Wednesday, September 22, 2010

My Heart Will Go On Home, Baby

A couple of weeks ago, while shopping in one of my usual haunts, I came across a vintage Jessica McClintock Gunne Sax dress.  Not, not a new one, or even a 1980's version, but one of "those" Gunne Sax '70s dresses.  One of the beautifully made dresses from the early to mid 1970's.  There are earlier designs out there, but, this one is a pretty early find, especially for the East Coast.  Also, it is in fabulous condition, and, a very wearable vintage size 13 which makes it about a contemporary size 6-8.  Being all cream with lace it would make someone a terrific Renaissance Style Bohemian Wedding Dress.  With all of these factors combined, I decided I needed to set up a really special photo shoot for this dress. 

There are a number of Etsy sellers who regularly do the whole "walking-through-the-fields-with-windswept-hair-and-great-backlighting" thing on a regular basis.  Most of those people sell higher end items more consistently and live in a climate that supports such things.  I live in a major New England city where the weather changes on a dime, and, there is not exactly a wheat field in my backyard.  Also,  I rarely ask more than $50 for items in my shop so although I take my photos seriously, major modeling photo shoots become somewhat cost-prohibitive.   This dress, though was unique.  I made the decision that if it fit I would have some fun and go for it.  Here are the results:

The Dress

The dress, as stated, likely dates to the early to mid-1970's.  I was surprised, too, at the quality.  The entire lace overlay is all cotton, not synthetic.  It is fully lined and very well constructed.  This dress would make a fantastic wedding dress for someone who is into the earthy/hippie/bohemian look, or, a Renaissance theme.

The Boots
 I decided that the perfect vintage uber-hipster accessory for this photo shoot would be my vintage lace-up leather boots.  The texture is a perfect contrast, and, they are perfect for trekking all over the place to take photos!  Also, found for 50 cents at a church sale about 15 years ago perfectly in my size, these are one of my all-time favorite vintage pieces!

The Photographer

Dad was totally game to not only drive me around everywhere, but, to shoot all the photos!  What a great job he did, and, between you and me, I think he's got the "photo bug" again!

The Setting

 Luckily, my parents live in a lovely Massachusetts seaside town that's got it all; oceanfront, grassy fields, stone walls, historic water towers and pumpkin patches - so we were at no loss for locations!

The Plan
square view
gallery view
Ok, so here's the scoop.  We took a TON of photos and I have narrowed them down to the few you see below.  Because Etsy uses a horizontal format for gallery views, treasuries and blog articles, and, square views for summary views, photos must work in both formats.  Also, the photos are viewed in a smaller size than shown below so keep that in mind as well.

The Photos
Here are the finalists.  What I'd like you to do is help me to pick the shot to use as the "first" shot.  This is the "money" shot; the one that will get noticed, get put into treasuries, get selected for blogs and, most of all, seen by the person who will ultimately decide to purchase this gorgeous dress for themselves!  Take a look, have fun, POKE fun (that's sort of the point!) and help me pick out the ultimate Etsy photo for this dress!

Option 1

Option 2

Option 3

Option 4
Option 5

Option 6 

Option 7

Option 8

Option 9

Option 10

Option 11

Option 12

...and if you think we need to move in closer, here are some cropped options:

Crop Option 1

Crop Option 2

Crop Option 3

Crop Option 4

Crop Option 5

Crop Option 6

Of course the primary goal of this project was for me to have a lot of fun; that was achieved!  Second to that, is for my readers to have some fun.  (Let's presume we can tick this one off as well).  Next, let's not forget that the point is to show that if someone wants to use this dress as a wedding dress, it looks and photographs great!  If dad and I tooling around in boots and a Honda Accord can make it look like this, imagine what you and a professional photographer can do!  Finally, one side benefit I had not realized until I put all the photos together; if Celine Dion or Van Morrison ever wish to record an album with me, I already have the photos for the project!


  1. I vote for option 3 uncropped! It blew me away! Of course, I like it better cropped around your face with your hair blowing wildly, but then the focus is not on the dress. Great job, Mr. Francis!

  2. I love them!

    It's a toss up between 3, 9 and 12.

    I love the crops 1. 3, 5, 6.

    I love the castle setting, but the dress detail really pops with my above choices. Great job!

    Pumpkin Truck

  3. My favorite is Option #1 which I think shows the dress off the best and you look like you are having fun wearing it. MOM

  4. Option One. Where did you find the gay photographer?

  5. Thank you all for your contributions! I also have some input via Facebook for Options 3 and 9 as well. It is a race for sure...tallies are still going on so send me your votes!

    ...and about that photographer, was not aware he was gay, but, if anyone should know...

  6. Well, for me, the photo of THE BOOTS is the money shot! LOVE THEM. But really, I think Options 3, both uncropped and cropped, are your best bets.

    And I laughed out loud at the 'gay' photographer comments. When my mom & I stage a new item in our homes, we place it, stand back, adjust it a little, then leave the room and return to see how it strikes us upon discovery. Then we exclaim "We're so GAY!" In the pure fun goofy sense of the word.

  7. The boots are NOT for sale, but, I will wear them into Salvage Chic the next time I visit and you can touch them for $1... :-)

  8. pinky says you should use liquify in photoshop to pinch in the waist and then go with option 3 because you look so bee U tee full in it and the dress is REALLY shown off

  9. Liquify eh? Have not tried that but will! I suppose my wedding shots were liquified? LOL (please do NOT tell me the truth!) Wish I could liquify my waist in real life! :-)

  10. "Money shot" -- 3, 7, or 9. Love them!

    Isn't it wild how sizing has changed. I used to think (in the 1960s) that I was "fat" because I wore a size 10 to 12. Yeah... I was 5'7" and weighed about 120. Sooo fat. Not! :-)

    You look great in the dress. Renew your vows somewhere romantic?

  11. Loved options 1, 2, and 3! The natural lighting wasn't too bright and showed off the dress nicely - both held out and flowy in the breeze but also how it looks when left untouched (in 2, I believe). This isn't really my style of dress and yet after looking through the pictures I find myself thinking it's beautiful in its own way, and you look lovely in it!

    I realise now how old this post is (and to think I was Googling for boots..) but I'll go ahead and post anyway. ^_^


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