• Bailey
  • Tobey
  • Rio
  • Chewie
  • Mini-Sessions
  • Kin & Star
  • Charlie
  • Zara
  • Zoe
  • Toto
  • Jolie, Beau & Bella
  • Buford
Me with my muse, Bailey!

About Allison Shamrell Photography:

Thanks for visiting my blog! My name is Allison, and I know you love your dogs. This blog (and my business) is all about helping you CELEBRATE them! I work in San Diego, CA, on location and in-studio, capturing the personalities of dogs large and small. My photography style is natural, playful & soulful.

Here on my blog, I tell the stories of recent sessions and events. You might even find an insight or two into the behind-the-scenes side of my business! I hope you have fun looking around!

If you would like to receive a quick little email to let you know when I publish a new post, see the button at the bottom left of this page! Thanks! :)

Photography with Black Dogs, Featuring Biscuit & Apollo

October 30th, 2014

Owners of black dogs seem to all have the same problem in common: it’s extra-difficult to take a good photo of their pup! I can’t tell you how often I’m asked, “My dog is black, is that a problem for you?” or “All I see is a black blob when I take pictures of my dog, how do you get your photos to turn out?” And most recently, Biscuit & Apollo’s mom came to me with the same concerns. So I thought I’d gear their Sneak Peek blog post toward this problem, and hopefully answer a few questions along the way! :)

Black dogs, honestly, are no different than dogs of any other color. (Animal shelters have been trying to tell us this for years, too!) The problem most people have is with the light-absorbing quality of their fur. And unfortunately, most people test this phenomenon in pretty awful conditions, without knowing it: trying to take a picture of your black dog, somewhere inside your house, using your phone or pocket camera, is a perfect storm for blurry photos! I won’t get too technical, but the reason for this difficulty is because a camera thrives off of light (photograph translates literally to “light picture”). When you’re indoors without the powerful light of the sun, and photographing a subject that doesn’t reflect much light, with a camera that can’t adapt to these conditions, it’s no wonder people get bad results! But I explained to Biscuit & Apollo’s mom that there are two things we can do in our session to prevent any problems: A) go outside, and B) schedule our session for the best light of the day! So we headed out to her neighborhood park about an hour before sunset, and we didn’t have a single problem creating great (non-blurry) portraits of her dogs! :)


Take a look: this is Apollo, the handsome lab mix. His fur is 90% black, with a few white patches on his chest, neck & paws (and a few random hairs on his face too). But as you can see, with plenty of soft light, Apollo’s good looks shine through!

black dog fur



Just for fun: black dogs can be captured in action, too! No blur required. ;)

black dog photo



And here’s Apollo’s older sister, Biscuit! (She’s a Korean Jindo mix!) Doesn’t she have a lovely smile? Her fur isn’t all black either, but the same rules apply.

black dog photo



They are so cute, right?! Such happy dogs!

black dogs photo


Barbara, thanks for a super-fun photo session!  I’ll be in touch with the rest of your photos very soon! :)


If you’re interested in more pet photography tips, check out my featured Top 10 Tips post on the FACE Foundation blog! Thanks for reading!


San Diego Mutts Dexter & Rocco!

October 29th, 2014

When you see these adorable San Diego mutts’ faces, you’re going to swear that they’re related – but Dexter & Rocco are brothers by adoption, not blood! These pups are practically clones of each other, but ironically, their personalities couldn’t be more different. Dexter is the old man, slow to get around and always happy to lay down & relax. He’s a total mama’s boy and is rarely more than a few feet from his mom, Paula! Rocco, on the other hand, is a completely independent spirit. He’s energetic, ball-obsessed (seriously: obsessed) and will do anything in the world for a treat. I had a simply wonderful time in their backyard as we played fetch, tested their obedience skills, and relaxed with mom & dad!


 This is Rocco! He’s a relatively small dog, but like I said, he has a huge personality! I think I took this photo a nanosecond before he jumped up & ran over to me, demanding the treat that I’d promised him, haha!

san diego mutt



And here’s Dexter… don’t you love that sweet old face?! I can’t get enough of his happy smile! This is a new favorite image for me… and it’s one of the few in which Dexter isn’t velcro’ed to his mom’s side. He is simply devoted to her.

san diego mutt



These dogs are nearly identical – in coloring, body structure, practically everything… even down to their paws! (But now you can see how much bigger Dexter is than Rocco; isn’t it incredible how they look so similar despite their different backgrounds?)

san diego mutts


Paula & Marc, I had a simply fabulous (and slightly exhausting) time with you both! Thanks for being so much fun – I can’t wait to show you the rest of our photos! :)


Pet Photography in Balboa Park, Featuring Harvey & Batgirl!

October 26th, 2014

Most of my clients are people I’ve never met before; they might have found my information & portfolio online, or maybe they saw my work hanging in a local boutique, or perhaps we met at a recent dog-friendly event. But my latest session came about as a result of a very different introduction: we met in sixth grade! Haha, my newest client Nicole & I go way back: we played basketball on the same team in middle school, went to high school together, and recently reunited when I moved to San Diego! She’s from Portland too, but moved to San Diego after college to study speech-language pathology, and now she lives here & works in a local elementary school. She was one of the very few people I knew in San Diego when Mr. Shamrell & I moved here last year, and when she said she wanted to introduce me to her dogs for a photo session, I was absolutely thrilled! It’s not every day that I get to work with someone that I’ve known for more than ten years! We used to sit in class together, run up & down the basketball court together… and now, years later, I get to create images of her beautiful family! It’s a bit surreal, but so fun! :)

So I met Harvey & Batgirl for a bit of pet photography in Balboa Park. They’re two little partners in crime that definitely keep their parents busy. Batgirl is the ringleader, for sure – an adorable French bulldog with all the attitude her little body can possibly hold. Harvey is a strikingly handsome shepherd mix, who loves to be social and generally follows his sister’s lead. They’re a super-cute pair and both of them were so much fun to work with!


 This is Batgirl! She’s hands-down one of the smartest & most willful dogs I’ve ever met. This pup will figure out a way to get what she wants, no matter what it is! (But usually it’s a water bottle. She loves water bottles.)

pet photography balboa park


 This is Harvey, taking a rest after playing a quick game of fetch. And this photo is a great example of why I always insist on scheduling sessions for the hour before sunset; just look at that light on his fur!

pet photo balboa park



And while I don’t usually post photos with people in them here on the blog, Nicole & Jon are just going to have to forgive me for this one! How adorable is this family?! :)

pet photography balboa park


Nicole & Jon, I had so much fun with all four of you! I can’t wait to show you all the rest of our photos! :)


Studio Photos of Dogs Chloe & Emma, Chocolate Labs in San Diego

October 25th, 2014

I have a couple of familiar faces for you to see today! Regular blog readers might remember Emma & Chloe, from their outdoor photo session in Rancho Santa Fe back in April. Well, the product collection that their parents picked out included a future photo session, and since we spent their first session around their house & neighborhood, they decided it’d be a nice change of pace to visit the studio this time! So we had a great second photo session together!

One of the goals for this session was to get a bigger variety of images for Emma & Chloe’s premium album, which I’ll be designing for their parents very soon. So we tested their obedience here in the studio, with plenty of sit-stays and down-stays. The girls did great – even Emma the puppy, who at only 14 months old, is already bigger than her 5-year-old sister Chloe! (She was much smaller back in April!) Emma definitely had plenty of energy, and at times wanted to run around like we were outside again, but she was so happy to sit for treats that we were able to get a few relatively-calm-looking photos too, haha! :)


Here’s Emma, the “puppy”. This photo is a great example of why I love studio photos of dogs: they’re just simple. All the focus is on how beautiful the dog is, and there aren’t any extra environmental elements that might be distracting or cluttering up the image. It’s simply your dog, in all her beauty.

studio photos of dogs



This is Chloe, her older sister. She’s a gorgeous dog.

studio photos of dogs



studio photo of dog


Ray & Monica, I’m excited to see you both back in the studio again! Thanks for all the extra playtime with your pups! :)



English Bulldogs Delilah & Bella in the San Diego Studio!

October 23rd, 2014

First of all: these are two adorable English bulldogs, and if you recognize them, don’t tell their father about their photo session! Delilah & Bella’s mom organized this session as a surprise for their dad’s birthday; little does he know, in a few weeks he’s going to go out for a nice night with his wife, but before dinner, they’re stopping by the studio to see all the photos of their dogs! How fun is that?! It’s going to be a huge surprise, so if you know these pups, don’t mention anything to their dad! :)

Delilah & Bella are two sweet English bulldogs with huge, matching underbites that would make a dentist cringe. (Bella’s is so big that her tongue permanently hangs out the side of her mouth!) But don’t worry; they’re perfectly healthy and their underbites only add to their charm. At 8 years old, Delilah is a bit more content to sit (or lay) as close to her people as possible. Bella, who’s 4 years old, has a bit more energy to run around & explore her surroundings – but let’s be honest, their favorite thing to do is always just relax! They are English bulldogs, after all! So for our photo session, we definitely tuckered them out, asking them to pose on the backdrop for us… but I’m loving how their images turned out, so all that exercise was definitely worth it. :)



This is Delilah! Isn’t she just beautiful? I love her smile!

 english bulldog san diego



And this is Bella – such a happy dog!

happy english bulldog



And here they are, posing for the cutest Christmas card I’ve ever seen. I mean… really. Reindeer ears. They’re just too much! :)

 english bulldogs san diego



Jen, it was so much fun meeting you & your girls! I’m so excited to reveal our surprise to your hubby soon! :)



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