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Ria Mishaal's

background & experience

From career scientist with first class honours degree and a PHD from The University of Cambridge to full-time photographer and Fellow of The Royal Photographic society, Ria is passionate about crafting authentic and artistic imagery.

 

She’s taught herself how to master her camera and editing, and has built a reputation by producing consistently beautiful imagery in a distinctive style

Now a professional photographer for 12 years, I built a six-figure wedding and portrait photography business and I have been recognised as a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society.

 

My photographs are published widely, in print and online from BRIDES magazine to Love My Dress blog, to the stunning coffee table book ‘Flowers art and bouquets’ published by Assouline.

 

The first thing I wanted to ‘be’ when I grew up was a national geographic photographer. As my fascination for the natural world and love of learning how things worked developed, I pursued what I considered at the time to be the safer career choice in science.

I studied at Cambridge University for my undergraduate and PhD and became a research scientist, teaching science at university level through lectures and tutoring. But in my spare time, I was determined to learn how to control my camera and ‘see’ the best light. I was determined to find out how to create emotional and atmospheric images that captured the imagination and were memorable.

“Ria Mishaal is passionate about crafting authentic and artistic imagery. She’s a photographer, who taught herself how to master her camera and editing to produce constant beautiful imagery in a distinctive style.”

It’s funny how things can go full circle. I loved science but longed for more creativity and autonomy. I worried my photography would never be good or original enough for anyone to want to pay for, and it took the support of some great coaches and dedication to improving my technical ability, creativity and mindset to transform my view.

 

Through it all, my love of learning and passion for the power of education has been rock steady. I have taught photography to small groups of professionals, both for the Royal Photographic Society and other photography collectives. My in-person workshops and coaching have brought my students from confused to confident with their cameras, helping them to harness their creativity and develop their own signature style, get to grips with all things business and take the next step in their photographic journey.

'Ria’s generosity of knowledge, her inspiring technical skills and her all round creative brilliance allowed me to produce images I was really proud of!'

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"Ria is so incredibly generous with both her time and her extensive knowledge - No question is ever too big or too small."

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"Ria has been not only incredible as a teacher but a very kind and comprehensive one....She has genuine interest to help you learn."

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"Ria is a wonderful teacher, covering so many topics and tools in a way that is easy to follow and yet interesting and exciting."

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'Ria explained everything so well. There’s been so much work, effort and passion to create this course and it shows!'

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'Ria was so patient and clear with her technical explanations. She touched on so many different aspects of photography – my mind is buzzing!'

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timeline

1998

I decided to pursue science rather than art at University. I was awarded the highest grade in Oxfordshire for my A-level photography art project, which in retrospect indicated that art was not going to be left behind.

 

I achieved my Licentiate of the Royal Photographic Society, the first of 3 distinctions.

1999-2002

Studied for Natural Sciences degree at Cambridge University, England, achieving 1st class honours.

2002

I lived abroad in Calgary, Canada and Tucson, Arizona for a year doing research placements and spending lots of time in photography museums.

 

 

2003

I returned to Cambridge to do my Ph.D. in Neuroscience. During my Ph.D. years, I
was Photo Editor for the University Student newspaper ‘Varsity’. I taught a range of natural science topics to undergraduate students in small groups throughout my PhD.

2004

I shot my first wedding for friends, on film, and began to get word of mouth referrals. Shot a few weddings for small amounts over the next few years. Among other photographic displays, my photography was part of an exhibition celebrating forests in the Zoology Museum.

 

2005

I got my first dSLR and began the move from film to digital photography.

2007

I started my first Postdoctoral Fellowship at Leicester University, lectured undergraduates and supervised laboratory projects (I continued in the postdoctoral role until 2011). I started shooting weddings professionally in my spare time. I became content editor for a blog, The Photography Parlour, producing video interviews many of my heroes in the wedding industry.

2008

I achieved my Associate of the Royal Photographic Society, the second of 3 distinctions

2010

Studied with a business coach, Dane Sanders, to explore the idea of pursuing my photography business full time. I shot around 10 weddings a year.

 

2011

I went full time with photography and left science behind. I moved to Oxford after marrying my husband. Over the next few years, I formed close relationships with venues that have a similar ethos to me, most notably Babington House in Somerset and Barnsley House in Gloucestershire. I also taught posing and interaction techniques to photographers at in-person workshops.

2014

We moved to Southampton. I started teaching the ‘Business for Photographers’ Course for the Royal Photographic Society which I have been teaching every year, once or twice a year ever since. I was a photographer in residence at Jay Archer Floral Design’s Flower School, which continued for 4 years.

 

2015

I had my daughter Emaya. My life got richer. I did 20 weddings, which I believed was my limit in a year.

2016

I did high-level business coaching with Polly Alexandre and took my business to new
heights, increasing the number of weddings I did a year by 50% and raising my average sale by £1000.

 

2017

I built my beautiful home studio in our wild garden. BRIDES magazine online listed me as one of the Top 15 wedding photographers in the UK, saying: "On the top suppliers' list for some of the UK’s best venues, Ria is a firm
favourite with modern brides looking for truly timeless images with emotion behind them. Using natural light, she captures all of the moments you knew you wanted, as well as the ones you didn’t!"

2018

I started my fine art portrait studio and developed my Project Animalia for which I was awarded the prestigious distinction of Fellow of The Royal Photographic Society (the last and most accomplished of the three distinctions). I wrote and self-published a 150-page full-colour book ‘Photography for Florists’. I developed and taught in-person Photography for Florists workshops throughout the year at my studio and at Barnsley House in Gloucestershire.

2019

I launched my online group coaching program for creative entrepreneurs, and my signature 1-2-1 coaching program for developing professional photographers.

timeline

1998

I decided to pursue science rather than art at University. I was awarded the highest grade in Oxfordshire for my A-level photography art project, which in retrospect indicated that art was not going to be left behind.

 

I achieved my Licentiate of the Royal Photographic Society, the first of 3 distinctions.

1999-2002

Studied for Natural Sciences degree at Cambridge University, England, achieving 1st class honours.

 

 

2002

I lived abroad in Calgary, Canada and Tucson, Arizona for a year doing research placements and spending lots of time in photography museums.

 

 

2003

I returned to Cambridge to do my Ph.D. in Neuroscience. During my Ph.D. years, I
was Photo Editor for the University Student newspaper ‘Varsity’. I taught a range of natural science topics to undergraduate students in small groups throughout my PhD.

2004

I shot my first wedding for friends, on film, and began to get word of mouth referrals. Shot a few weddings for small amounts over the next few years. Among other photographic displays, my photography was part of an exhibition celebrating forests in the Zoology Museum.

2005

I got my first dSLR and began the move from film to digital photography.

 

 

2007

I started my first Postdoctoral Fellowship at Leicester University, lectured undergraduates and supervised laboratory projects (I continued in the postdoctoral role until 2011). I started shooting weddings professionally in my spare time. I became content editor for a blog, The Photography Parlour, producing video interviews many of my heroes in the wedding industry.

2008

I achieved my Associate of the Royal Photographic Society, the second of 3 distinctions

2010

Studied with a business coach, Dane Sanders, to explore the idea of pursuing my photography business full time. I shot around 10 weddings a year.

 

 

2011

I went full time with photography and left science behind. I moved to Oxford after marrying my husband. Over the next few years, I formed close relationships with venues that have a similar ethos to me, most notably Babington House in Somerset and Barnsley House in Gloucestershire. I also taught posing and interaction techniques to photographers at in-person workshops.

2014

We moved to Southampton. I started teaching the ‘Business for Photographers’ Course for
the Royal Photographic Society which I have been teaching every year, once or twice a year ever since. I was a photographer in residence at Jay Archer Floral Design’s Flower School, which continued for 4 years.

2015

I had my daughter Emaya. My life got richer. I did 20 weddings, which I believed was my limit in a year.

2016

I did high-level business coaching with Polly Alexandre and took my business to new
heights, increasing the number of weddings I did a year by 50% and raising my average sale by £1000.

2017

I built my beautiful home studio in our wild garden. BRIDES magazine online listed me as one of the Top 15 wedding photographers in the UK, saying: "On the top suppliers' list for some of the UK’s best venues, Ria is a firm
favourite with modern brides looking for truly timeless images with emotion behind them. Using natural light, she captures all of the moments you knew you wanted, as well as the ones you didn’t!"

2018

I started my fine art portrait studio and developed my Project Animalia for which I was awarded the prestigious distinction of Fellow of The Royal Photographic Society (the last and most accomplished of the three distinctions). I wrote and self-published a 150-page full-colour book ‘Photography for Florists’. I developed and taught in-person Photography for Florists workshops throughout the year at my studio and at Barnsley House in Gloucestershire.

2019

I launched my online group coaching programme for creative entrepreneurs, and my signature 1-2-1 coaching programme for developing professional photographers.

Are you ready to take action?

I loved science but longed for more creativity and autonomy.

 

I longed to build a business that would support my family and allow me to move with my husband's career while still retaining my creative independence.

 

I suffered from imposter syndrome and perfectionism, worrying I would never be good enough accomplished enough or original enough.

 

Do you ever feel like this?

I put in the hard work, making mistakes, getting guidance. I am here to share everything I have learnt - not only information on photography but real education. I will help you to learn what you need to know step-by-step, clearly, concisely and with actionable takeaways, so you won't feel alone or lost on your journey.

 

I designed a business to support the life I wanted. I learnt the skills I needed to grow into my creativity and create a truly original style.

 

Ready to take the next step? let's chat!

Book a discovery call with me, and let's talk for 30 mins to see how I can help you move to the next step on your photography journey

What support

do you need?

1:1 coaching for developing
professional photographers

You are ready to discover and master your signature style so you can stand out from the crowd. You know being successful in business is a lot more than taking great images, and you are ready to go to the next level.

 

Transform your creativity and business over the next 4-6 months, so you can shoot consistently in a style that thrills you and book more of your ideal clients.

 

Ailsa's testimonial {professional photographer}

Group coaching for creative
entrepreneurs

Learn how to take professional-looking images of your products and creations with your creative vision so you can attract the right clients and sell more…even if you don’t know which way of your camera is up right now.

 

Suitable for Florists, makers of all kinds, bakers, calligraphers, knitters, designers, architects, interior designers, jewellers, bloggers

Safia's testimonial {florist & mosaic artist}

Free Download

Struggling to take photos in low or bright light? SAVE yourself time & frustration and capture what your eyes see TODAY with my 14 page free guide

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