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.

Tag: ‘backyard’

Pink, Achilles & Calvin – Pets from La Jolla

Friday, November 10th, 2017

Some pets are lucky enough to hit the jackpot in life: they’re adopted by a loving family, have siblings to play with, and have a great place to call home. What more could a dog or cat want, right? I’m happy to report that Pink, Achilles & Calvin have all “won the lottery”, and I’m thrilled to introduce you to them!

These pets all live in beautiful La Jolla with their parents – who are expecting a 2-legged child early next year! So we spent a nice afternoon together in their backyard, and I had a great time getting to know each of the pets’ distinctive personalities.


Calvin is thoroughly his dad’s cat. He’s about 7 years old and yes, his green eyes are that stunning in real life, too.

la jolla cat


This is Pink! This sweet girl has spent her whole life with her mom, and they’re incredibly closely-bonded. She loves to relax in the grass and sniff around – and she goes absolutely bonkers when you bring out the treats! Her favorite snack is apples… because she’s healthy like that.

dog in la jolla


And this gorgeous hunk is Achilles, the goofball of the family. Even after 2 long walks earlier that day, he still had plenty of energy for our session – and we put it all to good use! He’s a sweet boy who came from a not-so-sweet background, so I was especially glad to see that he lucked out and found such a loving family. (Plus, he fits so well into the grey theme that Calvin & Pink started, haha!!)

great dane from la jolla


Ashley & Max, thank you so much for introducing me to your family! I’m looking forward to seeing you both again soon! :)


Dakota, Firefly & Bella Rose! (Horse Photography in Rancho Santa Fe)

Thursday, June 29th, 2017

Oh my goodness – I am SO excited to share this sneak peek with you!! I don’t get to photograph horses every day, so this session was an absolute treat for me – and hopefully the photos are a nice treat for you, too!

Dakota and Firely are incredibly gorgeous horses – my eyes basically popped out of my head when I met them the other day after Gemma’s photo session (she’s their feline sister!). So I recently headed back to give them my full attention, and we had a spectacular time together! The boys are both slightly jumpy, so we kept the pace nice & easy, and I did my best to get their attention in a way that was interesting but not scary – and those of you who’ve heard the funny noises I make to get a pet’s attention know exactly what I’m talking about! But their handlers were a huge help, so with a bit of teamwork I think we were able to create some gorgeous images.

Not to be overlooked (literally or figuratively), Bella Rose the miniature horse joined us as well! She kept us laughing the whole time with her adorable antics, since she’s got enough attitude for a full-size horse, that’s for sure!


This is Dakota – I can’t get enough of his warm brown fur against the rich green grass. LOVE him.

horse photography


This is Firefly! I adore his unique patches and so-dark-it’s-almost-black fur. He’s a big fan of carrots.

horse photography image


Of course, this is Bella Rose! She was looking fresh for her portraits – that mane has volume, haha!

miniature horse


We have several images of the horses together, but most of them are going to require a significant amount of retouching… so for now, I’ll just share this peaceful moment of the horses enjoying their chance to munch on the soft grass.

horse photo



Tanya, I’m so excited to get together with you soon!! Emily and Sue, these photos certainly wouldn’t have come together without you – so thank you for being willing to work with me! :)


Gemma the Gorgeous Calico Cat (from Rancho Santa Fe)

Monday, June 19th, 2017

I’m so excited to introduce you to Gemma! She’s a gorgeous 2-year-old calico cat, and ever since her parents adopted her from Rancho Coastal, she’s been showering them with gifts to express her gratitude. You know the type of “gifts” cats give their owners, right? Mice and small lizards are pretty common, but Gemma is no common cat. She’s so athletic that she gets to give her parents exceptionally rare finds, like rats (!) and even a hummingbird (!!!) – not to mention she gets pretty creative with exactly where in the house she delivers those gifts! So although her parents might prefer a different way to show her appreciation, suffice to say that Gemma won the adoption lottery when she found such loving, wonderful parents – and she knows it.

When you arrive at Gemma & her family’s house, it’s hard not to be impressed. Gemma has a stunningly beautiful, custom-built home with plenty of sunny patches of light on the hardwood floors that are simply perfect for sunning oneself. Not to mention a yard with grass & flowers to go hunting in, and even a koi pond full of “roommates”! At the beginning of our session, Gemma shyly gave me a tour of her territory, preferring not to pose for my camera quite yet. So I followed her around the expansive living room, crawling on the hardwood floors and making plenty of silly (and rather embarrassing) sounds to get her fleeting attention… honestly, something tells me Gemma just wanted to see me work for it, haha! So eventually she decided I was worth her consideration, and she opened up and posed for the camera like a total pro. That’s what I’ve learned from photographing cats over the years – you’re on their schedule, not the other way around! But I’m so glad I had the chance to meet Gemma, and that she (slowly) came around to the idea of a photo session… the images we ended up with made crawling around on the ground totally worth it!  :)


This is Gemma – isn’t she gorgeous?!

calico cat


Before modeling, you have to stretch! :)

calico cat photo

We went outside to the garden in the heavenly evening light, and Gemma obligingly looked my way (while simultaneously monitoring the grounds for critters, of course).

calico cat picture


Tanya, thank you so much for introducing me to your beautiful kitty! I’m so excited to share the rest of our images with you soon! :)


Jesse James, the Miniature Poodle from San Diego

Thursday, 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!  :)


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

Monday, 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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