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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! :)

Best Friends Photo Session with Bella & Phalen!

October 20th, 2014

There are some photo sessions that go off without a single hitch; we schedule a time to get together, everything goes as planned, no surprises come up, and it’s a wonderfully simple process overall. No one has to reschedule, everyone is on time to the session, and there’s no pressure or time constraints that would limit us from rescheduling even if we had to. In a word, it just goes smoothly. And honestly, this is usually what happens with the vast majority of my clients.

However, this was NOT one of those sessions! :p

For whatever reason, crazy difficulty after crazy difficulty struck when Bella & Phalen’s parents & I were trying to get together. First, just 72 hours before our original session date, my car was broken into and my spare camera bag was stolen, unfortunately. Ugh. So we had to reschedule for a time when I could get new equipment up & running… and then I got the news that Bella had torn her ACL. The poor thing! So the surgery was scheduled for just days after our new session date, which meant there could be no-such-thing as rain that day! We simply didn’t have time to reschedule again. And finally, after a fun morning up at Earthwise Pet Supply‘s Halloween party on the day of our session, twenty miles away from the studio, my car battery decided to die. Gah!!! So after all these difficulties, and against the odds, I can still hardly believe that our actual photo session went off without a hitch, once we finally got it going! So I want to give a ton of recognition (and thanks!) to Bella & Phalen’s parents, for being so incredibly flexible & ready to roll with the punches. They’re champs and I’m lucky to have such incredible people as clients!

And as it turns out, Bella & Phalen aren’t technically brother & sister – they’re neighbors! That’s why I call this a “doggy best friends” photo session; these two don’t live together but they’re practically inseparable anyway! They go to the same doggy daycare and play together all day, and once they come home they’re still anxious to see each other & romp around! Honestly, these two have a connection that’s rare, in my opinion… their relationship is amazing. And I don’t usually accept sessions with dogs from different families, but these two are so much like brother & sister, I just couldn’t resist capturing them together. So enough talk – let me introduce you!


Bella the golden retriever is a decorated Canine Good Citizen with a huge assortment of obedience ribbons, medals & certificates; she’s an incredibly smart & happy dog that simply lives to please her mother!

best friends photos



Phalen the Keeshond hasn’t been through the same training regimen, but he has an unflaggingly cheerful personality and dashing good looks to make up for it! And he’s only the second Keeshond I’ve ever worked with; this is a rare breed, and his dad did lots of research before deciding that it would be right for him. And of course, they’re perfect together! :)

best friends photo session



As much as I love the studio, and how it really lets a dog’s beauty take center stage without any visual distractions, there’s nothing like the natural light of the outdoors. We headed to the park for a few environmental photos, and I love the results!

best friends dogs



Don’t you love the halo of light around each dog’s head? I love working with long-haired dogs in the sun!

doggy best friends photo session



Doggy best friends.

doggy best friends



Everyone, Bella could use your prayers and happy thoughts as she heads into surgery this Thursday. I know I’ll be thinking about her! Here’s hoping for a speedy recovery so she can run around with Phalen again as soon as possible.


April & Arron, thank you again for your patience & flexibility! I can’t wait to see you both again soon!


Wilson the San Diego Corgi, in Presidio Park!

October 19th, 2014

Wilson is a happy San Diego corgi that I met at a recent Yappy Hour for Camp Bow Wow! He was enjoying a puptini (!) and wearing a classic corgi smile all night, so I knew photographing him would be a relatively easy job – since that handsome smile is practically always on his face! Corgis are some of the happiest dogs I know, and Wilson is a cheerful, handsome tricolor who lives with his parents in Alpine. He’s just a puppy, so his obedience isn’t 100% all there yet – his mom told me stories of chasing Wilson all over their neighborhood! – but I think as time goes on he’ll be relatively easy to train, since he absolutely loves to eat treats & please his parents. So of course, we had a great photo session – because I’m always pretty liberal with the treats, haha! :)


Look at that smile! And those posing skills! Wilson was simply fantastic to work with.

san diego corgi



Wilson even showed me the spot in the park where his parents got married! How fun is that?!

san diego corgi



And then we found some tall grasses, where Wilson pretended he was hiding… but really he just kept on smiling at me.

cute corgi photo in san diego



Thanks again for a wonderful afternoon, Debbie & Bob! I can’t wait to see you both again soon! :)


Turbo, the San Diego Pomeranian Mix, in the Studio

October 17th, 2014

I can’t wait to introduce you to this pup – she is just the cutest!! Turbo is a San Diego pomeranian & lhasa apso mix, and she recently visited the studio for a custom photo session. This girl has tons of personality – she loves to play & jump around with her mom! (Or in other words, live up to her name! haha!)  I just love her cute little pomeranian face; plus, her coloring is so interesting! Black & tan is a rare combination for pomeranians, and even more so for lhasa apsos, which means Turbo is definitely one of a kind. Her parents rescued her earlier this year, and they told me about an incredible coincidence: on the very same day that their previous dog (a cocker spaniel) passed away, leaving them heartbroken, the rescue organization found Turbo. Can you believe it? The very same day! Maybe it wasn’t a coincidence; maybe it was more of a sign that Turbo was meant to fill the gap left by her predecessor. Who knows. For me, it calls to mind this quote from Erica Jong: “Dogs come into our lives to teach us about love… they depart to teach us about loss. A new dog never replaces an old dog; it merely expands the heart. If you have loved many dogs, your heart is very big.” So, so true.


This is Turbo! See what I mean? She’s adorable!

san diego pomeranian mix



Oh, that face… so much attitude. :)

san diego pomeranian



And I have to tell you about her tail! It’s an explosion of fur! It looks like a firework, or a just-popped-open champagne bottle, or a pom-pom… it’s unlike any tail I’ve ever seen on another dog!

cute pom tail



Marjorie, thank you for introducing me to your beautiful little girl! I’m excited to show you the rest of our photos very soon!


Fiesta Island Dog Photography with Butterbean the Lab!

October 14th, 2014

Butterbean is a dog that’s fully labrador, in every sense of the word: he loves water, can’t get enough of fetch, and is always boundlessly happy! So it was my absolute pleasure to photograph him recently at Fiesta Island in San Diego! It’s one of his favorite places in the city, since he & his mom visit there pretty often to play fetch and make new friends. But we found a part of the island that was all to ourselves; because as I mentioned in this blog post about dogs in parks, I don’t often hold photo sessions at dog parks/beaches, just since that usually means adding a few dozen guests & distractions to the experience – which doesn’t exactly make for better photos! So we let all the focus be on Butterbean in our secluded little area of Fiesta Island, and I think we have some really great images to show for it. For his part, Bean didn’t mind at all – he was just happy to be there with his mom, playing fetch and eating treats! And really, for a dog, what better way is there to spend an afternoon? :)


Butterbean has a bow tie! How adorable is that?! To start this photo session, we took a few photos on dry land, bow tie and all, before letting him loose in the water…

fiesta island dog photos



Of course, no Fiesta Island dog photography session would be complete without a few action photos… and Butterbean didn’t disappoint! Fetch is one of his favorite things in the world; can’t you just see the enthusiasm in his eyes?

fiesta island san diego



His mom says that when his tongue sticks out sideways, that means Bean is really happy. So even though there’s lots of drool in this close-up, I love it!

fiesta island dog photos



We even stayed long enough to watch the sun go down… it was a beautiful night.

fiesta island dog photography



Devon, I had a blast with you & Bean! We have lots of cute photos to look through… so I’ll be in touch soon! :)

Belle the Bichon Frise

October 13th, 2014

I’ve always known Bichon Frises to be happy little fluff-balls of energy, ready & willing to please their parents all day long…  and Belle is a shining example of that wonderful Bichon disposition! This little cutie recently moved to San Diego from Texas, just a few months ago – and it’s not that often that I’m more of a “local” than my clients, so I was happy to welcome Belle and her parents to town! I also had the privilege of introducing them to Powerhouse Park in Del Mar, a place which my regular blog readers know I love to visit… but even though I’ve been there a few times before, I found a couple of fresh new spots to photograph Belle that I’d never seen before! Let me tell you, looking at the world with photographer’s eyes is an exciting way to see things – new opportunities pop up just about everywhere. And honestly, where could I put Belle’s cute little face so that she wouldn’t look adorable? Nowhere, obviously. :)


If you met Belle for the first time, you’d never guess that she’s 12 years old! Those bright eyes (not to mention her desire to run everywhere and explore everything!) make you think she’s a puppy! But no, she’s actually a very youthful senior dog.

bichon photo session



Love that smile! This was one of Belle’s first trips to the beach!

bichon frise


 But really, the purpose of this session was for Christmas card photos. Belle has always been the star of her parents’ yearly holiday card, and as they moved to San Diego this year, their friends all asked them “Will Belle still be on your Christmas cards? Will you take her to the beach for Christmas photos?” So that’s what we did – and here’s one of my early favorites from our holiday-themed photos!

bichon frise photo session



Ginger & David, thank you for a wonderful session with your incredibly well-trained dog! Belle is such a cutie… I can’t wait to show you the rest of our photos! :)


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