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Me with my muse, Bailey!

About Allison Shamrell Photography:

Thanks for visiting my blog! My name is Allison, and I work in San Diego, CA, capturing the personalities of dogs and cats of all sizes & temperaments. I do photo sessions on location and in-studio, wherever my clients prefer! 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! :)

619-357-6624  ~  Allison@AllisonShamrell.com  ~  3251 Adams Avenue, Suite C, San Diego, CA 92116

Officially Voted the Best Pet Photographer in San Diego, by the 2014 San Diego A-List.

Sir Truffle, the Cutest Scottie Dog in Little Italy!

February 23rd, 2015

Prepare to say “awwwww”!

I’m pretty sure my jaw fell open to the ground when Sir Truffle the Scottish terrier walked into my studio for the first time. He’s definitely one of the most adorable dogs I’ve ever seen, and he has a happy personality that goes perfectly with his good looks! Truffle lives in Little Italy, and his mom tells me that they constantly get stopped on the street by strangers for photos… looks like I’m not the only one who enjoys having him in front of my lens, haha! And while he’s a minor celebrity in his neighborhood, one day his parents stopped into Hairy & Merry and saw my artwork on the walls – and then they knew they wanted a studio photo session! So Truffle visited the studio with his parents for a bit of posing, treat-eating & ball-playing… and we had a great time! :)

On a slightly more serious note, I just want to mention that this session was an incredible reminder of why I do what I do. Readers of the UT San Diego’s local section may remember reading about Truffle’s dad in an awe-inspiring article about his journey through amnesia… being able to give this family images of themselves & their furry family member have rarely taken on such deep meaning for me. I’m so honored to know Truffle & his parents, and document the love they all have for one another. On days when Photoshop freezes, or my labs print the wrong images, or traffic makes me late to a client meeting, the meaning behind sessions like this make it all worthwhile.


Here he is, getting comfortable in the studio… both legs splayed out back, classic terrier style!

scottish terrier


 I just love that grin – could you possibly resist that face?!

scottish terrier san diego


 And we brought out the gray backdrop for a different look… I love Truffle either way, but this might be my favorite!

scottie dog little italy


Syrisa & Kurt, thank you so much for introducing me to your handsome boy. I had a great time with all three of you & can’t wait to see you again soon!


Downtown San Diego Pet Photography Session with Pepper, Carlitos & Winston

February 19th, 2015

I’ll be honest with you: it’s not every day that I get to do a downtown San Diego pet photography session! I mean, San Diego has so many great outdoor locations, that I often find myself at a beach or a park for the seventh time in a row… but this indoor, high-rise photo session was a breath of fresh air and a total change of pace for me! It was so much fun to see where these dogs spend each of their days, and I think the photos are extra-personal because of the location. Their condo overlooks the gorgeous San Diego harbor, and all the soft, neutral tones their parents chose for their decor combined to make the perfect backdrop for these lovely pups! And let me warn you: if you like little dogs, you’re going to adore these three siblings! :)


This is Pepper! Pepper is the youngest of the bunch & the only Yorkie, always ready for more attention & love. How funny is that little tongue? :)

downtown san diego


 Oh my gosh… Carlitos. Stop it. You are way too cute!! Carlitos is a Maltese from Brazil, and I just can’t get over his one floppy ear. He belongs in the toy basket, all right – this is one cute dog!

downtown san diego dog


 And finally, this is Winston with his mom, Khat. Winston (also a Maltese) isn’t doing so well these days – he’s blind & deaf, and recently received a sad diagnosis from the vet. But his mother is making sure he’s absolutely surrounded by love & care, for all the time he has left.

downtown san diego photo session


Khat, thank you so much for inviting me to your beautiful home & introducing me to your wonderful dogs! I can’t wait to get together & show you the rest of our photos very soon! :)


Rita, the San Diego Mixed Breed Dog

February 17th, 2015

If you were to ask me which breeds make up Rita’s heritage, I would be at a total loss to answer your question. I mean, honestly – it’s anyone’s guess! She’s a gorgeous dog, with the biggest & sweetest eyes, and she could be anything from boxer to lab to pit bull to terrier to shepherd to hound… it’s a mystery! What we do know is that she was rescued out of Rosarito, Mexico by Baja Animal Sanctuary about fourteen years ago. Since then, she’s lived with her mom, Laura, in San Diego, “happily ever after”… these two are super-close and I loved photographing their relationship. Truthfully, I think some of the images I captured of both of them together are my favorites from the whole session… but I know that my human subjects like to “approve” their photos before I post them online, so this sneak peek will be all about Rita!


Rita is extremely shy – you may not be able to tell from these photos, but she really is. She typically sticks to her mom like velcro, but we made friends during our Pre-Session Consultation… and then she warmed up to the camera even more with a few treats as persuasion! :)

san diego mixed breed dog


After a few indoor photos, we ventured outside to Rita’s “yard” – a.k.a. UCSD’s campus! She & her parents live there, since her dad works for the university, and her walks include smelling & rolling around in the grassy quads.

san diego mixed breed doggy


Did I mention that Rita is a total sucker for treats? ;)

san diego mixed breed dog


Laura & Dave, I had a great time with you & Rita during our session! I can’t wait to show you the rest of our photos soon!


Our Experience with Terri Steuben, Animal Communicator

February 11th, 2015

Bailey, Mr. Shamrell & I had a very interesting Saturday morning!

Months ago, I heard of Terri Steuben, a professional animal communicator who lives just south of LA. She visits San Diego regularly often, and I’d seen her booth at a few pet events where I had my own booth as well. Simply knowing about her career was enough to pique my interest – she communicates with animals? How? What could that possibly mean? I was a bit skeptical, to be honest with you, since the idea of psychic/telepathic communication brings up memories of cheap tricks at the county fair & conspiracy theorists who say they were abducted by aliens, haha. I’m not the type to get suckered in by outlandish claims & shock-value advertising… or at least I’d like to think I’m not! But after browsing the testimonials & videos on her website I was impressed – I really was. There were no sensational claims, just happy stories about improved relationships & healed medical issues. Terri seemed to truly love animals, and I got the feeling that her mission is to improve the lives of pets & their owners. Clearly there was something else entirely from what I expected going on here. Mr. Shamrell, on the other hand, is even less easily impressed; he agreed to the consultation but wasn’t nearly as excited about it as I was! I made him promise to have an open mind about it, though, and he agreed that he would.

So we scheduled our meeting, and bright & early one morning, Terri knocked on our door! At first, Bailey was incredibly excited to see Terri & jumped on her lap several times – but then again, she does that with pretty much everyone! :) But soon enough, it became clear that she was acting slightly differently with Terri than the average guest in our house… and then our conversation began.


animal communicator


We learned all kinds of incredible information. We learned about where Bailey came from before we adopted her at six months old… how she feels about car rides… what’s her favorite kind of food… what she thinks & does when we leave the house… why she hates the mailman… how she feels about the fact that I work with dogs… why she jumped out of an open window one night… how she feels about adopting a new puppy brother/sister… who she likes going on walks with… just about everything! Our questions spanned the gamut from trivial to fundamental, and nothing was off limits. Our biggest question for Terri was why Bailey doesn’t get along with certain dogs; we’ve found that she can’t resist playing with some dogs but will start displaying negative body language as soon as she sees others. We’ve never really understood why Bailey immediately likes some dogs & dislikes others. The answer was surprisingly simple: “she just doesn’t like ‘em.” Terri told us about all kinds of non-verbal, non-physical communication that goes on between dogs, and how Bailey can understand the personalities of other dogs much better than we can. So then we learned helpful tips to make sure a negative encounter doesn’t happen in the future, on walks & in dog parks. Sooo useful! Questions like that had been weighing on our minds for months now, so it was a huge relief to get them answered… and then in the next minute we learned that Bailey prefers cheddar cheese (orange) to mozzarella (white)! Silly little things that had us laughing. What an incredible hour!

All in all, it was an amazing & eye-opening experience, and I can’t recommend Terri highly enough. I wanted to share my experience with all of you because animal communication might be something that you’ve never heard of before, or were perhaps skeptical about… and while I certainly can’t speak for any other communicators, Terri is the real deal. I really think that if there’s anything you want to clarify with your dog, or any behavioral issues you want to address, this is definitely a viable route to take. I could go on much longer about everything we learned, but Bailey doesn’t want me to give away all of her secrets! ;)

If you’re curious about a consultation with your pet(s), even if you live far away from Southern California, visit Terri’s website and give her a call. I’m sure she’d be happy to answer your questions! (And tell her I said hi!)


Tourmaline Beach Photo Session with Marina the Husky/Pit Bull Mix

February 9th, 2015

I met Marina & her parents at Tourmaline Beach for her photo session recently, and I learned very quickly that Marina loves the beach! Luckily, her family lives a short walking distance from the coast, so this is their favorite beach to visit together after work & on the weekends. Marina was so excited to be there, tugging on her leash and dashing from side to side as soon as we hit the sand – you’d have thought it was her first time there, but nope, she’s a regular! Haha! Don’t you love that contagious canine excitement?


Marina is a husky/pit bull mix, which means she has a LOT of energy. And boy did she let it out – every time she fetched the tennis ball, she’d sprint off & take it for a big, winding “victory lap” all around the beach! It was so cute – she paraded the ball around, as if to say “hey everyone, look what I got!” She’s a total sweetheart, and wanted to play with every dog that walked by, too. I absolutely loved capturing her spirited action on the beach – she definitely kept my shutter finger busy! :)


Here she is, happy as a clam to be at the beach again. Look at those eyes!

beach dog


Sometimes (rarely) Marina likes to slow down and enjoy the view. (Only for a minute, and then she’s off again!)

pit mix tourmaline beach


Her face is so beautiful… isn’t she a unique dog?

tourmaline beach dog


Okay, okay, one more photo… I caught this blooper as she was shaking off from one of her many laps around the beach!

tourmaline beach dog photo



Sarah & Steve, thank you so much for introducing me to your gorgeous girl! And now, I have plenty of action photos to sort through… :)



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