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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.

Service Dog Photography – Aberdeen in San Diego, CA

January 30th, 2015

In the past, I’ve done a bit of service dog photography with puppies in training, but I have to admit: this was my very first full-length photo session with a fully-trained, active service dog! I wasn’t sure what to expect, honestly: the service dogs I’ve photographed in the past were adorable puppies, not yet fully grown & only somewhat aware of the huge responsibility they’d have one day. Aberdeen, on the other hand, is an 8-year-old labrador/golden retriever dog who’s been with his owner, Patty, for years now! He’s an absolutely incredible dog – cheerful, helpful & amazingly intuitive – and it was such a thrill for me to work with a dog who’s doing his job at the same time I’m doing mine! :)

Aberdeen is from Canine Companions for Independence, a fantastic organization dedicated to providing impeccably-trained dogs to veterans & people with disabilities. And even though I’ve gotten to know a few puppy raisers in the past, talking with Patty & learning about Aberdeen’s upbringing was a truly educational experience for me. For example, I learned that CCI keeps cats around their facility all the time: they let them wander around, take naps & greet visitors around the dogs, because their dogs need to be comfortable with cats out in the world. (What a different upbringing, compared to my Bailey who’s terrified of cats! Haha!)

Anyways, I get to show you lots of photos today, because Patty chose the photo session option that allows us to visit as many places as we want! So we started off at her home in Ocean Beach, we took a walk around her neighborhood, swung by Sunset Cliffs, and we also visited Starbucks because Aberdeen loves to carry Patty’s bag of purchases & soak in all the attention he invariably gets! But before we could visit the San Diego Yacht Club like we planned, the weather interfered with thick overcast clouds… so next week we’ll be picking up where we left off! In the meantime, I simply can’t wait to share these images with you – and now you can officially count me in as a big fan of service dog photography! :)


Look at that handsome smile! Aberdeen loves relaxing in the backyard with his mom – plus, his yard is a photographer’s dream.

service dog photo


Always helpful!

service dog


Sunset Cliffs looks good on you, Aberdeen! Don’t you love the blues of the ocean & sky with his jet-black fur?

service dog photography


Aberdeen’s favorite place: right by Patty’s side.

service dog photo session


Oh my goodness – every time we’d reach in the treat bag (which was actually just his kibble, since Aberdeen has a sensitive tummy) he’d majorly tilt his head! Just like a puppy! Aaaaah, too cute!!

service dog cute photo


I’m so glad we were at Sunset Cliffs at sunset. It’s too pretty to miss.

service dog photography



Patty, thank you so much for introducing me to your sweet boy! I’m excited for our next adventure! :)


Outdoors-Loving Dogs Emerson, Russell & Bells!

January 24th, 2015

In any career, I think, there are projects that go smoothly and projects that, well, don’t go as smoothly. And it’s no different for me; honestly, most of my sessions are scheduled without any issues, go off without a hitch, and there aren’t any moments of unexpectedness, confusion or frustration. Unfortunately, though, this was NOT one of those sessions! My clients & I truly fought the odds for Emerson, Russell & Bells’ session to happen: first, two out of three dogs were feeling bad at the beginning of the week! Bells had stepped on a stick while out for a run with her mom, and it left a gash between her paw pads… and Russell came down with a sickness that required an intestinal antibiotic for inflammation! Both dogs were feeling miserable – certainly not photo shoot-ready – and so we had to play it by ear & see how they were feeling by the end of the week. Luckily, they felt better, and despite a random case of car sickness on their way to the studio, our session started smoothly… but then we pulled up to our second location, and found that the parks service had locked us out!! We had our hearts set on visiting Lake Sutherland, but it turns out you can’t get down to the lake unless it’s fishing season… which starts in March. Gah!!! But we turned a negative into a positive by finding a couple of amazing spots to work in, just off the road, which worked absolutely perfectly – they were totally unique and we definitely wouldn’t have the photos that we have now (with gorgeous vistas & long, flowing grasses) if we’d gone straight down to the water’s edge! So despite the – ahem – difficulties, we ended up having a fantastic session & I’m loving our photos of these outdoors-loving dogs! :)


This is Bells, the tough little cattle dog mix who hurt her paw just a few days before our session. She goes on runs with her mom all the time, and we knew we wanted a photo of her “wearing” her mom’s running shoes – how cute is this?! Haha!

dog running shoes



This gorgeous mutt is Russell, the usually-healthy dog who came down with a bit of sickness. He was completely back to being himself again in time for our session – and I’m so glad, because I just love his smile! He’s a labrador mix (with pit bull? Great Dane?) and a goofy, happy boy.

dog hike photo


And here’s Emerson, the handsome chocolate lab. He tested my skills on getting his ears perked up for his photos; usually that’s a tricky thing to do with greyhounds & whippets, but not labs! Emerson is old & wise, though, and he’d (apparently) seen pretty much all of my tricks before. Good thing I still had a couple up my sleeve, though – that ears-up profile is too good-looking to miss out on!

outdoors dog photo



Shaela & Chris, thank you for battling the odds with me! I can’t wait to show you the rest of our photos soon! :)


Mission Hills Pet Photography Session: Penny & Buddy

January 21st, 2015

First of all: if you recognize the dogs in this Mission Hills pet photography session, don’t say anything to their dad (Philip)! He doesn’t know that I’ve met his pups; this photo session is a surprise gift from his thoughtful spouse! So please don’t spoil the surprise for us? :)


Anyways – this lovely afternoon photo session features two dogs with very different personalities! Buddy the goldendoodle is a 4-year-old goofball, who loves to be the center of attention! He adores his parents, and he’s also incredibly bonded to his older sister, Penny. She’s a 14-year-old labrador, a gorgeous old girl with pure white fur, and the most soulful eyes you’ve ever seen. Unfortunately, just last week Penny was diagnosed with cancer, and that’s why I was able to fit these dogs so quickly into my schedule – I always save room amongst my regular clients for emergencies like this. So although the initial circumstances were sad, I had a wonderful time with these happy pups around their house, backyard & neighborhood. We thought about visiting a beach or nearby park, but Penny doesn’t get around too easily anymore, and Buddy never wants to be more than a few yards away from her – he’s a very considerate younger brother, even slowing down on walks so she can catch up! So we stayed close to home & simply relaxed. Their bond was absolutely gorgeous to witness, and I loved getting to know these pooches – not to mention the fact that being able to work in their gorgeous home in Mission Hills was icing on the cake!


How cute is Buddy?! I love that classic goldendoodle fluffy fur!

mission hills pet photo


Turns out, Buddy is excellent at posing, too!

mission hills pet dog


And this too-sweet-for-words face belongs to Penny. Can you even handle that smile?!

mission hills pet photography


Oh Penny. You’re such a good girl.

mission hills labrador dog



Thanks again for a great afternoon, Kevin! I can’t wait to reveal our surprise soon… please give Penny a hug for me in the meantime! :)


Beautiful San Diego Cats – Azula & Apollo

January 20th, 2015

I was thrilled to share a photo session with these gorgeous San Diego cats recently – and so early into 2015, too! (Who knows, maybe 2015 will be the year of the cat!)  Azula & Apollo’s mom saw my portraits of Tori the cat hanging on the walls at Earthwise Pet Supply last year, and my schedule finally had an opening for our session in January. Meeting these two felines was such a treat for me! Born just a few weeks apart, Azula is an Abyssinian & Apollo is an ocicat. They’re both strikingly beautiful, and incredibly athletic too! We played with toys & snacked on a few treats inside the house, and then went out in the garden for a few “environmental” photos, too… all the while, I couldn’t stop ooh-ing and ahh-ing over how gorgeous these cats are. So it’s my pleasure to introduce them both to you today!


This is Apollo, the boy! He loves toys, but he’s a considerate older brother; if Azula is playing with a new toy (she only prefers the new ones) he’ll wait until she’s done with it to pounce on it for himself! What a sweet guy. :)

ocicat san diego



 And this wild girl is Azula! She requires adult supervision when she’s out in the garden; she actually tried to make a jump for freedom (a.k.a. over the fence) during our session! Crazy kitty!

abyssinian san diego



Both cats enjoy exploring this massive stone oven in their courtyard; I just love that natural feline curiosity.

san diego cats



Liliya & Jeff, thank you for introducing me to your cats (and your parents)! I can’t wait to show you the rest of our photos soon!



Best of 2014 Pet Photography in San Diego

January 14th, 2015

I have a treat for you today! I’ve spent a bit of time recently putting together a massive blog post… and it features my favorite images from all of 2014! That’s right, an entire year, summed up into one blog post! I picked three photos from each session I photographed, and let me tell you, limiting these “favorites” down to just three of each family was hard! But I’m excited to show you the final result… so settle in for a whole bunch of puppy cuteness coming your way! The photos are in in alphabetical order, by each pets’  names, and I’ll try to resist making comments on every single one… but I can’t make any promises, haha! I’m so excited to introduce you to EACH of my amazing clients! So here we go… it’s the Best of 2014!



 This is Annabel, the corgi! How cute is she, hiding in the grass?

cute corgi san diego


 … and rolling in it?!

corgi in grass in san diego


 I love this pup. Such a happy dog.

cute corgi photo



 This is Bailey and his family! Aren’t they beautiful?

modern family photo san diego


I think this photo might have ended up on their Christmas card…

black and white family photo


 Ahhh, the colors in the sky that night were incredible…

dog photo san diego



 This is Beatrix, the border collie puppy! She was just 10 weeks old when I met her!

san diego puppy photo


Those ears. Stop it right now.

cute puppy san diego


 She’s so beautiful! Can’t you just tell she’s going to grow up into a gorgeous dog?

border collie puppy



 This is Bella, and as you can see, she’s an award-winning dog! Check out all her obedience titles!

award winning dog


 Turns out, she’s smart and beautiful! :)

black and white dog


 And this is her best friend, Phelan the Keeshond! Doesn’t he just glow in the late afternoon sunlight?

keeshond san diego pet



 This cutie is Belle, hiding in the grass just off the beach in Del Mar! She’s a Bichon Frise!

bichon frise san diego


This photo graced the front of Belle’s family’s Christmas card this year, and I just about died laughing when I saw it! How cute is she?!

doggy christmas card


Okay, this is a close second place for a cute Christmas card photo! :)

family christmas photo



This is PeeWee, a cat that lives in Kensington with her canine siblings, Bernie & Stella. (You can see Stella in the reflection of the window here!)

cute cat window


 Bernie and his mom, on the beach in San Diego.

beach dog san diego


Bernie & Stella!

beach dogs



Here are Biscuit & Apollo, in a park just down the road from their house in northern San Diego!

happy dogs photo



black dog photo



best pet photo 2014



 This is Blitz! His stunning black fur combined with that bright pink tongue make a great combination, in my opinion… (plus, I love bloopers, haha!)

dog tongue



best family photo with dog



woman with dog



This is Bolt, the westie!

san diego westie



best westie photo


 He may be little, but he can RUN!

running dog san diego



This is Brigette, the miniature poodle! (And this is her favorite spot in the house – her parents’ bed!)

cute mini poodle


 Okay, really, this is her favorite spot: in her mother’s arms.

mini poodle san diego


 I hope her dad won’t get upset at me for posting this… but I just love the “conversation” they’re having!

family photo with poodle



This is (the silhouette of) Brizzie the labradoodle!

sunset dog photo


 Here she is, a little easier to see this time :)

labradoodle san diego



 … and this is Brizzie’s goofy sister, Dixie!

goofy golden retriever dog



This is a close-up of Butterbean, the black lab… for some reason I just love all those little bubbles & droplets on his whiskers.

dog close up photo


 He loves the water!

dog running in water


 Nobody tell Canon about this photo… I got a little too close! Oops!

shaking wet dog



This is Casper, the westie/terrier mix, in front of – where else? – the fabulous Hotel Del Coronado!

hotel del coronado dog


 He could have splashed through that gorgeous blue water all day long.

splashing dog water


 Here’s Casper & his mom – she’s the co-owner of Kensington Pet Supply!

beach dog woman



This is Chase, the bearded collie (or “beardie”) – a total goofball, as you can tell!

goofy dog photo



dog in purple water


 Playing catch at sunset? Yes please.

beach sunset photo dog



 Here are Chauncey & Grady, two adorable mutts from Kensington.

two mutts photo



cute mutt beach del mar



sunset dog silhouette



This is Chewie, the schnauzer mix!

dog on bed



dog in flowers



cute mutt san diego



This is Emma, the chocolate lab puppy…

best chocolate labrador photo


… and here’s the rest of her family! Aren’t they beautiful together?

family photo with dogs



Emma & big sister Chloe also visited the studio for a second session this year…

chocolate labradors



… so here’s another photo, just for fun! :)

happy silly dog



 This is Cleo, the terrier mix… (she has plenty to say)

terrier mix dog


and this is her brother Tucker, the chihuahua mix!

chihuahua mix


 Tucker & Cleo also joined me for another photo session outdoors, later in the year!

chihuahua mix san diego


 It was especially fun to see Cleo let loose and RUN!

dog action photo


 Plus, they brought their friend Rusty, the winking dachshund! ;)

winking dachshund dog



Here are Daisy & Duke and their mom, on the coast in Del Mar.

best beach dogs photo



walking down the beach


Ahhhh – Duke’s profile is so amazing! What a handsome dog!

best dog silhouette photo



Here’s Daisy & Mony, two pups from Carlsbad!

studio mutts photo


Mony has such a good “serious” face.

border collie san diego


You can see this photo hanging up in Colony Vet Hospital – their mom is the vet there!

cute mutt studio



 Who doesn’t love English bulldogs? These pups are named Delilah & Bella.

best english bulldogs photo


 They got a little rowdy with their Halloween costumes…

bulldogs in costumes


 … Merry Christmas? :)

funny bulldogs christmas



This is Clyde, the 8-year-old dachshund…

dachshund in studio


 … and his sister Della, the German shepherd puppy!

german shepherd puppy


 Della LOVES fetch!

german shepherd photo



These lookalike mutts are Dexter & Rocco, here in their backyard.

san diego mutts


  LOVE that face!

happy mutt san diego


Dexter is permanently attached to his mom’s side. So sweet.

woman dog backyard



This little cutie is Buster, a shih tzu in San Marcos…

shih tzu photo



 … and this is his buddy Phineas with his mom, Liz! She might be a familiar face if you’ve ever stopped into Dogs Abound – she’s the co-owner there, with Buster’s mom!

cute licking photo


 Phineas is ball-obsessed, can you tell? :)

best action dog photos



This is Ele! These sweet eyes are just too much for me to handle… how can you possibly say no to that face?

dog with owners


 You might have seen her floppy ears in person if you’ve ever visited Hairy & Merry in Little Italy! She’s the shop mascot!

best dog ears


… and apparently she thought our session was a bit boring at the end, haha!

sleeping cute cute photo



This is Faith! This adorable terrier mix lives in Point Loma.

terrier puppy


Everyone coordinated their wardrobe for our photo session! (Or I wonder if mom & dad chose their clothes to match Faith’s harness…)

terrier with family



cute terrier puppy



 This is Finn! Posing like a pro on the beach in Del Mar.

maltipoo beach photo


I love Finn’s cute family!

maltipoo family photo



maltipoo photo



 This is Fozzie…

best goldendoodle photo


… and here he is with his brother, Goober, and their parents!

dog family photo san diego


 They happen to have a nice, big backyard for Goober to wander around in.

best golden retriever photo



Oh my goodness – the head tilts on these two are too much! Here are Haley & Teddy, Australian shepherds!

australian shepherd dogs



aussie action photo



best aussie photo san diego



This too-cute-for-words puppy is Milan…

corgi puppy


… she loves her mom…

best corgi photo


 … and here’s her older brother, Harley!

corgi san diego



 This happy family includes a childhood friend of mine, and pups Harvey & Batgirl!

family with dogs



dog chasing ball



french bulldog san diego



These gorgeous goldens are named Hudson & Harley.

golden retrievers



golden retriever puppy


 Hudson loves his human siblings!

golden retriever paw



These two adventure-loving hounds are Hunter & Caymen!

dogs with barn



border collie mix



family on san diego beach



This sweet old face belongs to Izzy, a shar pei. She was recently diagnosed with cancer, unfortunately – but her treatments are going well & she’s fighting back! Yay!

shar pei dog


 And she loves her mom… very much.

shar pei san diego


 This is Izzy’s brother, Pico!

cuddly black lab mix



This is Jilli, a golden retriever/Australian shepherd mix!

dog in water



dog running on beach


 Fetch is her favorite thing. Ever.

cute dog wants to play



 Here are Kendall, Raven & their mom Deb! I must have told a funny joke… :)

dogs in studio



happy family with dogs


 Raven can’t get enough of the hose!

happy jumping dog



This is Kiva, a gorgeous rag doll cat in Del Mar.

cat in del mar


 Kitty paws! Eeek!

cat paws


 Kiva & her mom! Love them!

cat in studio



This scruffy pup is Lily, and she lives the good life with her parents in Carlsbad!

dog with flowers



best running dog photo



dog sitting at door



Lottie the Rottweiler shows off an alternative type of family photo pose…

rottweiler family photo


 She must not have gotten the “dress in white” memo. ;)

alternative family photo with dog


What a goofball!

goofy dog outdoors



This is Lucy the Jack Russell terrier puppy – or, as you may call her, Master of the Head Tilt.

puppy head tilt


 Lily’s front yard was an absolute dream to photograph in – so many fun colors & textures!

adorable jack russell terrier puppy


 But Lucy’s a puppy, after all, so by the end of her session she was totally tuckered out!

sleeping puppy



This is Lucy, a particularly regal golden retriever.



 This is Lucy’s sister, Gracie, in action…



 … and this is their baby sister, Scarlett! I have to admit, this photo is kind of a blooper, but I love A) the ball about to narrowly miss my head as it whizzes by, B) those big puppy eyes locked on her target, and C) Scarlett’s mom’s expression as she realizes that ball she just threw is almost going to hit me! Haha!




This is Maddie & her mom Leslie, in their second session with me…

woman with dog


 … I just love this silly dog! And I’m so glad to keep seeing her doing well after her cancer treatments in the past!

black mix dog san diego



sunset woman dog



This is (the bottom half of) Marley, an American Staffordshire terrier, and her mom Sarah. Marley tends to get excited and JUMP! :)

studio dog jumping


 Here she is, in her happy place.

san diego pit bull



black and white pit bull



This is Sally! She’s a sheltie, and has two brothers…

coronado sheltie


… Marty & Tag!

coronado shelties


 Oh, Tag, you are such a shy sweetheart. And those ears… too cute!

black and white sheltie



This is Molly! She’s a Jack Russell terrier & enjoys hiding her tennis ball in the bushes sometimes.

jack russell san diego



happy old dog


 And this is Molly’s sibling, Snowball the rabbit!

bunny rabbit san diego



Peanut the mixed-breed dog is such a great poser! She lives with her parents in Point Loma.

point loma dog photo



best point loma dog photo



dog outtake photo



Pete is a goofy, happy pit bull in Escondido!

best pittie picture


 I LOVE the way he runs! Look at all that happiness, haha!

running pittie


 But Pete’s favorite spot is actually indoors, relaxing on the couch.

san diego pittie



This is Pi the tabby cat, in his dad’s arms.

san diego tabby cat



cute San Diego cat



best cat black and white



 Here are Prim & Track, vizslas from San Diego! We visited Fiesta Island for their photo session, and they ran around everywhere!

vizslas playing san diego



vizsla in water


 They may be intense athletes, but they clean up pretty nicely too. :)

vizslas san diego



 This is Roxy! She’s a lucky dog – her parents own Camp Bow Wow in El Cajon!

elderly labrador


 … and this is Roxy’s goofy, happy face! :)

best funny dog triptych


 And this is Roxy’s sister Madison. With plenty of attitude.

dog with attitude san diego



These big eyes belong to Roxy, a pug/dachshund mix! (Don’t you want to give her a treat right now?? That expression, gah!)

san diego puggle


 And this is Roxy’s sister Ruthie, the greyhound!

best greyhound photo



 Ruthie is so pretty!

san diego greyhound



This vizsla puppy is named Newman. And yes, he fell asleep in my studio. #toocuteforwords

sleeping dog in studio


 Here’s Ruger, his more elderly counterpart – these were two of four vizslas I photographed in one session!

old dog


 This is Ruger’s feline sister, Marley.

cat on billiards table



 This gorgeous duo is Sammy & his mom Janet, at the beach in San Diego.

dog beach silhouette


 I just love this sunset silhouette photo!

best sunset dog picture


 I just realized that you don’t get to see Sammy or Janet’s faces in any of these three photos… sorry! I promise they’re just as good-looking from the front! But I just love this peaceful, end-of-the-day beach photo, and I couldn’t resist including it with my other two favorites.

best dog beach photo



 Puppy birthday parties? Yes please! This is Savannah, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel!

birthday puppy photo



cavalier king charles spaniel puppy



spaniel puppy with mom



Haha – this shaking dog is Scooby, a chocolate lab!

dog shaking water



human and dog feet



dog handing paw silhouette



And this pup’s name is also Scooby! His session was scheduled at the last minute, because of medical issues… but he perked right up for his photos!

best yorkie san diego



best yorkie photo



last moments dog photo



AHHH! Stop it, Wellington, you are WAY too cute! I just love the way this pup runs with a big smile on his face!

san diego running puppy



girl holding dog


This is Wellington’s big sister, Star.

dog tongue



This golden beauty is Sadie, posing on the beach in Del Mar.

best golden retriever san diego


 I love golden retrievers’ fur when it gets wet. I really do. All kinds of interesting textures & patterns appear!

dog fur close up


 This is Sadie’s brother, Steam – a.k.a. Squeaks!

puggle san diego



This Yorkie’s name is Terri; he visited the studio with his parents for a few Christmas-themed photos!

best yorkie photo san diego


I don’t know what this expression is… but I loooove it! Haha! :)

yorkie san diego


 What an adorable family!

family with yorkie



Seriously, I feel like I should apologize to other photographers… because my clients are clearly the most gorgeous! These dogs are Trevor & Tori, with their parents in San Diego.

family beach photo san diego


 Tori the boxer doesn’t slow down very often… but when she does, it’s to spend time with her mom.

boxer on the beach in san diego



sweet black and white photo



This little cutie pie is Turbo! (and she’s appropriately-named, I can promise you that!)

pomeranian mix dog



san diego pomeranian


 She was such a great poser here in the studio!

studio dog cute



This is Wilson the corgi, searching for interesting smells and any trouble he can get into…

funny corgi


 … but just look at that face! Trouble, what trouble?

handsome corgi



happy corgi dog



 Winn Dixie the kitten was recently adopted, and I think she loves having a new home with her mom…

cute kitty snuggles


 … amidst a whole library to explore!

cat in books



beautiful cat picture



And finally, this is Yoda, the chihuahua mix who’s pretty much obsessed with her ball.

best dog chasing ball photo


 And here’s Yoda with her sister, Obi-Wan!

chihuahua mix dogs



family photo san diego



Oh my goodness – there you have it, my favorite photos of the year. (Okay, some of my favorites – I could have picked out so many more!) I can’t say this often enough: thank you, thank you, thank you to all my clients. You made my year downright fantastic and I feel so blessed to know each & every one of you, and your dogs & cats too. You’re awesome.


If this is your first visit to my blog and your dog isn’t included here in this post, I would love to include him/her in my 2015 wrap-up :) so please feel free to reach out to me with any questions about booking a photo session for your family, via email (Allison@AllisonShamrell.com) or phone (619-357-6624).


Thanks for visiting my blog! I hope you enjoyed this post!



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