LOS ANGELES - Wicked Pictures new contract girl, Mikayla, is seated in the make-up chair at the downtown studio shared by Eric John's Erotique Entertainment and Kaden Photography. She's getting ready to shoot a cover layout with John for "High Society" magazine. Although John usually shoots stills and video for his company, Erotique, today he'll be talent while his partner at the studio, magazine photographer Kaden, shoots the stills.
Eric will play the studio photographer, pretending to take stills while Mikayla romances his camera. As the session heats up, Mikayla pulls him into some unbridled hardcore action.
But before these two begin steaming up the lens, they muse over a scene they shot together prior to Mikayla signing with Wicked.
"It was a scene for a massage website," notes John. "She had to give me a massage in a tub full of bubbles."
"It was messy and wet," Mikayla adds. "It was also weird because we were shooting in this big house and we could only be in the upstairs bedroom. Later I found out why. I had left some stuff at the house, so when I went back to get it, I found out it was some girl's parents' house. The girl who rented it out to us was only renting out her bedroom."
"She presented it like it was her house," says John. "She had this whole story."
"I knew something was wrong," adds Mikayla. "Even the snacks and drinks were on her dresser. We couldn't leave that room."
"Regardless, I really liked the scene and I loved working with Mikayla," John says. "I really like her look and I was going to hire her for an Erotique video shoot, but Wicked signed her first. Still, I saw her star quality. I knew there is something special about her."
John and Kaden decided to share the studio at last January's AVN Adult Expo. The three-story, 6000 square-foot space has 16 pre-built sets, 25-foot high ceilings and two rooftop views of the downtown Los Angeles skyline. Kaden had been shooting there and improving the place for two years, and since the two joined forces, a whole new host of collaborative opportunities have opened up.
"I really respect Kaden as a photographer," notes John. "One of the things we have in common is that we care deeply about production values and making things look beautiful - like Wicked, too. Our approaches are very similar."
When Kaden isn't using John as talent, the two photographers will often schedule shoots at the same time and share the costs - usually by sharing talent and crew.
"One example is a shoot we did with Kayden Kross," says John. "On the same day, Kaden shot Kayden and Adam Wilcox for a magazine layout and I shot solo stills and a solo video of her for Erotique."
Kaden began his photography career about six years ago in the fashion industry, working for other fashion photographers and shooting his own editorial layouts. He also shot some special edition girls for Playboy. About three years ago, he decided to go to the Adult Expo.
"I wanted to talk to producers and see what possibilities were out there," says Kaden. He began shooting box covers for companies like Elegant Angel, Hustler and Daring Media. He shot a couple of covers for AVN (the April '08 and the upcoming August '08 issue) and now shoots layouts regularly for Cheri and High Society, in addition to others.
John, meanwhile, is going to be bringing his backlog of material to the VOD market. "I'll be packaging them as DVDs," says John, "like Erotique Fantasies," a solo girl video starring Lux Kassidy, Kaelyn Landers, Mia Presley and Angie Savage.
In addition to that title, John recently shot a scene that is going to raise a few eyebrows. "One scene that will be coming out soon stars Jana Jordan, Nikki Kane and Cassidey," adds John. "It's a big deal because they are three ex-Ninn contract girls and they were thrilled to be re-united. They delivered an amazing scene."
Mikayla's make-up is soon finished. She takes off her street clothes and begins rubbing lotion on her naked body. The smell of cocoa butter permeates the air.
"You're looking quite tan," John mentions.
"I've been going to the beach a lot," Mikayla replies with a smile.
Soon, Mikayla is dressed for her boudoir photography session in a pair of black stockings, black heels, blue bustier and blue panties. She, John and Kaden head to the studio's third floor "antique room" set where she takes a seat on an ornate chaise sofa. Chandeliers hang above her. Red drapes fan out behind her.
John will be joining her soon for a full set of hardcore layout photos, but first Kaden snaps off a round of pretty girls. Mikayla stands up, puts her hands on her hips and tilts her hips with sass. Kaden gives her one set of instructions before letting the shutter fly.
"Think cover shot."