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  ~  ~  3251 Adams Avenue, Suite C, San Diego, CA 92116

Officially Voted the Best Pet Photographer in San Diego, 2014-2017, by the San Diego A-List.

Archive: December, 2016

Koya the Border Collie Mix, and My Thoughts on Life

Thursday, 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

Thursday, 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


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! :)




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