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.

Tag: ‘park’



Penny the Vizsla from Lakeside (Photos)

Thursday, July 27th, 2017

Penny is a sweet vizsla who’s spent most of her life right next to her dad. And I mean that quite literally – Penny’s family adopted her when she was very young, and her favorite place to be is only a few inches away from her favorite person in the world! Nothing can tempt her away from her dad’s side: not toys, other dogs, or even a treat… she even seems to think treats taste better when they come from his hand, haha!

For our photo session, we visited Mission Trails Regional Park and Lindo Lake County Park. While Mission Trails is already one of my favorite locations, I’d never been to Lindo Park before – so Penny showed me all around! It was a gorgeous sunny day, and we had a great time together!

I love photographing dogs that have close relationships with their humans, and it’s clear to anyone who meets her that Penny is head-over-heels for her dad. But to be totally honest with you, this photo session was a bit challenging for me! Penny was totally disinterested in my silly noises, trigger words (like “walkies!”) and treats. All the antics I typically use to earn a dog’s attention were simply not interesting to this little vizsla, as she preferred to take in her surroundings instead. (Or just look at her dad to see what he was thinking.) So I had a bit of a creative workout during our session, haha! I soon realized that Penny’s ears perked up whenever I threw something – so my treat bag became a toy, and I tossed it (and other random objects) around all afternoon! And at first, I really wanted to figure out the secret of getting her attention, but you know what – Penny wasn’t focused on me because she’s an independent little lady. She has a unique personality and her affection is clearly earned over time, over years of steadfast friendship… so while we don’t have as many photos of her looking at the camera with perked ears (a few of them actually do exist, haha – one is below!) we have plenty more photos of Penny scoping out her environment, perhaps envisioning the next adventure she’ll have with her dad. And I love that about her! So while she was overall unimpressed by me & my camera, her personality still shone through in our session, and I think we created some gorgeous, unique portraits of this sweet girl.

 

Penny was happy to go for a little walk on the trail with her dad, for a break from “posing”!

vizsla walking on trail

 

Such a sweet little lady.

cute vizsla dog

 

Lindo Park is Penny’s happy place, and it shows. She was really pleased to be there.

vizsla photo

 

 

Sandi & Nihil, thank you so much for the chance to meet your beautiful girl! I’ll see you again soon!

 

Ekin the German Shepherd! (Photos)

Monday, June 12th, 2017

When I first met Ekin, he was a little shy. He’s gorgeous, smart & attached to his mom Tara – but a bit reserved, the first time you say hello. (And that’s okay! I’m always happy to move at whatever pace makes a dog feel comfortable.)

But then we met up for his photo session, at a local park – and he definitely wasn’t shy anymore! When Ekin goes to the park, there’s only one thing he wants: his ball. So as soon as we stepped on the grass, he started bouncing around & looking at the bag of goodies his mom brought with them, knowing exactly what’s in there! Relaxation? No thank you. Treats? Nah. Training practice? Not on the agenda. Snuggle time? Doesn’t hold a candle to FETCH! So we quickly gave in and let Ekin do his favorite thing. And why not – we were there to play, anyway!

Then we were able to settle in for some slightly-calmer portraits – which was truly only possible thanks to all the training he & his mom have done together. Ekin is her first dog, and she knew from the beginning that she wanted him to be impeccably-trained. This process started back when she adopted him, through grad school (he was her little study buddy as a puppy!) and still continues today. Tara & Ekin are learning that training is never “done”, it’s always a work in progress, but they’ve made incredible leaps & bounds together. Ekin is one of the smartest dogs I’ve ever worked with, to be honest. And to show for it, they have an awesome bond. Plus – want to know the best part? Since Ekin is only 2 years old, I know they have a long, happy life ahead of them. Yay – I’m so happy for these two, and thrilled to have met them both! :)

This is Ekin, the sweet, handsome (and lanky) German shepherd. He’s gorgeous, right?!

german shepherd dog photo

 

Then we headed to Coronado beach! We actually went on a separate day, since the weather wasn’t cooperating after we finished at the park, and I’m so glad we both had flexible schedules. Look at that stunning blue water next to the warm tones of Ekin’s coat! I love it!!

german shepherd running

 

It was a stunning afternoon.

german shepherd in San Diego

 

Oh, Ekin. You’re such a good boy. Even with tons of sand in your face.

german shepherd photo

 

Tara, thank you so much for introducing me to your sweet boy! I had such a great time with both of you! Talk to you soon! :)

 

Best Pet Photography Session Locations in San Diego, CA

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017

bet pet photo locations san diego

 

I’m excited to share some of my favorite local spots around town with you! If you’re considering booking a pet photography session for you & your family, this will (hopefully) be a super-helpful source of ideas – or maybe the perfect memory jogger for that great spot you already know about! In any case, they’re the best pet photography session locations I know, so I think you’ll like them too!

 

For Any Pet: Your House!

best photo session location home

Your pets are most comfortable in their home, so why not cozy up on the couch for your photo session? I’d love to photograph your dog in his “natural habitat” as he runs around in the backyard, relaxes in the living room, and even snuggles into your bed (if he’s allowed!).

If your dog is uncertain of new places, or especially shy around new people, or elderly – or if you have a cat – this is probably the best place to be! And don’t worry about your hone not being photo-ready: I’ll be focusing on your dog, not the bits of clutter & dust in the corners of the room. But if your dog is highly territorial, or not allowed on any of the furniture, or you don’t have any backyard to speak of, or if you’re a contender for a future episode of Hoarders, keep reading…

 

For Active Dogs: the Beach!

beach for best pet photography session

We live in San Diego, for goodness’ sake! Let’s go to the BEACH! Whether you live near Coronado, Ocean Beach, Fiesta Island, La Jolla, Del Mar, or Encinitas – the beach is most likely a part of your lifestyle here in Southern California – so let’s GO! I looooove the beach! :)

If you have a retriever of any kind, or simply a pup that loves to run, swim & fetch, I’d be happy to meet you on the shores of San Diego. And since dog beaches are typically not ideal locations (because there are always a million of other dogs & distractions there), I know a bunch of dog-friendly beaches around town that aren’t packed with pups! Although if you have a dog that doesn’t like water, or can’t swim (coughbulldogscough), or simply doesn’t have the energy to run through the sand, this may not be the ideal location for your photo session. Keep scrolling…

 

For Any Dogs: the Park!

best pet photo session parks

We’re so lucky to have an incredible selection of gorgeous public parks around San Diego, and they’re all so diverse! Our parks have green grass, flowers, architecture, and plenty of room to run, depending on where you go… or maybe there’s a new park in your neighborhood that I’ve never visited with its own hidden treasures?

Every dog looks great on a backdrop of green grass. Seriously, all of them. The park is literally always a win (unless your dog can’t handle being outdoors for some reason). Just like the beach, I stay away from dog parks, and prefer parks that just happen to be dog-friendly instead. We’ll keep your dog safe whether we can trust him off-leash or not, and end up with a great variety of images that have a natural, classic feel. Bonus points if your dog has already been to the park we pick, and feels comfortable there from the get-go. You can’t go wrong!

 

For Outdoorsy Dogs: Hiking Trails!

best pet photography hiking session locations

My dog, Bailey, is an explorer. She’s happiest when she’s out in nature, sniffing everything, and discovering all the secrets of a new place. (And stumbling upon a wild rabbit is the icing on the cake, haha!) If your dog is anything like Bailey and loves to be out in the wilderness, let’s go hiking in one of San Diego’s many canyons & trails!

If the words “hiking buddy” describe your dog, this can be the perfect location! And there are plenty of trails around San Diego to choose from. But if your dog isn’t the “active” type, could run the risk of overheating in the sun, or has an obsessively-high prey drive, a trail might not be ideal after all. Read on…

 

 

 

For the Modern Dog: the Studio!

best pet photo session studio

Last but certainly not least, the studio is a fabulous location for a modern, fun photo session! The uncluttered, solid-color backdrops let your dog’s natural beauty shine through; there are no distracting visual elements. It’s all about your pet. Simple, classic & timeless.

The studio is perfect for dogs of all energy levels (yes, really!) that are comfortable in new environments. It’s the safest environment possible, since it’s totally private, 100% secure, and free of any major distractions. If your dog can’t stand the sight of other dogs, this might be the perfect place! But if your dog stresses out in new places, is scared of lightning (not thunder, but lightning, since I have two strobe lights in the studio) or simply comes alive when they’re outdoors & free – this place might not be ideal for them.

 

 

For the Discriminating Dog: another unique place!

pet photography session locations

I know several places in San Diego’s neighborhoods that don’t fit in the above categories. Sunset Cliffs, Old Poway Park, East Village (downtown), Cedros Avenue (Solana Beach), local marinas, military bases, luxury hotels, the Sweetwater Bridge… the possibilities are endless. Let’s get creative!

 

And remember: all this being said, I LOVE to discover new places. If you have a different location in mind – even if it’s far away – don’t hesitate to ask!

 

One more thing to consider:

At the end of the day, the best pet photography session locations for you are the ones that’ll complement the decor you already have in your house! If your house is decked out in beachy, pastel colors and you use seashells as design elements, we should definitely head to the beach. But if you prefer to decorate in a rustic style, with organic tones like browns and khakis, the natural environments of the park or the hiking trail would probably fit your look best. Take your current design strategy into consideration when you make this choice, and you’ll thank yourself later. On the other hand, if you don’t have much of a “design strategy” to speak of, the choices are wide open! Where would your dog like to go? 

A Pet Photography Proposal! Featuring Baby, the Cocker Spaniel

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017

When I first spoke with Alma, she told me all about her 15-year-old cocker spaniel, Baby, and as we planned our session date and chatted about details I simply thought this would be a typical photo session. We’d have a great time, end up with some adorable photos, and it would be another successful session! No hiccups, no worries, everything would go smooth as always.

Then I got a call from Jony, her boyfriend, that changed everything.

He told me he was planning on proposing during our photo session! I have to admit, some guys have it all figured out – and I completely admire Jony for planning ahead and making sure the moment would be captured on film! We came up with a strategy, planned our “signal” for when he would get down on one knee, and he even gave me the ring hours before our photo session took place so that it could be safely hidden in my camera bag (where Alma wouldn’t have a chance of seeing it). And you know what? The whole photo session leading up to the big moment, I had a huge smile on my face. I can’t remember the last time I had so much joy photographing a couple – because I knew they were about to spend the rest of their lives together. I can’t help but smile at the “family” photos we took before the proposal, because Alma – the sweetest person – had no idea that Jony was going to ask her to become his wife that day. That Jony was willing to stand by her side for the rest of time, and he was ready to ask if she’d do the same for him. It was an incredibly special day, one they’ll both remember for the rest of their lives – and honestly, I will too. Gah! I’m so completely thrilled for them!!

But enough talk – I know you want to see this amazing pet photography proposal already!! :)

 

First, an introduction: this is Baby! She’s been Alma’s constant companion for the past 15 years, and she did a great job in the studio (despite feeling a bit unsure of what exactly we were doing)!

pet photography proposal dog

 

I can’t believe this sweet little family is about to make it official!!

pet photography proposal shoot

 

After a bit of studio time, we headed to Balboa Park and wandered amongst the flowers & gardens.

pet photography proposal session

 

No words.

pet photography proposal

 

I think Baby approves.

pet photography proposal photo

 

Alma & Jony, thank you so much for including me as you start the rest of your lives together! I could not be happier for you two!!!

 

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! :)

 

 

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