• 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 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, 2014-2016, by the San Diego A-List.

Koya the Border Collie Mix, and My Thoughts on Life

December 15th, 2016

I’ve been thinking a lot about life recently – the different stages that you pass through in life, and how things change over time. And there’s a reason I’ve been pondering these things recently. Her name is Koya.

Koya is a 15-year-old Australian shepherd/border collie mix, who lives with her family in southern San Diego. When you see her today, you see a sweet old dog. She hobbles to get around, since bending her knees is tough to do, and there’s a generous amount of white fur that has accumulated on her face over the last several years. She moves slow and needs help getting up sometimes. If you meet her today, that’s what you see.

But Koya’s mom is happy to tell her whole story, and it might surprise you: she adopted Koya as a puppy when she was single & living in Canada, almost 15 years ago. And Koya was the perfect companion to her mom’s adventures. As a wildlife biologist, Koya’s mom (and eventually her dad, too) would go on multi-day escapades in the mountains, hiking trips that put my casual outdoor experiences to shame, and adventures in the wild that any dog would dream of. I can’t express how much I would have loved to know Koya back then: young, strong, energetic, and ready for anything. But I didn’t know her back then… I only got to meet this awesome dog in the sunset of her life. And that’s okay too – because I still had the privilege of seeing the love she has for her mom, and the rest of her family as well (including her almost-2-year-old human brother). And something tells me that love hasn’t changed a bit over time, no matter whether Koya happened to be young or old… so I feel like I got to know “young Koya” in that small way, after all.


We started our photo session in Koya’s awesome backyard, where Koya (slowly) showed me around her favorite spots.

border collie mix


This is Takla, a shepherd & maremma sheepdog (!) mix, Koya’s canine sister. She’s a sweetheart whose favorite hobby is getting belly rubs. Seriously, I think she spent the whole session thinking “why doesn’t this involve more belly rubs?” And trust me, she got several, haha – but she can never have enough! :)

sheepdog maremma mix


Koya, right next to her mom – exactly where she wants to be.

border collie mix


I couldn’t have chosen a better dog – or image – to be my last subject of 2016. :)

border collie sunset



Libby, thank you so much for introducing me to your wonderful family! I’m so excited to see you again soon. Merry Christmas in the meantime! :)


That’s a Wrap: Photos from the 2016 Portraits for Pooches Fundraiser

December 15th, 2016

Oh my goodness – whirlwind weekend doesn’t even begin to describe it. I was absolutely blown away this year (pun intended! ha!) by the support and generosity of the Portraits for Pooches attendees! My weekend was fully booked solid, and it was great to meet so many San Diego dogs – but it was just as fun to write a $1,500 check to the San Diego Humane Society! Not to mention the huge food donation, that the volunteers could hardly believe was so big and so high-quality! Yay! I’d definitely say this fundraiser was a massive success – who knew a mini photo session event for dogs could have gone so smoothly and so well? Haha! And after everyone has ordered their favorite photos as prints, canvases & Christmas cards, I finally have the time to share some of the gorgeous results with you! Here are just a few of the wonderful families who came out this year:

Roxy and Rowdy, cattle dog mixes, and their parents

mini pet photo sessions


Trooper and Tres, mixed breed dogs, and their parents

photo session for pets


Gracie the boxer and Chico the chihuahua mix, and their parents

mini pet photo session


Colin the Mexican rescue mutt, and his moms

mini dog photo session


Kane the German shepherd, and his parents
(Okay, okay, here are some photos of just the dogs, too!)

mini pet photo session image


Chula the pit bull mix
(We had two backdrops to choose between: classic white, or rustic snowflakes on wood! Which do you like better?)

mini photo session for dogs


Aberdeen the service dog (labrador and golden retriever mix)

mini photo session for dogs


Belle the Bichon Frise

mini dog photo session


Oscar & Mia, dachshunds

dogs mini session


Penny the lhasa apso mix

mini photo sessions for pets



Missed out on the event this year? Don’t be (too) sad – a few Portraits for Pooches events are on my 2017 calendar! The first one is actually in January (eeeek!) and it’s benefitting California Labradors, Retrievers & More. Perfect timing for a Christmas gift! If you’d like to participate – or if you’re a representative of a local animal rescue and would like to reap the benefits of a similar event – drop me a line! You can call 619.357.6624 or email me at allison@allisonshamrell.com.


I hope to see you at a future event – whether it’s to celebrate Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, National Dog Day or next year’s Christmas card photos! :)



La Jolla Shores Pet Photography with Bernie the dog!

November 26th, 2016

I can’t believe Thanksgiving has already come & gone. It’s finally starting to feel like fall in San Diego – winter, even? – and yet I still get to work with gorgeous dogs like Bernie who are willing to brave the colder temperatures and enjoy a day at the beach!  :)

Bernie’s mom emailed me about a photo session, in which she described Bernie (in all caps) as the BEST DOG EVER! So I knew I was in for a very special photo session before I even met this handsome boy, haha! And true to his mom’s description, Bernie was an absolute dream to work with: a happy, free-spirited dog with a clear & deep connection to his mom, and just a touch of “distinguished gray” starting to show on his face. We started our afternoon at Marian Bear Park, where Bernie had a wonderful time exploring the trails and clearings, and then we headed to one of my favorite spots, Tourmaline Park in La Jolla. But the weather wasn’t on our side – it is November, after all – and after a few minutes of discussion we decided to reschedule the second half of our session. Boo, growl, hiss. But it turned out to be a total blessing in disguise – a silver lining to the clouds, if you will! ;)  Because trying for better weather at sunrise meant that we had the ability to visit one of Bernie’s favorite spots, La Jolla Shores! It’s a place where dogs typically aren’t allowed – so I never thought I’d find myself there for a photo session! But we were out in the early morning, and to my surprise we ran into several other dogs, too, so I knew we weren’t the only ones with a good idea. And since Bernie already knows & loves that beach, it added a little bit of sentimental value to our session in a way I never could have planned… So it all turned out to be absolutely perfect! I’m so glad it was overcast & yucky on the day we originally scheduled our photo session, haha – and I definitely didn’t think I’d ever say that!


This is Bernie’s contented smile and slight head tilt. Try not to fall in love.

la jolla shores dog


Bernie LOVES the beach! His favorite game is fetch, although he’s not a big fan of bringing the ball back to his mom… so it turns into a game of mutual fetch, as Bernie gets the ball from the ocean and his mom gets it from wherever he drops it! Haha!

la jolla shores pet photography


The beach is gorgeous, especially in La Jolla – but it’s a more beautiful sight whenever there’s a happy dog playing in it.

la jolla shores dog photo



Angela, thank you so much for introducing me to your handsome boy, and for my first La Jolla Shores pet photography session! (And thank you for being so patient to see this “sneak peek”!) I’m looking forward to showing you the rest of our images! :)


Barley & Harper, the Red Boston Terriers! (Photos)

November 21st, 2016

Barley & Harper are two adorable red Boston terriers, and we recently shared a fun photo session in North County!

These two pups’ names are inspired by barley & hops, two of the essential ingredients in beer – and as soon as I heard this, I knew I’d get along with their parents, haha! We all love craft beer, the more local the better – and thankfully San Diego has plenty of dog-friendly breweries to visit. When these dogs aren’t hanging out by the bar, they also love to go camping and play at the dog beach. In fact, they’re great little breed ambassadors! Their parents say they get plenty of attention by people interested in Boston terriers (especially people who don’t know that red Boston terriers exist), and at the end of our session we actually met a couple who are considering adopting a couple of Bostons in the future! So Barley & Harper played with them for a few minutes, and they definitely won two more fans over to the breed! And I can’t blame them; they’re such sweet, playful dogs! On top of their awesome personalities, it turns out, these pups also pose for photos like total pros – I’m so excited to share their images with you!


This is Harper, the 1-year-old girl. She’s a little princess and isn’t shy to tell everyone what she wants! (Which is usually “more treats!”) She was a perfect little lady for our photo session, except for a brief moment in which she proved that she can’t be trusted off-leash… and I just couldn’t get over how expressive her little face is!

boston terrier picture


And this blast of energy is Barley! He’s only a few months older than his sister, and happens to be obsessed with his ball. Such a fast dog! And just as enthusiastic about his treats, too, haha!

running boston terrier


Oh my goodness, you two. Stop it. Way too cute.

red boston terriers


Steph & Sven, thank you so much for a wonderful afternoon! I’m looking forward to seeing you both again soon! :)


Riley the Goldendoodle Puppy – Part 2!

November 15th, 2016

Do you remember Riley the goldendoodle puppy from last month? Well, I’m thrilled to say that I visited this little girl AGAIN, for the second installment of her photo session! The only thing better than photographing Riley is photographing her twice!  :)

In a month, a lot has changed for this little muppet. She has discovered her teeth, and she chews everything – literally everything, including my camera strap, my camera bag, my hand, her mom’s hands, the grass, the flowers, pieces of tree bark… should I keep going? Exploration via chewing is definitely her favorite thing these days. And she has so much energy, too! You think chewing is a relatively “calm” activity? Riley is finessing her ability to chew while sprinting & jumping at the same time, haha! Our session took place over one extra-long spurt of energy, so we definitely ended up with our fair share of action photos… but for now, I wanted to share a few (fleeting) moments of stillness, because when Riley slows down enough to take a breath, I think she’s simply too cute for words.


What do you know? It’s a puddle of goldendoodle puppy.

cute goldendoodle puppy


I just love her little profile. She’s such a pretty dog! (And she’s either thinking very deep thoughts here, or she’s wondering what she can chew on next…)

goldendoodle puppy profile


And then we found flowers in the neighborhood! Riley was very interested in the new setting, but she still took a moment to pose for me in the gorgeous landscaping (sorry to the gardeners! she wasn’t too destructive, I promise!).

goldendoodle puppy


And finally – a moment of peace, at the very end of our session. Whew… I think Riley & I both needed a nap after this, haha!

goldendoodle puppy picture


Deb, thank you so much for inviting me to get to know Riley as she grows! I can’t wait to show you our images very soon! :)



All Images Copyright Allison Shamrell Photography: | Blog Theme Created by LJP & SLR Lounge