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

Tag: ‘mixed breed’

Merlin and Gwen, Mixed Breed Dogs with Engaged Parents!

Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

Step 1: Adopt two adorable dogs.

Step 2: Schedule a photo session for aforementioned dogs.

Step 3: Get engaged!

Step 4: Turn your photo session into a pet/engagement photo session!


Don’t worry, these aren’t required instructions for anyone – except Merlin & Gwen’s parents, haha! I’m so excited for this new family of four! :)


As you can probably imagine, this photo session was slightly different than one of my usual, all-about-the-pets sessions. We included mom & dad in many of the photos, which was a lot of fun! And Merlin & Gwen loved sharing the spotlight – they absolutely adore their parents. These mixed breed dogs have such fun personalities; Merlin is the older brother who will do anything for a treat, and Gwen is the younger (yet bigger) sister whose favorite activity is annoying her brother! Haha! (Isn’t that what younger siblings are for?) They were a lot of fun to work with, and I think they had a great time in front of the camera.


We started at their home in Rancho Bernardo, snuggling on the couch and relaxing.

mixed breed dogs at home


Merlin is a terrier/border collie mix, and I think there might be some spaniel in his heritage too!

mixed breed terrier dog


Gwen is a mini-husky! (Okay, I just made that up, that’s not a real breed. She’s a husky mix, but her parents don’t know what the other breed(s) might be, and she just looks like a slightly-smaller-than-normal husky!)

mixed breed husky dog


We ended up with so many adorable family photos… I really agonized over which one to post here! But this image immediately jumped out at me as an early favorite, since it’s a candid, natural moment. And I personally love the calm tone of this photo – especially with how crazy this little family’s life is going to get, as they’re about to plan a wedding! Eeek!

mixed breed dogs with parents



Angela & Ricky, I’m so happy for you two!! Can’t wait to get together again soon! :)


Sundance the 7-Month-Old Shepherd Mix Puppy (Photos)

Saturday, April 1st, 2017

First of all: you should all be very proud of me for not stealing this dog.

I’m joking, of course – but I just love some of my clients’ dogs so much that I want to bring them home with me! And who wouldn’t want to bring home Sundance? This gorgeous German shepherd mix is an amazing dog. His parents rescued him from Helen Woodward Animal Center just a few months ago. Our photo session was actually the day before his seven-month birthday! (Fun fact: his (assumed) birthday is the day before my birthday!)  So although he’s young and hasn’t learned every trick in the book yet, his parents have done an amazing job with obedience training so far, and as a result Sundance was an absolute dream to work with. This well-behaved pup knows several commands, and in general is a happy, eager-to-please dog.  He was ready to sit (and begrudgingly stay) when we wanted him to stay, and excited to run around the park when it was time for some action photos! And when he laid down, let his head rest on his paws, and looked up at me with his big soulful eyes… I just about melted.  I’m so glad his parents came to me so early in Sundance’s life – he’ll never be this small again, and we had a great time capturing his puppyhood spirit!


 We started our photo session in the studio – because Sundance doesn’t need anything else in the photo to look this good.

shepherd mix dog


 Then we played fetch at Balboa Park…

shepherd mix dog running


…  and Sundance showed off his stellar sit-stay in front of the gorgeous scenery!

shepherd mix puppy


 You see why I wanted to keep him for myself??

shepherd mix photo


Elaine and Michael, I hope you both had as much fun as I did during our photo session! Can’t wait to see you again soon!


Photos of Mister Mister & Cicero, Two Dogs from Encinitas!

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

Photo sessions with two dogs instead of one are always an adventure, let me tell you. It’s a challenge to balance two different personalities in one window of time, especially if the dogs are different breeds, temperaments or energy levels. And yet sometimes, the dogs I work with are so bonded as siblings – so close and co-dependent on one another – that they practically seem to have blended their personalities into one shared persona. In those cases, photographing them is a breeze, since they love to snuggle up together and do the exact same things. (It’s kinda funny to witness, to be honest with you!) But Mister Mister and Cicero seem to have had a pow-wow before our photo session and decided on a different course of action. I imagine that conversation went something like this: “We’re total opposites. So let’s make sure Treat Lady knows it.” “Yeah! I’ll bark at her the whole time if you just hang out and act really calm.” “Sounds good! Remember to play fetch while I lounge around on the outdoor furniture with mom.” “Okay! And just for fun I’ll refuse to sit next to you until the very end of the session.” “Perfect!” “Ready, break!”

So that was my photo session with Mister Mister and Cicero! :)

Haha – despite their polar-opposite personalities, we really had a phenomenal time together. We relaxed in the living room & backyard of their (gorgeous!) home in Encinitas, and then took a walk around their neighborhood just as the sun was setting. And in my opinion, these pups have won the doggy lottery: plenty of room to play, all the treats and toys they could want, and awesome parents who absolutely adore them. After I die, can I come back as a dog & be adopted by Mister Mister & Cicero’s parents? :)


This is Mister Mister in his happy place – it’s where he gets his Greenies!

happy encinitas mutt


Cicero loves to play fetch – until you throw his ball in the pool. Then he waits for dad to come to the rescue!

cute encinitas mutt


Despite not being blood-related at all (Mr. Mr. is a shepherd mix and Cicero is a spaniel/dachshund/Aussie mix), can you believe how similar they look?! They have the same rich warm tones in their fur… it’s almost like they were meant to be brothers!

encinitas mutts


Misha & Justin, it was so great to see all four of you again! I can’t wait to show you the rest of our images soon! :)


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! :)


Tierrasanta Pets – Obi, Bender & Fry! (Photo Session)

Friday, October 7th, 2016

I was so thrilled to meet this sweet family and ALL of their pets recently! 2 people, 2 cats, and 1 dog – that’s a recipe for a wonderful photo session, and Obi, Bender & Fry definitely didn’t disappoint!

These Tierrasanta pets are all so unique – and if you’re familiar with the show Futurama, you already have an insight into Bender & Fry’s personalities, haha! They’re gorgeous black kitties who are social, outgoing and love to be outside. I got to play with them and see their demure yet cheerful personalities for myself, and although they weren’t big fans of the “family photo” idea, they struck plenty of cute poses around their backyard for me! They’re also pretty patient around their younger (but much bigger) brother, Obi, the newest addition to the family! Obi is an 11-month-old goofball, a mutt with about 27 different breeds in his heritage (okay, more like 6, but still!) and show-stoppingly handsome good looks. He was constantly bumping into things, acting generally silly, and keeping a constant eye on the treat bag during our session, which meant that I never stopped laughing at his antics! He’s a sweetheart of a dog, and his parents are ridiculously lucky to have found him – or is it the other way around?


I may be wrong, but I think this is Bender! (The cats are practically identical so forgive me for making a guess here, gah!)

cat in tierrasanta, san diego


And my instincts say this is Fry… cheesing it up for the camera.

cat and dog photography


And this big boy is Obi! We had a great time walking around the neighborhood for Obi’s portion of the session, and he enjoyed showing me around his turf (especially the rabbit-chasing area).

dog in tierrasanta


Okay, just one more of Obi, just because this photo does a better job of capturing his in-your-face enthusiasm for life!

dog tierrasanta close-up


Brittany and Morgan, thank you so much for introducing me to all your gorgeous animals! I can’t wait to see you both again soon! :)



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