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ajphoto@amberjeanwheatley.com

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Chesnee Highway 

Spartanburg, SC 29303 

Tel: 864.387.9165   

Grit + Grace 

Ladies, this is for you!

You deserve to feel beautiful, confident, and empowered.  The Grit and Grace session is all about you.  Whether you are celebrating a birthday or choose a quirky and playful theme, or would like images that reflect an artistic expression of embracing your body; regardless, it will be an experience that celebrates everything amazing about the woman you are!  

Whether you are 22 or 52, let's give you a day that you deserve! 

WHY I STARTED THIS - INFO BELOW (SCROLL DOWN)

Grit + Grace | 

Ladies,

this is especially for you!

Grit and Grace is very special to me.  I was diagnosed with a learning disability as a child, then became a victim of sexual abuse.  In my teens, a peer told me I would be attractive if my belly didn't hang over my pants.  I had also been trying to keep things together on the Homefront as my parents were going through a divorce and in the meantime, developed an eating disorder as a teen.  Later in life, I was diagnosed with PTSD, bipolar disorder in my early 20's, and anxiety disorder (phew).  I struggled throughout my life feeling so closed off from the world. Even as a social butterfly at times, it wasn't me.  I put on a front.  Inside, I hurt.  I had all of these secrets cooped up inside me and they were eating me alive, especially as I grew into an adult.  Prior to my BPD diagnosis, I began self-medicating as a result of confusion and frustration;  I didn't know what was wrong with me, why I acted the way I did, why I had surges of energy and would be restlessly euphoric, which would be followed by a debilitating depression that kept me bed ridden for weeks at at time.  I couldn't control it, or the racing thoughts that flooded my brain along with it... My brain was a broken clock and thoughts would tick too fast, or I'd get stuck in an awful, or traumatic memory of my past.  My solution was alcohol.  It numbed my anxiety and helped me sleep... temporarily.  With a genetic predisposition on both sides of my family, the dangers of me drinking socially meant it could turn into alcoholism easily.  It went from 0-200 in no time.  After about 5 years of living with the exhausting, depressing, horrible, disease on my own (as I kept it to myself), the feelings of worthlessness, or feeling lonely in a crowded room, and being mentally and physically ill took a toll on me.  It was to the point that a pain so incredible numbed me of happiness and confused my abilities to keep going on or blinded me of my strength in doing so.   I knew I needed help and sought out treatment.  I have been in recovery every since and I am so grateful that I can be grateful today!  It took me a team - I learned that I could not combat this battle on my own - at first this was difficult to accept, but I have come to love and accept myself for all that I am and understand that is okay. The Self-esteem issues, trauma, and depression and confusion were replaced with acceptance... Photography was my outlet during this process and saved my life.  Today it's an ongoing process of improvement.  I have amazing doctors and I am proud of what I have overcome. A lot of times, however, it had been difficult for me to express how I felt.  I lost my father, who was bipolar and an alcoholic in June of 2018 to death my suicide.  I found myself often wondering if that would be my destiny too - until I realized that I am here to help others see that doesn't have to be the result.  You are not alone and you deserve to express your pain and showcase your triumphs and feel proud of what you've become.  You may have lived in the dark, but there is light.  Lets embrace that light and the beauty of what comes with it~   I've learned first hand what keeping everything to yourself can do, both personally and through someone I loved dearly.  

I think it is especially hard for women - whether its body image, depression, ptsd, former sexual abuse or trauma, one who has endured abuse either emotionally, physically, it doesn't matter.  The important thing is that you know your worth.  I want to help you understand that and recognize how beautiful you are. It's important for every woman to feel free in who they are.  There is such a freedom that comes with being honest with yourself, knowing you're not alone, and expressing who you are.  Females often compare themselves to other women, magnify their "flaws" and rarely see the beauty that I do behind the lens.  Grit and Grace was created as a way for women, no matter - if your 22 or 62, to feel good about themselves and express themselves freely.  Whether you want to tell your story through a session through a specific theme (as an example, one lady chose to bust eggshells on the ground and walk across them to represent "walking on egg shells" as her theme, because this spoke to her as she lived in anxiety daily - the result was her feeling free to express that and was such a liberating experience for her.  Another option, just embrace who you are and take time to celebrate YOU... I've learned that these sessions are often therapeutic and as a result, every gal that's participated, feels a sense of freedom, and more beautiful and confident!  ALL money for these sessions goes to Project Bandaid, a fundraiser I started that helps women connect with counselors, fund treatment, and research regarding mental health, substance abuse, and fighting the stigma.  It's time to rip off the bandaid to heal, connect with others, and put a stop to the silence.  There is a huge freedom that comes with accepting and loving yourself for who God created you to be.  Let's celebrate! Also, with permission, an image will be posted on the Project Bandaid site with a message from you.  I encourage all you gals to participate.  We all have a story, and you never know who's life you can greatly impact! More than anything, YOUR STORY IS WORTH TELLING and I would Love to help embrace the one you have and what you have created for yourself today!  Be proud of who you are! 

Contact me today - I'd love to get to know you and your story.  XO

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