February Sweet Little Giveaway Winner :)

Well, this was such a fun little giveaway! I’ll be doing more of these ‘intimate style’ giveaways and already have the next one lined up for March!

The winner of the February giveaway is Karrie Drake… who is also a photographer. I wanted to show off some of her beautiful work in addition to the congratulations.



Kerri, thanks for entering and I will be in touch to get your personalized inspirational text written and gifts sent out to you.

Have a great week… and stay tuned as new personal work will be posted on the blog over the next couple of days:)


Download PDF

February’s Sweet Little Giveaway

Well, it won’t stop snowing, so what better thing to do than offer my first giveaway of the year:)


How to Enter: 

Share this post on Facebook and visit my Facebook Page to ‘Like’ and let me know you’ve done so

Tweet the giveaway! Copy/Paste the following: I just entered @escapetolight’s Blog #Giveaway:  http://light-traces.com/februarys-sweet-little-giveaway/

Leave a comment below.

Ends Monday, February 11th!


This year I’ll be doing something a little bit different.

With these giveaways, I’ll be creating some lovely Inspirational Giveaway Gift Sets! These gift sets might contain an array of any of the following:
**used goodies, handmades, vintage items, health-inspired items / educational material, nature-inspired items, and mostly *random* things —- and all things that I will gift wrap with love and mail to the recipient. All giveaways will also contain a handwritten letter, exclusive (handwritten) inspirational text, along with a signed photographic print from my personal collection of work:)

So let’s get started with our February Giveaway!


For the February Sweet Little Giveaway Gift Set I am offering one special person:

An illustrated Dream Dictionary by Russell Grant, Illustrated by Vicky Emptage (used). This was my first dream dictionary and I’ve had it for more than 15 years! Quite the keepsake, but since I no longer use it, I figure it will be more useful in the hands of someone else. Makes for a wonderful conversation piece.

William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing one of Shakespeare’s last comedies and one of the most artistic (and enjoyable reads). Got this in 1999 my first year of college and can still remember reading the part of Ursula… which ended up being my online identity for a few years. Just Google ‘Ursylla’ and you’ll see what I mean!

Signed 8×10 or 8×12 print from my personal collection. Print will come as a surprise to you when it arrives. Randomly selected for the winner (that’s the print peeking out from behind the Dream Dictionary!)

Handwritten, inspirational text based on an area of concern in your life. Authored by me. 

Issue 79 of B&W Magazine (Dec. 2010 issue). To honor African-American history month, I thought this was a good fit. This is an amazing copy of one of my favorite publications, B&W Magazine. Issue 79 features a gorgeous set of photographs of early Muhammad Ali by Flip Schulke. In addition, issue 79 showcases excerpts from a photo essay by Leonard Freed that focuses on the Civil Rights era. The essay is titled “Black, in White America”.  A major keepsake.


Winner of the Giveaway will be chosen at random on Monday, February 11th!

Download PDF

Protected: Katie

This post is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Download PDF

Simon Says

From a recent candid-style session at (client’s) home. Loving these!


Download PDF

Protected: Simon

This post is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Download PDF

A Renewal of Elegance


There seems to be a gaping hole in the divide between sex appeal and beauty. These days it isn’t uncommon to see nudity and lust-filled images all over most media outlets. As a result, is our understanding of beauty suffering?

Amy Parrish and I have had a few different conversations now on the subject. Coming from a personal angle, my self portraits give me a healthy confidence about who I am and often times allow me to power through feelings of insecurity (which we all have from time to time). Some of you who know me intimately know that I have developed a (minor) skin condition called melasma over the past few years. My case is extremely mild compared to most cases, and for that I’m grateful. However, in the beginning (and even now sometimes) it was emotionally draining. (I’ve found a few natural things to help keep it from worsening. I’m happy to share that information if you have questions or are struggling with hyperpigmentation yourself. I understand.) As frustrating as this can be sometimes, I couldn’t be more grateful that I’ve had to deal with it because overcoming the insecurities that arose has helped me to focus inward. We simply cannot rely on our image, perceived status, or even our reputation. We can only rely on what is on the inside! The more secure you are in who you’re becoming and evolving into, the more everything around you makes sense. You can learn to honor yourself and to be deeply grateful for what nourishes your body, mind, and spirit. There is nothing on the outside (whether it is yours or someone else’s) that can provide happiness. You’re the only person you can rely on at all times, so paying attention to what is happening on the inside is key….  that energy will start to radiate and your entire world will change if you start to honor your body, mind, and spirit and work to keep it healthier. There are a lot of things that can provide instant gratification, but those things are very temporary. We often seek friendships or romantic relationships to satisfy a connection… but I feel that’s kinda backwards. Lasting friendships and relationships are gifts that show up when we aren’t searching for them. People are drawn together. I’m at a place now where I don’t believe in enemies. Even the people that “rub us the wrong way” — that isn’t them, it’s something inside yourself that needs to be overcome, so you can see their beauty.

I was told by my close friend Tina Dolin that before she met me, she thought I was full of myself based on my self portraits and consistent posts about life and experience. We laugh about that when the subject comes up because I was secretly intimidated by her talent, beauty, and accomplishments before we ever met in person. Now we’re grateful to have looked past one another’s online presence and to realize we’re real people, doing our best,  just like everyone else. It goes to show that……

“image is powerful, but image is superficial” – Cameron Russell (supermodel).

{ I recommend watching her AMAZING TedTalk on this subject HERE }



Amy and I met for coffee one day and the subject came up again. The next thing you know, we had outlined an entire event inspired by these feelings on what beauty is and how there is so much to say about inner beauty that can’t really be explained well enough in words. But… it can be brought to the outside. It can be shown. And it can be felt. Amy and I had each separately tossed around the idea of a “non-boudoir-boudoir event” (as we kept calling it)…. but couldn’t figure out how to stir a genuine interest in it. Still, the discussion made us certain that we were onto something and that maybe other women would connect. So, that’s what we set out to do with this collaborative, experimental portrait event for women: to illustrate inner beauty and strength in a sophisticated, feminine way. Since our promotion on Amy’s Blog last November we’ve each received numerous responses including emails of thanks and appreciation.

So far, we’ve been warmed by the company of four incredible women who attended A Renewal of Elegance at Orchard House B&B in Granville, Ohio (and a fifth who worked with us privately). We brought Taisha Holland of Cloud 9 Hair Design to be the stylist for the day. Each woman came in having defined her own strengths, and from there we decided on the styling and wardrobe as a team. There was a noticeable energy flowing as I worked alongside Amy. Taisha couldn’t have handled the styling any more perfectly, either. The women each came to life in her own way. And I have to say that watching it happen made me feel alive. Special thanks to all of you for the experience! Stay beautiful:)






*Amy and I are accepting bookings for future Renewal of Elegance events. Four women per day. Styling by Taisha Holland. Please give us at least two weeks advanced notice. Looking forward to working with you!* 

Download PDF

Mark + AnnMarie


These photos are the result of 5 total hours of wedding coverage + processing requested by client:)

It couldn’t have been better weather for a fall wedding. Thank you Mark and AnnMarie! What a beautiful day.

Download PDF

Affirmations for 2013

This morning your sky was a pastel parade, Earth.

(We danced.)

Beyond what we can see here, our Universe is breathing it’s breath right into the very room that warms you now.

Beyond your doors and windows are millions of other doors and windows leading into someone else’s home,  their sanctuary.

(What tears may be falling behind that door, or joys endearing?)

Our neighbors, friends, and people we completely disagree with,

They’re just overcoming heartaches

They only want to be loved

They’re seeking safety and security

They’re self-forgiving

Their thoughts embrace the memories of someone dear.

We Are Doing the Best We Can.

Your mouths that speak ill of another — would you say it to that very person the same?

What does integrity mean to you in this moment?



Affirmations to Embrace in 2013:

I am accountable for my actions, and I am able to forgive myself, now, for any actions I’ve made that weren’t consistent with my values.
I am understanding of others and am able to let go of any words, actions, or situations that I have allowed to cause conflict in my life.
I accept that I am in control of the conflicts that come into my life and have the option to choose peace over pain.
I choose to be aware of the energy that surrounds me, and how my own energy affects others.
I am able to commit to the things that will strengthen my well-being, above all else.
I am grateful to know that my well-being can influence the well-being of others.
I am grateful for others who have influenced my well-being.
I acknowledge that others are on sacred paths of their own and respect wherever it is that they are in their journey.
I view my own path as sacred and choose to fill my existence with purity to the best of my ability.
I honor my body, mind, and soul (and recognize that they work together).
I acknowledge my existence as being part of a continuum, a piece of eternity, an energy that will continue to evolve within our Infinite Universe.
I choose to be accepting, loving, kind, and generous.
I understand that what exists in my mind will manifest in my actions; thus, I choose to cultivate peace and harmony in my thoughts.



© Michelle Black 2013



Download PDF

Sydney and Max in Savannah, GA

A recent introduction to the admirable photo/video superhero Joshua Branstetter offered me a chance to step into his world and to observe how he exists (and works) in it. Here, we teamed up to photograph this lovely couple — Sydney and Max — who made my first Savannah, GA wedding experience one to remember. It was the first time in many years that I felt at least 50% nervous on the job, mainly because I didn’t want to interfere with Josh’s flow  (even though he invited me to assist him for the day). I managed to snag a few images, but Josh and his clients get all the credit for them – thank you:)

You can see Josh’s top picks on his public Facebook profile.








Download PDF

John & Janie | Vow Renewal



What a great day this was, and to photograph two people in love that have impacted my life in such a positive way. . . . such a blessing! John and Janie of Imagination Photography renewed their vows and put together one incredible party for their guests on October 6, 2012. With so much attention to detail and concern for their guests getting to know one another, there really was nothing but positive energy flowing around and through. This was also the first celebration I’ve ever attended where sumo wrestling fit into the equation! With their dogs as much a part of the day as themselves, it quickly became clear that their love for one another and the life they’ve built together is certainly one-of-a-kind. How inspiring to witness a devotion to one another so tender, yet adventurous and strong.

One thing I walked away with after the celebration was a definitive feeling of joy. Extra special thanks to the couple and to the entire production for making this day such an incredible experience…. And another big thanks to their guests — for your company:)




Band: Libido Funk Circus (Chicago)

Flowers: Merry Me Events (Granger, IN)

Fire Spinning: Pyrotechniq (Chicago)

Head Piece: made by Janie

Props: Janie’s Dad:)

Boutonnieres: Made by Janie

Stage and Chandelier: Made by John and Janie

Coordinator: Liz Whitaker

Hair: Jackie Simmions from Mira Salon and Spa (Bloomington, IN)

Makeup: Bethza Professional Makeup (Elkhart)

Photography: Michelle Black | Light-Traces




Download PDF
J O I N   M I C H E L L E