Get to know us

Meet The Team

Neil Kiekhofer

Owner, Founder

Self-denoting Chief Empowerment Officer, Neil’s true mission is to support his team in growth as professionals and individuals.

As a photographer and videographer, he is endlessly enthusiastic about storytelling. Constantly challenging himself to find new, innovative ways to tell others’ stories, whether it’s through new technology or an interviewing technique.

Dubbed by some as the ‘Papa Bear of Milwaukee’, he is a very active member of the community, most notably as a philanthropist with United Way.

He is a proud United Way P5 Winner, an award that annually highlights Southeastern Wisconsin individuals who have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to volunteerism and philanthropy.

His twin kids keep him on his toes. Along with his wife, Cheryl, you can find them enjoying an art museum trip, a Marvel movie night, cheering on the Bucks, volunteering, or picking up a dozen paczkis on Fat Tuesday.

Kelly Aunkst

Operations manager, miracle worker

Kelly is truly the lifeblood of Front Room Studios. Her background in art and photography paired with her love of process and problem solving makes her uniquely qualified to manage and oversee all the studio’s operations.

An incredibly hard worker, she thrives in managing all the logistics and complexities of booking, planning, and scheduling thousands of sessions per year. Known by many as the office mother-hen, her kindness, and warmhearted nature is evident to anyone who meets her.

Outside of work, she’s a mother of two boys, an award-winning pie baker, and always up for trying wild, new things. Fun fact — she spent many years on the Brew City Bruisers roller derby team.

She’s a sucker for a good story, both telling one and hearing one. Ask her about how she met her husband for a good one!

Anne Rettig

client services manager

Anne is Front Room’s Client Relations Manager ready to assist you with a smile! With a background in hospitality, Anne excels at anticipating and fulfilling your needs with a warm and friendly approach.

Her genuine love for people and attentive listening skills make her a perfect match for our team. She takes joy in sharing smiles, spreading kindness, and excels in a creative environment. Anne thrives under pressure, effortlessly thinking on her feet and embracing any challenge that arises.

Outside of work, Anne has a life filled with adventures alongside her partner Glenn, their daughter, and four-legged companion. Whether making art with her daughter, tending to her garden, or exploring her culinary skills, she finds joy in making and creating. Anne also cherishes moments of relaxation with a book and tea. 

Katie Watters

Production specialist

Katie is the talented production artist and in-house headshot photographer at Front Room Studios. With a background in graphic design and a specialization in school portrait photography, Katie excels at helping clients look and feel their best. She goes the extra mile to ensure that everyone she works with feels truly seen and valued.

Outside of the studio, Katie embraces an active and creative lifestyle. Whether she’s out riding bikes, camping, creating art, or gardening, she finds joy in a wide range of activities. Her love for epic tales knows no bounds, whether found in books, audiobooks, podcasts, or even tabletop games like DND.

Originally from the small town of Tigerton, WI, and a recent graduate of NWTC in Green Bay, she is the newest addition to the Front Room team in Milwaukee. She eagerly embraces recommendations to explore our incredible city, enjoying trying new restaurants and exploring our beautiful parks.

Lidia Sharapova


An eternal optimist, Lidia explores, plays, and laughs with gusto. Her clients love her raw excitement for photography, passion for storytelling, and the international lens through which she views life.

Her story begins in Russia where her wanderlust led her all over Europe until love finally landed her in Wisconsin. Even with an impressive travel history, we adore her enthusiasm for the beauty and inspiration she finds everywhere she goes.

Lidia is naturally curious, always ready for an adventure, and will do whatever it takes to get the shot. As she says, “I like to travel, take photos, and laugh. These three things I do very well”.

Outside of work, she is passionate about street photography. She loves being able to witness and capture incredible unexpected moments that could never have been staged.

Claudio Martinez


Claudio is a talented photographer from Oaxaca, Mexico, with a background in graphic design. He started his journey with Front Room Studios as a second shooter, capturing beautiful moments at weddings. Today, Claudio leads the way in photographing corporate events, galas, private affairs, and so much more.


When Claudio is not photographing for Front Room, you’ll see him working in many mediums for social justice initiatives including the ACLU and NEA. Claudio’s easygoing nature and lighthearted attitude make him a perfect fit for the unpredictable nature of the creative fields. His warm smile lights up a room, creating a welcoming atmosphere for his clients.