Nikki Riley originally got into photography to take photos of her little ones but after hearing about a class at a local art school on boudoir photography she decided to try it out.
The whole purpose of boudoir art and photography is that women should love their bodies, and that feeling sexy shouldn’t just be about pleasing somebody else — it should be about pleasing yourself, and realizing just how valuable you are.
Ten years later, Riley has helped hundreds of clients from all different walks of life release their inner “baddie.”
“I don’t think there’s a generalization of who books boudoir shoots. I get women coming in that are getting married and they’re doing this as a groom’s gift. Some clients are people that have lost weight, maybe they’ve lost a hundred pounds and they want to come and celebrate their bodies. I also get people who are just feeling down about life. Social media makes us feel like sometimes they’re not as amazing as we want to be,” Riley says.
For many of her clients, Riley says these photos serve as a source of empowerment.
“Women come in and take these pictures and then they remind themselves just how amazing they are. I have women who when they get dressed, and they come over, look at their pictures, they are in tears like they cry for like 30 minutes before we can even complete the viewing session because they’re like, I can’t believe I looked this beautiful,” she says.
Some of the Roxborough native’s favorite clients may surprise you.
“I get women in their 80s who come in. They’re 80 years old and they’re not sure how they feel about the way they look anymore. They come in to celebrate that they’re 80 and amazing and still can pretty much rock anything with life and grace,” Riley says.
The photographer has a nickname among her clients: “Booty Whisperer.” She is called that because she has a knack for helping them pose in just the right position to show off their “ass”ets. Riley embraces the nickname and says she wants more people to celebrate their bodies.
“People need to realize that everyone’s opinion is not their opinion, and it really doesn’t matter. It’s such a negative society,” she says.
During her past 10 years in the business, Riley says she’s learned a thing or two about her views on beauty.
“Remember when we were in high school and there were the pretty girls and then everyone else. My view of beauty was completely messed up because of what TV showed me back then or how other people reacted. The crazy thing is, I don’t think I’ve had an ugly client in 10 years because when you meet these women, and you talk to them, they tell you their stories. You learn to love the person they are in that short amount of time. The next thing you know, you can look at a female and just be like this person is amazing, that makes her beautiful and that will show through the camera,” Riley admits.
She wants to spread her message of self love to as many people as possible and soon hopes to expand her business to a storefront, a lingerie line and empowerment workshops. For more information, visit nikkirileyphotos.com.