Support for Fashion Creative's – An Interview with "Shooting Beauty" Founder Matt Dowling

shooting beautyTell us about your business(-es): What do you do? What did inspire you to start?

Nina Malone, a well-known fashion model, and I, an international fashion photographer, set up Shooting Beauty in 2011. Coming from a freelancing background ourselves, we recognised that there was a large creative talent pool struggling to establish themselves in the industry due to a lack of business knowledge and limited access to others.

In fashion and beauty, the success of a freelancer hinges largely on the strength of a portfolio and how to promote ones business. Many freelancers struggle to get to grips with being their own boss and large numbers suffer from the pressure and stress that comes along with freelancing. We regularly received hundreds of messages from frightened and overwhelmed individuals who needed help. Nina was especially overwhelmed with people contacting her for advice after her time on Britain’s Next Top Model. It was the overwhelming number of individual stories that prompted us to start Shooting Beauty.

Our main services are Photoshoot Workshops where makeup artists, photographers, hair stylists, nail artists, fashion designers and fashions stylists can attend to work with our pro team to produce exceptional portfolio images. Our team has shot with Vogue, i-D, dazed and confused to name a few. Along with our pro models and stunning locations, attendees can gain experience in working with a large team and produce work well above their means. And Freelance Membership where we provide access to jobs, regular business talks and demonstration sessions, on-going support, assisting opportunities, networking events, discounts on products and everything else a freelancer needs to develop a business.

shooting beauty2What is innovative / unique about what you do?

Shooting Beauty is the only one of its kind. We go the extra mile for our members and retain a personal connection with everyone who joins. There are numerous hands on events, personal consultations and experiences that allow us to stay close to members and guide them as best as possible. We started the business with a mission to educate and develop as many new freelancers as possible and provide them with the best possible chance to succeed.

When you’re starting out, it’s really hard to get your foot in the door or get professional advice. Jobs are competitive, internships are demanding and a lot of the time, it’s about who you know. At Shooting Beauty, freelancers can network with the very best the fashion industry has to offer – it’s accessible and we work with every level of talent.

What were the most successful or unique projects?

In our first year we developed over 450 new freelancers resulting in thousands of new jobs. Shooting Beauty members found work with Vivienne Westwood, London Fashion Week, Sony, OK magazine, Fashion TV, Vogue Italia and so many more.

We launched Shooting Beauty Abroad ( where we will be taking a fashion team to Marbella, Spain in September to run a fashion camp. Attendees will shoot editorial fashion for a 5 while living in a luxury villa.

However, our most memorable experience is our 20 for 1 campaign, an initiative to help those without the financial means to help themselves. We work closely each beneficiary to ensure they develop their business and achieve their goals. This year we plan to help 20 beneficiaries set up their business.

Why do you choose Shoreditch to run your business?

Shoreditch is really at the heart of arts, culture and fashion. It’s full of creative inspiration right through to the exhibitions and eclectic street style to the bars and nightlife. It has really provided us with endless scope for creativity – you can be inspired as soon as you step outside. Best of all, there’s endless quirky meeting places and things to do after work, perfect for a creative mind! We met a few of our current staff while on nights out on the high street.

G: Who/what are your favorite CEOs/Businesses in Shoreditch?

We love and use KopyKat printers. They’re cool guys who know their stuff and as they’re just across the road, we have a proper relationship. The Hair Project is also great. Paul Ames runs it and they do really great things with aspiring hair dressers / stylists.

G: What are your favorite places in Shoreditch?

We like to catch live music in Bedroom bar, cocktails in Callooh Callay and dine clients in Boundry. Our office is based on Rivington Street to just walking to the tube after walk is a joy!

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G: What does the future has in store for your business?

We are really proud of what we have achieved so far. In under 2 years, over 700 of our members have gone on to secure thousands of coveted jobs with big names such as Vivienne Westwood, London & Paris Fashion Week, Sony and the numbers are increasing.

We have secured a number of talented guest speakers who will be running some of our business talks and we have organised some really exciting shoot locations for future workshops. Shooting Beauty Abroad will expand to more countries, 20 for 1 will grow and we will be providing freelancers with more services to help them achieve their dream.