We had the good fortune of connecting with Allison Shamrell and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Allison, what do you attribute your success to?
Have you ever heard the saying “Jack of all trades, master of none”? I believe the most important factor behind my success has been my willingness to specialize. I’m not a wedding photographer, or a newborn photographer, or even a family photographer. I am a pet photographer. And beyond that, I have a distinct style that I really don’t deviate from: my images are natural, playful & soulful. If you want formal, posed portraits of your dog, you’re better off finding someone else. If your style is vintage and old-fashioned, I’m probably not who you want behind the camera. But if you want real emotions and naturally un-posed moments, I’m your photographer. My clients play fetch and run around on the beach! And that spirit is exactly what you’ll find in my images. I’m a pet photographer with a distinct style, and that’s what my clients have come to expect & love.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’ve been a professional pet photographer for the past 10 years. I started my business in Pensacola, Florida, since my husband was stationed in the military there, and in 2013 we moved to San Diego. I work with families as well as businesses, and you can see my images hanging on the walls of my clients’ homes as well as on the packaging of various products at local pet supply stores. It hasn’t always been easy, but it’s always been a labor of love. I really, genuinely enjoy what I do – and thank goodness, because my day-to-day consists of 90% business and 10% photography. (When I first started I thought it would be the other way around!)
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love the classic tourist spots: the Hotel Del, the sea lions in La Jolla, Balboa Park, etc. I like to do kitschy things sometimes, so I would take a friend on the tourist trolley that goes around town – I rode it when we first moved here, and actually learned a lot! I also spend plenty of time at the beach whenever I can, and I’ll consider the trip a success if my friend walks away with an understanding of what makes Del Mar different from Windansea, and Coronado different from PB, etc.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My husband, who always takes my crazy dreams seriously.
Other: I also have a Facebook group in which I share lots of pet photography tips, for free! It’s called Take Better Photos of Your Dog and it’s here: www.facebook.com/groups/takebetterphotosofyourdog