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

Chester the Encinitas Shih Tzu! (Photos)

March 17th, 2017

I’m so thrilled to introduce you to Chester! This handsome Encinitas shih tzu is a very happy, content boy. He’s not the type to get in your face and whine because he’s bored, he won’t beg for food, and honestly, he’s happy to simply be with his mom. You could say that he’s quite polite! And I saw his easygoing attitude from the first moment I met him, at my studio for our Pre-Session Consultation: he strolled right in, said hello to me, sniffed around a bit, and laid right down to relax while his mom & I chatted. He’s such a good boy!!

I wish everything is Chester’s life could be as even-keel as his happy attitude. He & his mom have been fighting against the c-word, and various treatments haven’t been successful… so our photo session definitely had a bittersweet tone. But leave it up to Chester to keep us laughing throughout the afternoon as he would run (well, trot) from place to place, and then get tired and plop down to catch his breath! He would look at us at certain times – clearly asking us “why did you put me on this big rock?” or saying “oooh that water is cold!” He’s an expressive dog, and incredibly devoted to his mom… so I loved working with them both, and Chester had a great afternoon in the process! :)


This is Chester’s sweet face! Don’t you love his soft, warm coloring?!

shih tzu photo


This moment came right before one of those “why am I on this rock?” looks – and then he jumped down to prove his point!

shih tzu encinitas


Despite the clouds’ best effort, we finished our photo session at the beach underneath a spectacular sky. Chester hadn’t been to the beach in a while, so he was pretty thrilled to run through the sand and wade through the surf again. And I don’t think this will be the last time Chester goes to the beach – but something tells me that if it is, it was time well spent.

encinitas shih tzu


Teri, thank you so much for introducing me to your sweet boy. I’ll talk to you again soon! :)


Photos of Candice the English Bulldog around San Diego!

March 14th, 2017

Can I be totally honest? I really love working with athletic, strong, active dogs. Photographing a dog as he or she runs, jumps, swims, and does anything active is SO much fun for me. (Probably because I started my photography career shooting sports!) And even though English bulldogs don’t run, jump or swim, for some reason I inexplicably have just as much fun with their photo sessions as I would with the most athletic dog out there! There’s just something about the way they look at you, with their smushy faces, long wet tongues and sweet droopy eyes that makes you think to yourself, these pups must be the comedians of the dog world. And indeed, Candice the English bulldog had us laughing for her entire session! She would happily walk (and sometimes trot) from place to place, grinning up at us as she munched on treats & Doritos. (yes, Doritos!) And it occurred to me: I think I like to photograph active dogs being active because it’s what they do best. When dogs are in their element, in their happy place, that’s what I want to capture. So whether it’s a labrador running through the surf, a chihuahua nestled in her mother’s arms, or an English bulldog chowing down on a snack intended for humans, I guess I realized that they all spread joy in their unique ways. And letting a dog be who he or she is, naturally – that’s what’s so much fun to capture!

So as you can imagine, I had a phenomenal photo session with Candice the English bulldog! We started in the studio, but since her parents have moved around the country quite a bit due to her dad’s service in the Coast Guard, we found some quintessentially “San Diego” backdrops as well… and it was simply perfect, until the marine layer came in & thwarted some of our plans! So we had to rearrange our schedules to get together again soon to finish the rest of our session, which was a bummer in the moment… but secretly I’m kinda thrilled that I get to sneak in some extra Candice time! :)


Here’s sweet Candice doing her epic head tilt in the studio!

english bulldog head tilt


How could you resist giving that face all the Doritos she wants??

english bulldog picture


And this – oh my goodness, I think this might be my new favorite photo!!

english bulldog san diego mural


Finally, we stopped at the Coast Guard station for a few extra-special exclusive photos! Candice helps her dad keep watch sometimes, so she showed me around the hangar with all the confidence of an admiral. It was so funny to see!

english bulldog with a helicopter



Brandis & Brandon – I had a great time with both of you! I’m looking forward to “take two” next week! :)


Jesse James, the Miniature Poodle from San Diego

March 9th, 2017

I know what you’re thinking: with a name like “Jesse James”, this dog must be an adventurous, active little troublemaker! And you’d be right… I think. But if you’re right, you’re about 5-10 years late. These days, Jesse the miniature poodle is 15 years old, and his daily life is a bit more slow-paced than it used to be. He’s definitely earned the privilege to relax a bit more than he used to… in fact, he normally wakes up between 10-11 am each day! (Now that’s the kind of lifestyle I can appreciate, haha!) But truthfully, I have the feeling he was never the “troublemaker” that his namesake implies; he’s much too sweet to give his parents any kind of headache. At every turn during our photo session, he was looking to them for guidance & reassurance that he was doing the right thing, and of course they were happy to give him plenty of love & encouragement. He’s so devoted to them, and it’s so clear within just a few minutes of meeting them all. So I simply can’t imagine this boy misbehaving! Ever! (Although he used to have a much more reliable “down” than he does now, from what I’m told… apparently now “down” is only for naptime! Ha!)

We had a wonderful photo session at Jesse’s home in Clairemont. His moms have some of the most colorful, cheery, creative home decor I’ve ever seen – and I loved working with Jesse in the place where he’s most comfortable. It was the perfect spot for our session! And unfortunately some recent health issues have cropped up, making it unwise for Jesse to do much physical exercise… so it was a low-key, comfortable, relaxing afternoon… with plenty of treats, of course!


This is Jesse, sitting on one of his moms’ many colorful rugs. How can you resist such a sweet face?

miniature poodle photo


I love Jesse’s backyard. It’s almost as gorgeous as he is.

miniature poodle picture


He was able to see me off from his front doorway at the end of our session! (How much would you love to come home to this view?!)

miniature poodle in doorway



Evelyn & Deb, thank you so much for introducing me to your handsome boy. I’m looking forward to seeing you both again soon!  :)


Annabelle the Adorable San Diego Cavachon! (Photos)

March 1st, 2017

I’m so excited to introduce you to Annabelle, the sweet little Cavachon, who has a love of cheese & a penchant for cute tricks! :)

Have you ever seen a dog that’s so excited to get a treat that they’ll immediately do their best tricks, without you even asking for them? Perhaps the dog sits, offers you a paw, immediately lies down & rolls over… it’s so cute to see them thinking one step ahead, doing whatever they can to earn that treat in your hand! And Annabelle is simply a pro at this game. When she sees you have a treat – ideally it’s cheddar cheese! yum! – she’ll run over to you and promptly sit up! And no, I don’t mean on her rear end; she sits UP on her hind legs, straightening her whole body as tall as she can be, with her front paws up in the air for you! It’s SO cute to see! I swear, she could run away with the circus and fit right in… :)

But luckily Annabelle is not a traveling circus dog, she’s an adorable part of a local family and I got to meet her in the studio for our photo session. She showed me her trademark trick (several times, haha!) and we were able to work quickly since her mom taught her such great obedience skills. Then we had enough time to head out to La Jolla for a few portraits on the beach – and that’s when Annabelle really let loose! Haha! I know her mom is excited to see her action photos – and she’s going to have a LOT to choose from, I know that for sure!


This sweet little Cavachon (Cavalier King Charles spaniel & Bichon Frise) is Annabelle. Her coloring is so unique!

cavachon san diego


She was sooooo excited to show me her “sit pretty” pose! (Or maybe she was just excited for the cheesy reward…)

cavachon dog


That soft, smooth, fluffy fur started to look a little different at the beach, haha! Annabelle had a great time running around, exploring, and playing fetch.

cavachon at beach


Joyce, thank you for introducing me to your sweet girl! I’m excited to show you the rest of our photos soon! :)


Cubbie the Golden Retriever Puppy and His (Human) Sister, Brooke! (Photos)

February 27th, 2017

Sometimes I think about how different photographers are… there’s a lot of diversity in our industry, and I happen to think it’s all for the better. For example: if you ask me to shoot a wedding, I will probably cringe and have nightmares. Weddings are NOT my thing! So I’m glad there are photographers out there who practically eat weddings for breakfast, no big deal. And likewise, if you ask a typical photographer to work with a golden retriever puppy and a 7-year-old girl, I think most of them would have a pretty similar reaction to my feelings about weddings, haha… but me? I was so excited to hear from Brooke & Cubbie’s mom! :)

Cubbie is a brand-new, 3-month-old golden retriever puppy who lives with his family in Tierrasanta. Brooke is his 7-year-old human sister, and I absolutely loved getting to know both of them during our photo session. Cubbie is still learning how to be a good dog (and that his sister’s headbands are not toys), and you can tell that Brooke is quickly learning how to be an awesome big sister. They already have so much fun together – and it won’t be long until they’re the same size, haha! (I think the breeder might have mistaken a mastiff for a golden retriever at some point in Cubbie’s heritage – he’s already huge for his age! He’s going to be one BIG boy!) We had lots of fun playing in their backyard for their photo session, and I’m already looking forward to the next installment of documenting Cubbie’s life with his sweet new family!


We started indoors, before getting a bit muddy outside. Just look at that handsome smile!

golden retriever puppy on couch


Oh come ON. He’s too cute for words. (Fun fact: he got his name because his dad is a Chicago Cubs fan!)

golden retriever puppy


“Whoever said that diamonds are a girl’s best friend never owned a dog.”  – Anonymous

golden retriever puppy and girl


Kristin, thank you so much for introducing me to your family! I’ll talk to you again very soon! :)



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