and build awareness, but I’ve found that word of mouth from friends and ex-clients  seals the deal. It also helped that I’ve been building up my network even before going full time.”

Having encountered the gamut of client types through the years, Garick has developed a sense when a job or client is not something he can comfortably take on. “Don’t be afraid to walk away from a potential job if there are too many red flags, don’t compromise on the aspects that protect you as a freelancer.”

Check out Garick’s work over at

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