Friday, December 12, 2014

Soles of Silk 10 Year Anniversary - My 10 Favorite Sets: 2013

At the end of 2013 I decided to make a blog entry titled, My 10 Favorite Photo Shoots of 2013. It was the first time I ever took a look back to pick my favorite sets from a calendar year. I planned on doing it again here for 2014, but then I began to think about doing it for years past to further go along with this year being the site's 10th year online. I thought it might make for a fun little stroll down memory lane with some of the site's best sets with models who may or may not be posing anymore.

I'm sticking with the criteria I used for the 2013 favorites as a guide for this series. Only sets that were published during that year will be featured, regardless of when they were shot. I'm also leaving out Wu's Feet Links Feature Model galleries. Only the sets published to Soles of Silk will be eligible. With that said, let's take a look at my favorite shoots of 2013:

* The list below is a repost of the 2013 blog entry so that it would go along with the 10 year anniversary listings for all the previous years. That being said, I changed up all of the sample photos to each set to give it a little bit of freshness here in the repost.

10. Roller Coasters

Model(s): Ryan
Published Date: October 9, 2013

Although this set of Ryan might not showcase her feet as well as some of her others, this one holds a special place due to the theme. Both Ryan and I are huge fans of roller coasters and I've always wanted to do a set with her in front of some. Well, I finally got my wish when we hit up some coasters on one of the hottest days of 2013. We shot our pictures first and luckily for us, everyone else either stayed home or were beating the heat on the water rides.

This set was also one I liked because of the heavy use of color. Ryan wore some bright colors and some of the rides she posed in front of were just as colorful. It's just an artistic thing, but hey, this is my list!

9. Flowers & Boots

Model(s): Ashlyn
Published Date: August 28, 2013

Ah, Ashlyn's first set for Soles of Silk. This one won't be forgotten as shooting it was such a memorable and fun experience. Ashlyn was very timid being it was her first time shooting. She wanted to make sure I was happy with each and every pose. I assured her I was on each and every photo. And then her boots came off...

Ashlyn told me in the car on the way to our shoot that she brought a pair of boots that she always wears - and wears without socks. Well, she wore these boots in this first set. When she took them off, I could smell them a few feet away - no pun intended. The smell brought about some corn chip jokes from me and it is an inside joke between us now.

Aside from the back story on this shoot, Ashlyn was someone I always found to be so pretty. I was extremely happy to have her in front of my camera, so debuting her to everyone was something I couldn't wait to do.

8. Championship Socks

Model(s): Abby
Published Date: September 4, 2013

This set was one that Abby laid claim to a year in advance. When I told her I was shooting Olivia for the 2012 annual Ravens themed set, she told me she wanted 2013's set. I agreed and for months we had no clue on what we wanted to do. When it finally came time to shoot, I went to numerous stores and found some merchandise to use as props. One prop I knew I wanted to use, however, was a pair of black and purple knee high socks.

I loved the color in this set. With the bright purple in the foreground and the green turf in the background, Abby really popped front and center. Add in the fact that she was sticking those soft Puerto Rican feet at the camera in most of the shot and it was a recipe for a memorable shoot.

7. Sand Dune Path

Model(s): Aspen
Published Date: November 20, 2013

This set of Aspen I actually shot the year before, but mixing in so many later shoots with her led to this one being published in 2013. Nevertheless, from the minute I finished this set in the sand dunes, it was one I loved. I couldn't wait to post it, but as you just read, wait I did.

The scenery for a set sometimes makes it memorable enough. But when you add in a beautiful girl such as Aspen, albeit in a bikini no less, and talk about a winning combination. And since I ruled out her feature gallery, I knew you wouldn't mind having a set of Aspen showing some skin.

6. Valentine's Day Puppy Love

Model(s): Mindee & Emerald
Published Date: February 13, 2013

Mindee has been nothing short of amazing since she debuted back in 2004. When she got her good friend Emerald to do so in 2012, I just knew these two would have to pose together in 2013. Well, that they did for a Valentine's Day themed set, as well as two others that day. Was it overkill having these two pose together for three sets in one day? Hell no! Wish it had been more!

Having two girls in any set is usually one of the following. Extremely fun, or extremely hard. When the girls are friends and have playful personalities, watch out. You won't want to put your camera down. The extremely hard aspect usually comes from coming up with poses. This never came into play with these two, however. Even when I wasn't pointing the camera at them they were flopping all over the bed toying with each other's feet. Many times I just shot whatever it was they were doing. So yeah, I wish we had shot even more sets that day!

5. New Year's Balloons

Model(s): Alaynah
Published Date: January 1, 2013

The debut set of Alaynah had so many things going for it to make it one of my favorites of 2013. One of them, however, trumps the others and that is the fact that she is of West Indian descent. Until her debut Cheri was the only model on the site of this background on the site. People were always asking if she'd return or if I'd ever get another West Indian model on the site. So when Alaynah turned 18 in December of 2012 and I asked her if it would be something she'd be interested in. I was so happy to hear her say yes.

Not wanting to wait to add Alaynah to the model roster I asked her if she'd be up for making her debut on New Year's Day - a new model for the New Year, if you will. She loved the idea, but we only had about a week to plan for it. I went to the store and grabbed all kinds of New Year paraphernalia. A few days later, Alaynah was showing off those super soft, and very smooth soles of hers for the first time. She was surrounded by streamers, balloons, and all kinds of other colorful items. I just knew people were going to love this one as much as I did.

4. Pink Knee High Socks

Model(s): Olivia
Published Date: October 23, 2013

Just like with Aspen's set above, this one of Olivia was shot in 2012. Having done numerous sets of Olivia on my older camera that still weren't published and then her Ravens themed one, this set kept getting pushed back. It was one that I was just dying to show, however, because it appealed to me in so many ways.

If you know me well enough, as most of you do, I love getting to a girl's sweaty feet fresh from either shoes, socks, or both. It was such a humid day when this one was shot that you could easily see how moist Olivia's feet were.

Now to the colors. As you've read above, when a shoot oozes with color, it is a plus in my book. I asked Olivia to bring her black and teal shoes for the set as I fell in love with them seeing her getting them all sweaty at work. I decided to go to the mall and pick her up a pair of knee high socks, but instead of getting matching colors, I went for the brightest pink ones I could find. I wanted them to pop and pop they did! The play on the teal and pink worked better than I had imagined.

3. Sweaty Black Converse

Model(s): Colleen
Published Date: October 16, 2013

Looks like I'm on a bit of a trend here with themes. Yeah, I love sweaty female feet, but again, this is my list! Colleen's sweaty Converse set has numerous reasons for me give it a place in my top three.

First and foremost, Colleen wore these shoes for hours without socks before we went out to shoot that afternoon. It was a very hot day and keeping them on until we shot was actually her idea. I'm not making it up. She told me she was going to do it and I sure as hell wasn't going to argue. So yeah, when she began pulling them off I was loving life!

The second reason I loved this set is because of the playful manner in which Colleen posed. It was our first set of the year and first time we had shot in quite some time. But on this day Colleen was all about having fun. She was smelling her feet, her shoes, making silly faces, and just owning this set. Not all sets work with that kind of playfulness, but this one sure did.

Lastly, if you've been reading above, you know I like lots of color in my sets. Well, this one did the exact opposite and was pretty much all black and white. The colors were in the background with trees, buildings, and the sky. Colleen and her immediate scenery was all black and white and it was just different - and different in a good way.

2. Vans by the Pond

Model(s): Amelia
Published Date: August 21, 2013

Yeah, yeah another sweaty feet set. That makes three in a row, but whose counting? Well, actually I am and this one makes #2 on my list.

Amelia posed for me late in 2012 and I couldn't wait to get her back in front of my camera in 2013. She was one of the first to pose once the weather began warming up. Of course we picked one of the warmest days, which worked out perfectly with this set.

I wasn't aware that Amelia had brought these Vans with her until she proceeded to change before the set. When she showed them to me I was immediately on board. And then when she came out of the bathroom in a matching outfit, I loved what I saw. We walked around for a bit to find the next location - or was it because I wanted her feet would get a little sweaty? I can't quite recall, but probably a little bit of both!

What followed was a set I knew was going to be a hit as I snapped photo after photo. I made sure she kept those shoes front and center with those little feet of hers too. Not only did the set have a playful overtone it, but also also one of teasing - something I'm very fond of. It wasn't too much teasing, but just enough to really make you want to get your nose in those shoes or between her toes.

1. Play-Doh Playground

Model(s): Mariah
Published Date: October 2, 2013

As hard as it was to come up with my top 10 favorites, I knew from the start that this was going to be my number one. This set is memorable for so many reasons for me.

Since it had been about seven years since I had last had Mariah pose, just having her back and looking as good as she did was reason enough to have her on this list. But that alone isn't why it earns my number one spot.

In all the years I've run the site I'd never done a set with Play-Doh. I don't know how I missed out on such an easy idea, but I did. Luckily for me I found some small cans of it at a store only days before Mariah and I were set to shoot.

Shooting this one outside at a playground actually worked out to be pot luck. The playful, childlike nature of the Play-Doh combined with the location just worked for me. Mariah sure played the part as well having a ton of fun squishing it between her tiny little toes.

Then there is that element I've named several times above - color. This set was full of it. Each canister of Play-Doh was a different bright color, Mariah's toes were a bright magenta, and the playground equipment was a rich blue. Color was something this set sure did not lack!

To top this set off, some teenagers that were hanging out by the parking lot sure couldn't stop looking at what we were up to. They didn't stick around for the entire set, but it was funny doing this knowing they were there and looking. They weren't the only ones to see this, however. An older guy came by walking a dog toward the end of the set. Who knows what he was thinking!

All these elements and lots of great poses made this photo set one of my favorites for 2013. I'm so glad Mindee got her to pose again!

Honorable Mentions (5): Mindee & Emerald - Apple Pie, Marcy - Silver Flats, Kelsey - Capital Fountain, Aspen - Boardwalk Sandals, Jasey Rae - 35mm Camera

So what photo sets were your favorites from this year? I thank you for taking a look back with me at a little bit of this site's history. These 10 years online have flown by so quick!

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