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.

I’m in the People Business ~ Pensacola Pet Photography by Allison Shamrell

Like I mentioned in a previous post, earlier this month I spent three busy days at a photography conference called Imaging USA. During one of classes I attended, the speakers (Zach & Jody Gray) brought up an interesting quote:

“We’re in the people business serving coffee,
not the coffee business serving people.”

Guess who said this? The founder and chairman of Starbucks, Howard Schultz. And while we can debate about how successful that thought has been carried out in his business, I know for sure that it can be a fantastic principle for my business.

“I’m in the people business serving photography,
not the photography business serving people.”  – me!  Ha – look how quotable I am! (Sorry Mr. Schultz.)

One of the most simple and foundational things that I’ve done to improve my business this year is take a step back and think about everything from my clients’ point of view. I want to make sure I communicate well and keep people happy, of course, but there’s so much more to it than that. If I was in the market for a pet photographer – or really, any type of photographer – there are a few things I’d like to see.

~  that my photographer cares about me (and my pets, in this case)

~  that my photographer is proactive about communicating and can anticipate my desires, so I won’t have to ask for every little thing every step of the way

~  that my photographer goes above and beyond simply what they promised (to quote Zach & Jody: “If you give your customers exactly what you said you would, then you’ve failed!”)

~  that my photographer will be honest

~  that my photographer will be someone I’m happy – no, thrilled – to tell my friends about.

There’s more, of course, but that’s a short list of the things I’ve been thinking about recently. How I’ll go about satisfying these wishes is something you’ll know when you’re my client – I can’t just blog and give away all my secrets!! But suffice it to say I’ve been utilizing the Post Office more and more, and my slight obsession with HGTV is coming in handy. (Random? Yes… but you’re curious now mwahahaha!)

Another interesting thing about being in business as a sole proprietor is that while I’ve struggled to “look professional”, and have probably spent way too much time worrying about that, I always come back to the personal. Here’s another quote you might recognize before you read the credit:

Joe Fox: It wasn’t… personal.

Kathleen Kelly: What is that supposed to mean? I am so sick of that. All that means is that it wasn’t personal to you. But it was personal to me. It’s personal to a lot of people. And what’s so wrong with being personal, anyway?

Joe Fox: Uh, nothing.

Kathleen Kelly: Whatever else anything is, it ought to begin by being personal.

Of course, this is from You’ve Got Mail. I’ll tell you why this is one of my favorite movies of all time: for most of my adolescence and into college, my dream was to own my own bookshop. True story. And I still think it’d be simply wonderful! Think of it: dozens of shelves full of literary genius, books to make you laugh and cry, comfy chairs to peruse them in, obviously a shop dog would be involved (Bailey’s gonna have to start training for this), weekly discussion groups filled with critically-thinking people who want to get more out of their books, a whole building (or at least a big room) full of people who just LOVE books!

…. okay, can you tell I majored in Great Books in college?

Anyways, regardless of my past aspirations, the quote strikes me as overwhelmingly true today. While I can’t speak for big companies like Fox Books (coughcoughbarnesandnoblecough) small businesses are all about the personal, and any decision made otherwise is just not right; it just won’t work well. And there’s NOTHING wrong with that! Not a thing! I don’t know where America and all its efficiency and progress somewhere decided that to be successful and “businesslike”, you shouldn’t show people the person behind the business. Isn’t every business the way it is BECAUSE of the people behind it? Mine certainly is; my clients trust me to make certain decisions and keep various policies because we share similar taste. You wouldn’t ask a big corporation or a machine to give you a good client experience, because you can’t ever feel a strong connection to a company with which you haven’t had a person-to-person experience. Or at least I’m pretty sure that’s true. I mean, that’s why these companies hire spokespeople, but honestly, that’s no substitute.

So yes, business is personal. My business is an extension of myself. And I’m going to make sure that everything I do gives my clients the best possible personal experience they never even saw coming.


Because I can’t blog without including at least one picture: here’s Bailey, (halfway) sunning herself.


Hope you’re having a good day!

~ Dog Photography by Allison Shamrell in Pensacola, Florida ~


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Allison Shamrell Pet Photography
Call: 619.357.6624 // Email: // Visit: 3251 Adams Avenue, Suite C, San Diego, CA 92116
San Diego's Best Pet Photographer, voted by the San Diego A-List 2014-2016
© Allison Shamrell Photography, 2016

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