We had the good fortune of connecting with Allyn Childers and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Allyn, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
My artistic career was one that blossomed and grew with my maturity. I graduated in 2006 with a degree in art and early child development and at that point, I shied away from pursuing art as a career because I lacked the confidence to put myself out there. Art is such a personal pursuit and I feared the personal rejection I might face, so I used my child development degree and became a teacher. I loved those years as a teacher but I also felt so drained by it. My husband is a truly gifted educator and I saw firsthand how energized he was by his days teaching and I felt the exact opposite. Creating is what builds me up and drives me so after many years as a teacher I started dipping my foot back into art and I learned photography. When people started paying me to take their photos my mind was blown and it really gave me the encouragement to work harder at my craft. I started taking classes, working harder on new skills, and really stretching myself and it paid off both personally and financially. People noticed my work and with time, I built a little business. After running my own small business for a few years, I was hired by a larger photography group (where I work to this day). Getting to work in an environment with other creative, driven women who are constantly growing and challenging themselves has been so valuable personally. For me, making my art a career was about knowing myself and accepting what fills me up and drives me. Creating art sets me on fire and motivates me in a way that other careers wouldn’t and knowing that helps me overcome my fears and encourages me daily to keep changing and putting myself and my work out there.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I didn’t land fully in my career in photography until my early 30’s and I am so thankful that I was able to find my way to where I am now. When I graduated college in 2006 with a double degree in art and early childhood development, I was too self conscious to pursue a career in art and I spent years pushing myself as a teacher. It was something I enjoyed but not something that built me up or inspired me. As I matured, I learned so much about myself and what built me up and drove me to be a better person. Art was always the right path for me but I couldn’t do it until I believed it myself. I didn’t gain the confidence to pursue art as a career until I was a mother. I needed a creative outlet and I picked up photography because my traditional outlets (drawing and painting) were so time consuming. With photography I could capture a moment from a unique perspective and it kept me both present in the moment for my children and present as a creative person. I took it slow and I really made education a priority. In all my years in photography I don’t think there has been a time when I wasn’t pursuing some form of further education. It wasn’t easy because I did all of this while growing my family. I spent many days focusing on my four children and many, many late nights learning better photography skills, editing, and working to build my small photography business. After a few years behind the camera, I was hired by a wonderful company, Mustard Seed Photography as a second shooter for weddings. I previously had no desire to photograph weddings but I adored their photography style and was excited to have the opportunity to learn and grow (and have full 10 hour work days using my camera–I was crazy! haha!). When I started working for Mustard Seed Photography my skills grew by leaps and bounds. I was so inspired by what I saw and by the other women I worked with and I fell in love with what I was able to capture. Now, I am a lead photographer with Mustard Seed and still just as in love with what I do. I’m constantly learning and still growing daily. I’m excited to go to work each and every time which just seems like such a gift. I would love it if I could have started in this field ten years before I did but truly I don’t think I’d change anything. I have such a passion for what I do and I think that is the product of my age and the path I took to find this career.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
Well, first, I would have to take them on an eating tour of the city. Here are a few places we’d chow down: Velvet Taco, Killen’s BBQ, BB’s Cafe, Lankford’s Grocery, Brennan’s, Taste of Texas (especially if they’re new to TX), The Breakfast Club, Good Dog, and Toute Suit. If we just wanted drinks we’d go sit on the porch at Sonoma in the Heights and enjoy their wine and a cheese boards. Other places we’d go: Museum of Fine Art, walk through small shops in the Heights, the galleries in the Silos at Sawyer Street, the Galleria for some good people watching, the Arboretum for a walk, Brazos Bend state park for a hike and to see the alligators. If kiddos were involved, we would go to the Houston Zoo, the Children’s Museum, and Hermann Park. The best part of this city is how different each area is. I love that in Houston you can drive just 5 minutes and the city changes its look and feel. It think if I were introducing someone to the city I’d also love driving them through some of the most interesting neighborhoods and districts.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Kat Theis and Jess Hoffman of Mustard Seed Photography. They are my co-workers and owners of Mustard Seed Photography where I am a photographer. They have been a constant source of knowledge, creative encouragement, and inspiration to me.
Instagram: @allynchilders, @mustardseedphoto
Photo Credit: Mustard Seed Photography
Nominate someone: ShoutoutHTX is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.