• 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! :)

Studio Dog Photos of Nina & Toby in San Diego, CA

September 18th, 2014

I’ve always loved the way dogs look up at their owners. I adore the happy, loving look in a dog’s eyes as they keep an eye on their mom or dad, checking to make sure that everything is okay, and letting them know that they’re ready to play at a moment’s notice. That joyful glow somehow reveals their boundless trust and devotion. Sometimes all I have to do is look down at my Bailey, and she starts wagging her tail…

This sneak peek of Nina & Toby’s photo session includes two photos featuring “the look”. Nina & Toby are great dogs – happy, confident pooches with exuberant energy – and I got to see all sides of their personalities during their time in the studio. They didn’t “sit” or “stay” every time we asked them to (although they had much more obedience under their belts than the average dog, that’s for sure!), but I noticed that they were constantly looking to their parents for guidance & love. And honestly, if they didn’t listen to a command, it was only to come wiggling over to their parents for pets & attention! So I think two of my favorite images from their session are moments in which they had that look in their eyes; the look of wanting to please and wanting to love, the look of dogged devotion. And I just can’t get enough of it!


This is Toby, the younger & more free-spirited of the two. He’s a lab mix, with an intriguing coat that seems to be halfway between brown & black… and of course that big lab grin!

studio dog photo 1


And this is Nina, a gorgeous German shepherd girl – and let me tell you, my camera loves her! Aren’t shepherds beautiful?!

studio dog photo 2


We spent a bit of time on the white and the gray backdrops… and honestly, I’m not sure which “look” I like better! Every studio dog photography session client has their choice of white, gray & black backdrops, and we’ll often switch halfway through the session for an interesting variety of final images. Nina & Toby look good everywhere, apparently! :)

studio dog photos


Elyse & Obed, I had a wonderful time with all four of you! Can’t wait to see you again soon! :)


Ocean Beach Pet Photography Session with Yoda & Obi-Wan!

September 15th, 2014

I shared a gorgeous & fun-filled Ocean Beach pet photography session with two adorable chihuahua mixes recently! As you might guess from their names, their parents are Star Wars fans – but I was surprised to learn that their personalities have almost nothing in common with their namesakes! Yoda, for example, is full of energy and ball-crazy; she could play fetch for hours! And while she’s technically the “older and wiser” of the sisters, she didn’t remind me at all of the serene, serious character from the Star Wars stories. And Obi-Wan (wasn’t that the Jedi who trained Luke Skywalker?) is a goofy, dancing-and-spinning, little-sister personality that, well, probably wouldn’t be fit for teaching one of the most powerful Jedis in the universe. She was adopted from Second Chance Rescue (Yoda is from Helen Woodward Animal Center), and she wasn’t exactly a planned addition to the family – but once Yoda’s parents saw Obi’s cute little face, they couldn’t say no! And what’s even more exciting about this session: this family is expecting a baby soon! I’m sure Yoda & Obi will be fantastic big sisters… so for now, their mom & dad wanted to commemorate the beauty of their family before it changes with the new addition. What a wonderful reason to have a pet photography session, don’t you think?


This is Yoda! She’s proof that the term “ball-obsessed” isn’t just for labradors.

ocean beach pet photo


Okay, fine, I suppose those EARS are pretty true to her namesake!

ocean beach pet photography


And here’s Obi-Wan, or Obi for short. This is her treat face – “Treat? Can I have it? Gimme the treat? PLEASE?”

ocean beach pet photography


Aaaaand there’s her happy face. She’s a little athlete, just like her sister!

pet photography ocean beach



Lesli & Stephen, thank you for showing me around your neighborhood! I had a wonderful time with you both – and I can’t wait to share more photos with you soon! :)


Kendall & Raven: Rancho Santa Fe Dog Photography

September 12th, 2014

I absolutely loved this Rancho Santa Fe dog photography session! These beautiful sisters are Kendall & Raven, and they visited the studio before showing me around their home & backyard for their photo session! These girls are complete opposites – Kendall has been a part of the family for many years, whereas Raven is an 8-month-old puppy. Kendall is content to lay by the stairs of the pool and drink a bit of water, but for Kendall, it’s not an afternoon at the pool unless she’s jumped in after her tennis ball and gotten completely soaking wet – and then laid on the outdoor furniture right afterwards, to make it sure became just as wet. Of course. Kendall doesn’t move very fast anymore (she’s the slow but steady type), but Raven is about as fast-moving and wiggly as you can possibly imagine!

But these dogs have plenty in common, too – most of all, both of them are complete sweethearts. They couldn’t be happier pups, and I know their family loves them so, so much. So it was an honor to meet these beautiful sisters, and spend the afternoon playing in the studio and in their pool together!


Raven is the black lab on the left, and Kendall is the yellow lab on the right. In this photo they’re looking up at their mom; don’t you love the sweetness in their eyes? :)

rancho santa fe dog photographer


This is Kendall’s favorite spot in their house! Her mom opens up the front doors and Kendall lays here, soaking up the sun, and keeping watch over everything just inside the doors. Have you ever seen a more welcoming face?!

rancho santa fe dog photography


Some dogs have me laughing for our entire session – and Raven was one of those dogs! She was hilarious from the moment she stepped into the studio and had to be slowly convinced that the backdrop wasn’t a painful terrible thing (we eventually convinced her)… to the moment we posed her next to a few flowers, she decided to “stop and smell the roses”, and the next thing we knew she coughed out dozens of petals! Haha! This little cutie is almost too much to handle…

rancho santa fe dog photography



Deb & Kit, thank you for an absolutely fabulous afternoon. I simply couldn’t be more excited about our photos! I’ll see you again soon, but please give your girls a hug for me in the meantime! :)


Allison Shamrell Pet Photography has been voted the Best Pet Photographer in San Diego!

September 8th, 2014

Last week, the results of the San Diego A-List contest were revealed – and Allison Shamrell Pet Photography was awarded FIRST PLACE! I’m so incredibly excited to be named the Best Pet Photographer in San Diego!!!


best pet photographer in san diego


When I moved here last year, honestly, I was scared. I had no idea what the future held. I didn’t know if I could keep my business going in a new city, a place much bigger than where I had come from. I was optimistic, sure, and ready to work my booty off – but there were no guarantees. I was so, so thrilled when those first few inquiries came in, just as excited as I was back in 2010 when my first-ever clients came calling. It was a humility check, to go from the top of the market in Pensacola to the new kid on the block in San Diego. I saw the looks on people’s faces when I said “I’m a photographer, but I’m new to San Diego,” knowing that anyone could describe themselves that way… so why was I any different?


san diego best pet photographer


So if you’d told me back then that I’d be voted San Diego’s Best Pet Photographer just one year later, I probably would have laughed you out of the room. And even when the voting started several weeks ago, I shrugged and thought “well, we’ll see how this goes.” So Mr. Shamrell voted for me, and so did my mom, haha (thanks again Mom!). But then so did people that had seen my work on Facebook. Then my clients started voting for me… and even more than that, I heard from several clients that passed the link on to their friends & family! One client emailed me and said “I have already heard back from 3 friends that they voted for you.  Sent it out to about 13 so hopefully they will all vote.” I was floored! Absolutely stunned! Linda, ColleenSarah, I’m looking at you – I owe you HUGE thanks for spreading the word larger than just my network of people. Receiving that kind of support was an incredible feeling.


best pet photographer in san diego


It’s so often that when challenges come up, and we overcome them – well heck I’m really talking about myself, so okay, when I overcome a certain challenge – no matter how big or how small, by the time it’s resolved, there are five more issues on my plate to work through. Five more sessions to edit, five more albums to design, etc. So I get trapped in this cycle of working hard, and achieving the result I wanted, but not taking the time to celebrate or even acknowledge that it’s done because I suddenly have other things to deal with. The life of a business owner, right? So I think that if the San Diego A-List didn’t exist, I would have spent this time working with clients as usual, and never known that I needed to slow down and say, wait a minute, this was successful. My first year in business here was better than good, it was great, and it deserves to be celebrated! So this award has been a personal blessing, simply because it made me stop and realize that the awful fear & uncertainty I was feeling last year has gone away. And maybe I wouldn’t have realized that without the San Diego A-List; maybe I would have kept working and thinking “well at least I’m still here, right?” … Well, it turns out, I’m more than just “still here”. And for me, this is a great reminder to acknowledge and celebrate that!


bet pet photography in San Diego


Another part of what makes this so incredible is the fact that I have great relationships with the other pet photographers in town. I really do! Terran, Jen, Mike & Tee, just to name a few – I know them all personally and they’re truly great people. We all have different styles, and the right client for me is simply a different person than Mike & Tee’s ideal client. We offer entirely different experiences, and when I can tell that someone is looking for an experience that’s more in line with what they have to offer, I’m quick to refer that person to them, because I know it’s simply a better fit. Sure, we’re all photographers – but we’re all so different! In fact, want to know something that will probably sound crazy? I don’t believe in competition. I really don’t. Not when you have a potential client that’s willing to shop around, investigate different photographers, and take a look at their styles & personalities. At that point, that person will almost always end up gravitating toward a certain photographer… because that’s the best fit for them! I absolutely love it when my clients say they found me via Google, because then I know they’ve done their research! And at that point we always get along fabulously, and the experience is exactly in tune with their expectations, if not better. Now that’s a match made in heav- er, Google! :)


best studio pet photographer


I know I’ve rambled a bit here… it’s just because winning this award brings up several different feelings for me. It’s not as simple as “yay I won” – it means a LOT more to me than that. So to everyone who voted: thank you. Thank you so, so much. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. And I hope you know that it doesn’t mean – as the Best Pet Photographer in San Diego – that I’m about to sit back and relax. I’m going to keep pushing forward, keep working hard, and keep making sure each of my clients has a better experience than they could have imagined. Because that’s always been my standard – and there’s certainly no reason for it to change now!


Del Mar Beach Photo Session: Jilli the Golden Retriever Mix!

September 4th, 2014

I enjoyed a lovely Del Mar beach photo session with Jilli and her family recently! Jilli is a golden retriever/Australian shepherd mixed breed dog that lives in Santee, whom I met months ago at the Navy Woof Walk. We finally had the chance to get together for a custom photo session – and we picked a gorgeous night to visit the Del Mar beach! The sun was shining and the temperature was moderate, not too hot and not too cold… I couldn’t have asked for a better evening!

Jilli’s dad is in the Coast Guard, and he’s out of town on assignment rather often. So as a result, whenever he is in town, Jilli always wants to see her parents together – and she gets anxious anytime her dad leaves out of sight, even if it’s just for a few minutes! (We had a joyous reunion when he came back from getting a forgotten toy from the car!) I thought that was so cute; she really loves her family and wants to see her parents together & happy. She’s a total sweetheart!


We actually started our session at Powerhouse Park, a small grassy area next to the beach. I love this spot because it gives us a park-like setting & feel, but the beach is just a few yards away! Super convenient, if you ask me!

del mar dog photo shoot


 We played an intense game of fetch…

del mar dog photo session


 And of course, we made our way down to the coast – and as soon as her paws hit the sand Jilli promptly decided to rush into the ocean! So as a result we don’t have any “dry” pictures in this setting… but hey, how many dogs actually stay dry once they get to the beach? :)

del mar beach photo session



Kerry & Darnell, I had an absolutely wonderful time with you three! I’m excited to keep working on Jilli’s photos – we have so many cute ones! :)



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