Sunday, December 30, 2018

My Favorite Sets of 2018

At the end of every year I have to make some hard choices. Each December, it's become an annual tradition for me to pick my 10 favorite sets from that year. It's never easy. Publishing at least one set per week means I'm leaving off some good sets that just missed the cut. By no means are those sets bad, it's just I had to pick 10. This year also saw numerous weeks where two sets were published, so that made it even tougher with more sets to chose from.

Unlike the annual Star Models blogs where I talk about all the sets a model shot during a calendar year, this blog focuses on the ones published. Some were indeed shot in 2018, but others I've been waiting to share for a year or more now. It's not always easy getting all the sets onto the site. I have so many models and themes to rotate through each week, sometimes the good ones sit there just waiting to make their big splash.

With all that being said, let's take a look at My 10 Favorite Sets of 2018 on Soles of Silk:



10. Sweaty Soles in 
Nude Hose
Model(s): Kaycee
Published Date: July 11, 2018


As many of you saw, I recently shot with Kaycee for the first time since 2016 (see blog: "Sunday's Shoot - Kaycee"). She was long overdue, but luckily for me, we had shot a good amount of photos up until that last shoot in 2016. That allowed me to prolong her updates by spreading them out over time. The photo you see above came from the final solo set I had of hers, which I ended up publishing in July.

In that set, Kaycee's feet were never bare. We shot the set with a pair of nude pantyhose that we decided to keep on for the duration of the set. Being a little warm that day, I just loved seeing Kaycee's warm, damp feet released from the confines of the black shoes she wore at the start of the set.

Although I much prefer bare feet, this set just worked for me. Kaycee looked amazing and the simple location allowed for all the focus to remain on her sweaty, pantyhose-clad feet. To top things off, this set was the one that entered her into the site's 1K Club (1,000 photos). That also made it just that much more special for me.




9. Yellow Heels
Model(s): Charlee
Published Date: July 25, 2018


There are times when things just seem to come together on the fly. Charlee's set with her bright yellow high heels was one of those sets where that happened. Charlee had brought along the yellow heels to our shoot, along with a dress with splashes of yellow throughout. When we arrived at our location, we saw some loading docks with bright yellow railings and just knew it would be perfect.

Shooting this set downtown, I loved the urban look to the setting. Since it was a Sunday, no one was around and it let us shoot without anyone coming in and out of our scene. Some of my favorite poses saw Charlee sitting up on the railing, with her soles out to the camera. She was even sure to smell her shoes and also offer us a sniff in some of the other poses that followed. Naturally, I took her up on the offer on scene. Hey! Someone had to!

By the end of this set, Charlee's bare feet got a little dusty. That happens a lot when I shoot in urban areas, especially downtown. It also probably didn't help that Charlee's feet got a little moist inside those heels while we shot this set. Overall, I think it added to the whole theme. Like a few other things with this set, it wasn't planned, but I sure loved how it just came to be. I love when a set becomes organic and I'm just able to go with the flow with my models.



8. Pink Striped Socks
Model(s): Emerald
Published Date: July 4, 2018


Over the last few years I've been a sucker for thigh high socks. Quite a few of my models have found themselves wearing them now, including Emerald who takes the eight spot on this list.

The day this set was shot, it was the first time I had shot Emerald in a very long time. I always loved shooting her. She has fun with the sets and her feet are simply adorable. Her pedicures are always stellar too. Having not done a set with thigh high socks up until this point, I was glad when Emerald was eager to add the theme to her gallery list. She had a set with knee high socks published back in 2014, which also placed eighth on the "My Favorite Sets: 2014" list. Weird how that happens!

Like the two sets above, I loved the fact that Emerald's feet got a little warm and moist during this set too. As a fan of sweaty feet, I'm sure that makes me a little partial to sets where that happens to be part of the theme. I make no apologies! This set, like Kaycee's, marked Emerald's entry into the 1K Club. Guess I also save favorites for that occasion as well?



7. Waterfront Workout
Model(s): Audrey
Published Date: June 6, 2018


Speaking of sweaty feet, how about a workout theme? A workout theme that had newcomer, Audrey, start things off in her black sneakers and then pull them off to air out her sweaty feet as the set progressed. I told you I was partial to sweaty female feet, didn't I?

As many of my models know my love for the sneaker/no sock theme, Audrey was different. We didn't know each other at all before meeting up for her shoot. We talked quite a bit in the lead up and that's when I mentioned this theme. She said she works out regularly, so it would be right up her alley.

I love making use of strong colors in my sets whenever I can. Before this shoot, I went crazy finding a bunch of multi-colored items to include in this set. Sometimes, like a few sets you see on here (Charlee's Yellow Heels), I just stick with one strong color. This one, I wanted a bunch.

Being a warm day, Audrey's feet warmed up nicely inside her shoes. It probably had something to do with my long running habit of making the models leave their shoes on for a bit to get them to dampen up inside. Yeah, a few models have caught onto that, but I make no apologies for this either. None of you seemed to mine either as Audrey's debut set made her an instant hit on the site.



6. That Eggplant Tho!
Model(s): Mindee
Published Date: July 18, 2018


If there is one friend of mine who loves to tease and torment me, it's Mindee. We've been friends for so long. She's the only model from the site's launch in 2004 who still regularly models for me. It goes without saying that she's totally got me figured out by now and wrapped around her little toes.

The idea from this set actually stems from a joke revolving around another emoji themed set of Mindee's that I have yet to publish. That one features the poo emoji and features it prominently. A few weeks after shooting that set, however, I was shopping with Emerald and saw the eggplant emoji plushie you can see her biting above. Emerald and I thought it was the funniest thing because it makes a "boing" noise when squeezed. I bought it and told Mindee she had another emoji set to do. She laughed, but naturally agreed.

In the lead up to this set, I was able to find Mindee a fun eggplant emoji shirt to wear as well. She had a poo shirt on in the other set, so it was only natural. With the meaning of the eggplant, this set just lent itself to a size teasing theme - which Mindee has become quite versed at doing at this point.

Some of the poses and gestures in this set are just amazing. Mindee totally owned this set, like she has so many before and after. Guess it's only fitting since she owns the photographer too.



5. The Color Purple
Model(s): Alexa
Published Date: August 22, 2018


Purple everything! I told you that I love thigh high socks, didn't I? Well, here's another set featuring a pair. These ones were a deep, dark purple. Falling in love with the socks when I showed them to her, Alexa really wanted to use them in one of her sets. When we finally made plans to shoot the set, we decided to stop at a store beforehand and grab a bunch of different purple clothing items. Here's me pushing my love of colors in sets again. 

What we decided to do in this set, however, was play off one color only. That didn't mean just one shade though. We purposely mixed up different shades of purple throughout her attire. I thought having the socks the darker shade would make them pop a little more in the photos instead of blending into everything else. I ended up being right.

The only thing that wasn't purple about Alexa's attire that day was her shoes. Oh well, can't be perfect and it's not like they stayed on too long anyhow. Naturally, I left them on her for a bit to warm up her feet, but those socks would also help out with that cause. Score another one for sweaty feet.

There were so many great angles and poses that came from this set. I loved seeing Alexa's pinkish soles framed by all that purple while she played tug-a-war with those socks. It was hard not to rank this higher on the list, but with so many great sets to chose from, it's just how it worked out.




4. Lotion Overload
Model(s): Melani
Published Date: March 7, 2018


Lotion. It's a popular request and one I try to do with all my models at one point. It's also a simple one that can yield some amazing results, as you can plainly see with Melani's photo above. As a matter of fact, this photo is the site's most popular on Instagram (@SolesofSilk), currently sitting just shy of 2,000 likes at 1,995. The next closest has 1,700.

For such a popular set, you would have thought that I went all out with the intent of creating a classic. Well, that wasn't the case at all. Knowing that Melani was a newcomer and only having two sets under her belt at the time, I wanted to keep things simple and get in several of the popular, yet easy requests. Lotion was first up on the day. All I had her do was sit on a bench and squirt lotion all over her little 18 year old (at the time) feet. That's it.

This set is proof positive that sometimes this is just all about the model and her pretty feet. As an artist, I love to try to be as creative as possible when I can. Sometimes, however, it's perfectly okay to just have the model and set be simple.



3. See Thru Rainbow Striped Socks
Model(s): Mindee & Melani
Published Date: May 30, 2018


Now for the creativity and from here on out, it's all duel model sets. I have shot so many of them over the last couple of years and came away with some very memorable combinations. I just knew some of them were going to top my lists once published. 

The first of them combines two models who were featured in my first ever, Dream Duos blog - Mindee and Melani (see blog: "Dream Duos #1 - Mindee & Melani"). The year that this was shot, Melani had debuted and was shooting at an outrageous pace. She finished with 21 sets shot that year, earning her second place on the Star Model list for 2017. Had she debuted any other year, she would have easily came in first and held the record for most sets ever shot in a calendar year. She just so happened to debut the same year that Mindee went and shot 40 sets (see blog: "2017's Star Models").

It was only natural to get these two together that year with the both of them shooting so regularly. As a matter of fact, I was able to do that three times and come away with three amazing sets. The one you see above is the only one published thus far, with the other two being included as part of a major event for 2019. Details of that will be announced here on the blog with the January 2, 2019 update.

Anyhow, this set was thought up randomly one day when I was out Christmas shopping at the mall. I walked past one of the teeny-bopper stores and saw the fluorescent socks hanging on the wall. The store was having a buy one, get one sale, so it was just meant to be! I grabbed a few more colorful items after buying the socks and knew I had a great potential set on my hands.

Needless to say, this set turned out fantastic. I loved it so much and that's why I decided to use the same photo you see above in the site's homepage graphic. Still, there were two sets that just edged this one out - edged being a great term to segway into the next set.




2. I Hold the Key
Model(s): Mindee & Alice
Published Date: October 31, 2018


This set was one I had been planning for a long time. I actually had the props for a while. Alice was always supposed to be a part of this set, but Mindee was not the original partner planned to be featured alongside her. When things did not come through with that model, however, Mindee jumped in just like she always does. And man, did these two ever have a blast with this one!

Locks and keys was the theme here, well at least on the surface. With both of these models knowing how teasing and tormenting can be oh so fun, there underlying theme here is quite obvious - hence the "edged" segway mention above. With so many keys though, who's to say that they'd ever find the one that fits. Knowing these two, they'd probably lose it on purpose.

This team up, like the one above with Mindee and Melani, was one that I was also itching to make happen. I was set to feature them in a Dream Duos blog too, but I managed to shoot them before I could post it. I changed what I wrote to reflect that and that's why I titled it as such: "Dream Duos #4 - Mindee & Alice (A Dream Come True)."

I couldn't even begin to tell you how fun it was having these two shoot together. Mindee loved her and Alice said she can't wait to shoot with her again one day. With the results of this set, I sure as hell want to make that happen again. But there was just one combo, also with Mindee, that just "blew" things out of the water in 2018.


1. Bubble Wands
Model(s): Mindee & Shelby
Published Date: May 9, 2018


Last year Mindee and her mom, Shelby, were featured in my second favorite set of 2017. That's the year that Melani debuted and did one of my all-time favorite sets on the beach with a ton of watermelon themed items... and a watermelon. This year, the duo tops the list with their Bubble Wands set. That's why I put the quote marks around the word "blew" up above. Get it... Blow bubbles? Yeah, I'm known for horrible puns.

This set was such a massive hit with everyone, myself included. These two barefoot, next to each other, is something I will never grow tired of seeing. I'm so glad I got to make it happen two more times this year, with one of those times also including Mindee's grandmother, Shelby's mother, Dolly (see blog: "Sunday's Shoot - 3 Generations: Mindee, Shelby, & Dolly").

There were so many great sole shots in this set, but as you can clearly see above, every so often, Mindee and Shelby threw out a tickle, or a toe bite to add some comedy into the set. These two certainly can be fun, so I should have expected nothing less.

Honorable Mentions (9)
: Rilynn & Noelle - Comic Socks, Melani - See Thru Converse, Mindee - Beach Roller Coasters, Jasey Rae - Potter Socks, Mindee - Mildred Belle Restoration, Maya - Valentine's Day Tease, Melani - Outdoor Eatery Sandals, Melani - Harley Socks, Mindee - Crayon Socks,

I'm certain that some of your favorite sets made it onto this list too. Which ones of these did you also enjoy? How about sets I didn't pick? Any sets from 2018 that I missed out on that you'd put on your top 10 listing? Let me know.



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