A man lies tangled in a shower curtain, lifeless, with blood spattered everywhere; "kill your boyfriend" was the theme of this shoot, conducted by photographer Nikki Riley for one of her clients who'd recently parted ways with her latest beau. Nikki's willingness to transcend boundaries, paired with her creative flair, has sent her to New York City and Atlanta to shoot risqué and editorial-style fashion spreads and helped her earn a nomination for PHL17's Philly's Hot List of Best Photographers 2011. Raised as a "John Lennon kid" by a photographer mother, her inherited desire to snap shots came to fruition soon after graduating college, when she traded her 9–5 desk job for a career in photography. Nikon D700 in tow, Nikki spends her days at the 1,700-square-foot studio she co-owns, The Hive 215, which features high ceilings, loft windows, vintage furnishings, and a beauty bar where specialists prep clients' hair and makeup.
Though Nikki's fashion and portrait shoots favor bold colors and clean, magazine-quality finishes, her intimate boudoir shoots explore both high and low angles and toy with exposure—in every sense of the word. Taken from the most flattering angles for each body type, shots of lingerie-clad legs and torsos sway from high-contrast black and white to elegantly washed-out color frames lit softly from behind like an angel auditioning for the cover of Maxim. Nikki caters these shoots to the desires and comfort level of each client, letting imaginations run wild with coy pinup poses or showcasing epidermises for keepsake shots of clients in any state of undress.
In its 2,000-square-foot studio, DollFace's professional snapping duo, Darah and Siobhan, strives to unleash the buried bombshell in clients through expressive, elegant boudoir photography. Aspiring sirens begin their 30-minute mini sessions and subdue belly-dwelling butterflies by filling the studio with their favorite tunes and a few swift sips of bubbly. Hair and makeup application is available for an additional charge; once ready, kittens slip into the more conservative of their two outfits to help ease into the flashbulb's glow in front of the camera's honest lens. Once power suits have been stripped down, women are welcome to improve the appearance of a variety of set pieces with their presences, either taking direction from the photographer or vogueing to the beat of nature's drum—the heart.