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Day In the Life Photography

As another year draws to a close, are you looking at your children in wonder and disbelief at how fast they're growing up? We certainly are. Karyn Horler decided to document a day-in-the-life of her family, so that they could look back, remember and laugh about their life with little ones. She contacted Armands Sprogis of A-Fotografy, and we spoke to her afterwards to find out what spurred her into booking a photography session and about her family's experience.

Karyn Horler saw some photographs of a friend's triplets and they gave her an idea. 'I loved those pictures,' she says. 'I thought, if that photographer can cope with and photograph triplets so brilliantly, then why not ask him take some pictures of my twins.' That's when she got in touch with Armands Sprogis of A-Fotografy.

Armands is a dad of two and his business' ethos is to create individualised, graceful, and inspired photography artwork for families. Karyn and her husband Ryan didn't have any portraits of their three daughters together and Armands was keen to work with the family to capture wonderful memories for its present and future generations to look back on. A photography session at the A-Fotografy studio really appealed to Karyn. 'You turn up and everything is set up for you' she says. 'There's absolutely no hassle.' 

During their studio shoot, Karyn and Ryan were photographed sitting in various poses with their three children – Erin who was nearly eight and 11 month old twins Jessica and Annabelle. Armands struck up a real rapport with Erin and encouraged her to relax and move around in front of the camera. 'Erin was doing some gymnastics, cartwheels and dancing. When we saw the beautiful photographs and how natural and happy she looked, we realised how comfortable Armands had made our children feel.'

The A-Fotografy studio is a light and airy 600 square foot facility in St Margaret’s House on London Road, which is perfectly tailored for parents’ needs. It's a warm and cozy environment, with changing facilities and an area for breastfeeding. During her family's relaxed studio shoot, Karyn showed Armands some images on Pinterest that had caught her eye. These were taken in a documentary, non-posed style. Armands suggested that he also take some photos of the family in their natural environment, with a 'Day in the Life' session in their home.

'I love the raw emotion and chaos in families that happens during daily family life,' says Armands. 'I've always wanted to capture that side of families: not the stiff, posed, shiny version, but the real family with no cheesiness.'

Despite Armands' reassurances, Karyn felt a bit nervous about the prospect of a photographer visiting her home. 'I had total confidence in Armands,' she says. 'But our house is so chaotic. I couldn't get to grips with the idea of being photographed over the course of a whole day. How would I fill all of those hours? What would happen during the twins' nap times?'

Karyn needn't have worried, though. The Horlers' day was packed full of special moments and flew by. 'Armands arrived at 8am and photographed the twins as they were waking up,' Karyn reminisces. 'We forgot that he was even there. My husband made pancakes and the kitchen was such a mess! We got some wonderful pictures of the girls with chocolate sauce on their faces. We went on a long walk at Beecraigs and it was all captured on camera. Without Armands, we would never have had the opportunity to photograph those moments. They're memories that we'll cherish forever.'

Karyn's only regret is that she didn't meet Armands earlier. He photographs families at each stage of a child's development and specialises in maternity and newborn photography. He has photographed over 400 newborn babies over the past eight years. 'I really wish I'd had some maternity photographs taken', admits Karyn. 'Before meeting him, I would never have let a photographer into the house, let alone take pictures of me when I was pregnant. But I would have felt entirely comfortable with Armands. It's all about capturing milestones, isn't it? We've missed our newborn photos too, but I'd have another “day in the life” shoot in a heartbeat. The girls are growing up so quickly and changing all the time. I won't miss getting their special moments on camera again.'

Karyn puts the quality of Armands' images down to the bond he quickly makes with the children he photographs. 'After the studio shoot, Erin was so excited that Armands would be seeing us at home and she still asks when he'll visit again. You don't feel like you're being photographed, but that you're hanging out with a friend. While I got the twins dressed, Armands took photos of Erin outside on her bike. Non of us felt self-conscious in the slightest.'

When weighing up the highlights of both the studio and home-based photo shoots, Karyn is full of praise for both options. 'It's amazing to have a set of family portraits,' she says. 'We had a two hour slot for the studio session and I was a bit worried about how the twins would behave. Babies' temperament can be so unpredictable. But the studio is big enough that we could all move about, sit on the couch, relax and get ourselves organised. We took snacks and gave the twins their bottles. Armands guided us every step of the way, picking out what would be best for the girls to wear against different backdrops. We really could just relax and let Armands work his magic.' 

Armands is so passionate about photographing families because he knows how much the images will mean to them. 'Every session I’m transported back to memories of holding my own little babies,' he says. 'Memories fade so quickly, because you're constantly learning new ways to care for and bond with your child, and creating new memories every single day. This is why it's so important to record your family's milestones to look back on and remember with clarity.'

When she looks back at her 'day in the life' photography experience, Karyn couldn't be more positive. 'It's all about capturing natural emotions,' she enthuses. 'Armands has caught the expressions on our faces when we look at our girls. That's priceless. I had no make-up on when Armands arrived and we all had bed hair. But it's real life, a real day, and the very special interaction between our family members has been documented forever. When my children are grown up they'll be able to look back at those photographs and savour the memories.'

A-Fotografy's service doesn't end with the photography shoot. Armands has taken a look at the wall where Karyn plans to display the pictures and has helped the family to choose picture frames which complement their home. He has example products to show all of his clients at the A-Fotografy studio, guide them through the options and assist them in choosing the right items for their budget. 

'The only problem we have had is choosing the images to put in the frames,' laughs Karyn. 'We love so many of them. We have such a special mix of posed and natural photographs from both shoots, so some of each will have pride of place in our home. Honestly, these pictures just make me so happy. I look at them and remember such a fun day. That's what you want on your wall, isn't it? Photographs that make you smile and laugh.'

To find out more about Armands's work, visit www.a-fotografy.co.uk.