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Married to my first love, Momma of 2 (Mason and Weston). Dog mom to Tippon. North Carolina born but Virginia lover at heart. 

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I'm arli.

The Van Gorder Family Session

April 9, 2019

The boys and I met Sarah at Salubria about a week ago to get some updated family photos and some headshots. I love Sarah, seriously she’s the best. We did our last formal family session with her and I think I ordered the biggest set of canvases that you can, and got two sets HAHA. I absolutely love photos (obviously) but I’m not a fan of being in front of the camera myself. I’m totally awkward which is great when working with other awkward people and I’m not in front of the camera but no so much when the shoe is on the other foot. Luckily Sarah knows me well and my boys so she always knocks it out of the park and we have so much fun.

Sarah is a wedding photographer and I’m so thankful she did these for us before our busy wedding season kicks off. You can see these up on my newly relaunched website and I’m obsessed! My boys have had a camera in their faces since birth so they are used to it but they don’t last long. As a photographer and a Mom I’ve learned and come to realize that you just have to A. learn to work with it and B. compromise and not get frustrated. I know that my guys (including the big guy) are only good for about 15-30 minutes. They don’t like to dress up but will for me if I promise it won’t be long and they can all shed some of the items after were done. Easy peasy. There is also the required funny face photo, which secretly I love but won’t tell them because then they will have an excuse of why they won’t do it anymore lol. Pick your battles Moms.

For our family session with Sarah I wanted them to be formal. Which means outfit coordination. I am a master at this with my clients but for myself, I am the most picky person and the biggest perfectionist. I drive my friends and family nuts with this. I wanted a dress for myself that was romantic but not something I would normally pick out. It had to be spring style but also flattering. Lulus came through and with only a small amount of alterations done I had a dress that was catered to my body type and made me feel beautiful. The boys were easy… Kohls for the win with these cute little mini suits. Jon was not happy when he saw the shirt I picked but once we all got together and saw the design come to life he agreed that it was a perfect pick. I found a new place called The Tie Bar and I loved ordering from them. All three fellas got coordinating ties in the same color to match my dress. They felt pretty fancy and special. I think they clean up nice and are so very handsome. I am a very very blessed woman. God has provided so much more than just my needs and I am eternally grateful.

We couldn’t forget our newest Van Gorder member. Tippon is so photogenic and he actually loves the camera, again… God is good. He really has completed our family and after Sophie girl passed we weren’t sure about adding another dog to our family. I’m so glad that Tippon came into our lives and will hopefully be here for a very long time. He’s a great dog and so smart. He just turned 7 months old so we had a reason to celebrate with photos. The boys and Tippon enjoyed running around Salubria and thankfully Tippon didn’t try and charge the livestock there. I won’t lie, I was prepared to have to chase him and ride an hour home with a stinky dog. Thankfully he behaved.

My tips to you for your family session with littles or a big guy that aren’t fans or don’t last long: 1. Keep your session short if you know your family doesn’t last long in front of the camera or a photographer 2. Choose an experienced photographer that understands a family portrait session with children and maybe allow your family to grown with THEM so that each family member becomes more comfortable with your photographer and eventually those sessions will last longer. 3. Make it FUN! 4. Dress to impress. Most likely you don’t have family photos done as often as they should be so make sure everyone feels and looks their best. 5. PRINT your photos (professionally). As I mention on my website, your investment and your family deserve to be showcased and not just on your smart phones. Remember your grandkids grandkids are watching!

Enjoy my family favorites below!



I love them so much! Greatest feeling in the world being their Momma.



This man has my soul and has for half of my life. Thankful for a lifetime to be with him!

This is pretty much us everyday, being nerds 🙂

Stole a smooch from me.


Barefoot, this is generally what you see from Spring to Winter in our house…





If you enjoyed this post take a peek at these:

Tippon | 6 Months New

Let Them Be Little

2015 Family Photo Throwback


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