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About a year ago, Moose and Koda were photographed by a professional pet photographer in San Diego, Allison Shamrell.

To be honest, prior to owning Moose and Koda, I didn’t even know that professional pet photographers existed. (Did you?) I stumbled onto Allison’s Instagram one evening while I was browsing some hashtags and I spent the rest of the night diving into the immense world of pet photography. I fell in love with Allison’s work and I knew we had to schedule a shoot with her before Lance and I moved to Texas.

Fast forward to the day of our shoot:

We had a few minutes to chat before our shoot began, and I had to ask my one burning question: “How did you become a pet photographer?” Her eyes immediately lit up and she dove into her photography story. Allison started doing sports photography in college and ultimately found her way into pet photography after adopting her dog, Bailey.

The entire time she was telling her story she was beaming. It was obvious that she has a passion for pet photography, and it shows in her work! I was SO excited to see what she would capture with my dogs.

I will admit — I was a little nervous about Moose and Koda. They are fairly well behaved dogs, but I had talked them up with Allison quite a bit so I didn’t want to disappoint. After about 5 minutes of shooting, I was completely care free and I was right along side Moose rolling around in the grass. I loved the entire process from start to finish and the results were better than I could have ever imagined.

Now that I have had my dogs professionally photographed, it has completely changed my outlook on pet photography.  I am a strong believer that everyone should have their pets professionally photographed at least once in their lifetime and here’s why:

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  1. They can capture your pet’s personality

Sure, most photographers (or anyone with a smartphone) can capture your dog sitting and looking up at you. But no one can capture your pet’s quirky, fun personality like a pet photographer can. They somehow find a way to get those goofy expressions that are unique to your pet. This is my favorite photo of Moose because it captures him SO well – goofiness and all.

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2. You can’t beat the experience

Pet photo shoots are a TON of fun. Everyone can just relax, watch their pets be themselves, and enjoy the experience. At the end of the day, you will have some breathtaking photos to remember it all.  

Moose and Koda were having such a good time during our session — they decided to sneak in a little wrestling match. I went over to break them up but Allison stopped me and quickly cranked up shutter speed to capture some stellar action shots like this one.

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3. Puppies won’t stay puppies forever

I adore my dogs’ puppy photos. They remind me of the innocent, carefree days of puppyhood. As cliche as it is, they grow up SO fast. I felt like I blinked and they were adults. Looking back, I wish I had taken more quality photos of them as puppies. (Or even better, hired someone to do it for me)

Koda was roughly 10 months old here so she still had a lot of her puppy features — which I love!

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4. There is room for you too!

I love seeing my little family from the outside looking in. I normally don’t like being photographed, but being in photos with my pets is my one exception. I absolutely adore this photo of Moose and I (even if it is just my arm in the photo). There is a special bond between pets and their owners and pet photographers know how to capture that bond so well.

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5. Life is short

As sad as it is to think about it, our beloved companions won’t last forever. There will come a day when they are no longer with us. What will you have to remember them by: a few hundred smartphone photos, or a leather bound photo album filled with high quality photographs?

I am incredibly thankful for shooting with Allison before we left California and I will treasure these photos forever. Lance and I are already planning on making a trip back to San Diego in a few years for round 2.

So what do you think? Do you want to hire a professional pet photographer? Have you worked with one before? Let me know in the comments below!