Hi! I'm Ali, and welcome to my blog!

I'm an animal-loving, sun-worshipping photographer who specilaizes in FRESH photography for ACTIVE pet parents! I strive to help pet parents like YOU look good, feel good, and do good. To learn more about me, my services, products, and how I can help you, please visit my website at alipeterson.com.

Here, you'll find my most recent adventures in pet photography, including but not limited to: photo sessions with families and pet businesses, custom product information, helpful How-To articles, special event highlights, model calls, contests, and other useful resources to help educate and entertain you.

Nov 16, 2017

Are you worried about your pet’s condition? Are they getting old and showing signs of discomfort? Do they suffer from anxiety or have a hard time trusting people? Are they just not acting like themselves anymore and you’re clueless as to what is wrong? You’re not alone. And there is hope for your pet. Back in the day, my dogs would easily run 15-20 miles a week with me. In fact, I found it hard to keep up at times. Today, my dogs are seniors (ages 9 and 11), so it goes without saying they’ve slowed down a bit. Not only that, but they’re beginning to show signs of wear and tear, specifically in their bones and joints.  My youngest also suffers from anxiety…shaking and hiding whenever she hears a loud noise like fireworks or some one yelling.

Acupressure, Reiki For Dogs, Ali Peterson Photography Acupressure, Reiki For Dogs, Ali Peterson Photography

As pet parents, we want only the best for our dogs. We want to ensure they’re living a happy, healthy life. So, the first thing I did in an effort to remedy my dogs’ symptoms, was visit my friend Karen over at Carlsbad Pet & Feed because I know how important a dog’s diet is to their health. She suggested Zignature, a dog food specifically designed to help improve the overall health of dogs who need a specialized diet. My girls are loving it and I’ve already seen some improvements. But, even though a dog’s health is strongly dictated by it’s diet, often times it requires more of an effort to treat your dog’s issues. Karen referred me to her friend, Nedra Abramson of Reiki For All Creatures, to show me the ways of Massage, Acupressure, and Reiki for dogs. Nedra is all about empowering pet parents to pursue balance and awareness with their pets. During our session, she explained and demonstrated exactly what it is, how it works, and how it benefits animals, including those without any health issues.

Acupressure, Reiki For Dogs, Ali Peterson Photography Acupressure, Reiki For Dogs, Ali Peterson Photography

Acupressure and Reiki offer a gentle and noninvasive approach to treating an animal’s issues. Animals respond intuitively to its power to heal emotional, behavioral, and physical illness and injury. Regardless if your pet is already receiving a different type of treatment (i.e., Western Medicine, Chinese Medicine, homeopathy, etc), Acupressure and Reiki are wonderful supportive methods that are safe to do alongside other types of treatments. In fact, it’s important to note that Acupressure and Reiki for dogs is NOT an alternative to seeking professional help from your trusted veterinarian.

Regular massage on its own is a great modality to use with your pet, as it helps increase blood flow and lymph circulation, and enhances muscle tone and flexibility.  Many animals who suffer from emotional issues (depression, anxiety, shyness, distrust) respond well to the relaxation and positive touch of massage.

Acupressure, Reiki For Dogs, Ali Peterson Photography

Reiki can:

  • reduce the side effects of chemotherapy
  • support an acupuncture or acupressure treatment
  • enhance the effects of modality

Acupressure supports animals who:

  • suffer from acute conditions
  • are rehabilitating from surgery or injury
  • compete athletically
  • have behavioral issues
  • show signs and symptoms of aging
  • have arthritis

Massage benefits include:

  • relaxation and stress reduction
  • increased flexibility of soft tissue
  • reduction of edema (swelling)
  • enhancement of waste and toxin elimination
  • maintenance of good posture and body balance
  • prevention of atrophy in inactive muscles
  • improve athletic performance
  • loosening and softening scar tissue
  • releasing endorphins which are naturally occurring steroids in the body which act to assuage pain
  • enhance muscle tone and range of motion
  • advances healing though increased flow of nutrients to injured muscles
  • lengthens connective tissue and reduces the formation of adhesions leading to fibrosis
  • helps with emotional wellbeing
  • reduces anxiety
  • helps to increase trust and the emotional bond

Acupressure, Reiki For Dogs, Ali Peterson PhotographyAcupressure, Reiki For Dogs, Ali Peterson Photography

Reiki For Dogs Chart

The interesting thing about Reiki is that it’s performed without even touching the pet. As explained on Reiki.org, “It is administered by “laying on hands” and is based on the idea that an unseen ‘life force energy’ flows through us and is what causes us to be alive. If one’s ‘life force energy’ is low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stress, and if it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy.” Acupressure and massage, however, are performed by applying a certain amount of pressure to specific points on the body that correspond with other areas of the body (i.e., massaging the point behind the knee helps relieve pain in the hips and knees). My main concerns with Skyy are mainly due to her old age, specifically her joints and immune health. With that in mind, Nedra focused on points of her body that would help reduce inflammation, relieve stiffness, support immune function, strengthen tendons, and lessen the pain. As with all her customers, Nedra supplies a comprehensive chart that visually shows the points and the areas they affect. Check out Skyy’s chart below:

reiki for dogs, reiki chart for joint pain in dog

Rain’s biggest issue isn’t so much the old age, but the anxiety. She’ll quiver with her eyes practically bulging out of her head in fear of any loud noise. Rain also has a sensitive immune system and falls victim to several environmental allergies. For her, Nedra focused on points that would help calm stress and support immune function. Check out Rain’s chart below:

reiki for dogs, reiki chart for dogs with anxiety

My dogs have never had any issues getting comfortable with strangers, but they were in HEAVEN during their time with Nedra. Seeing them so at ease and comfortable  filled my heart with joy. Towards the end of the session, Skyy was passed out snoring and Rain was just way too relaxed to even try to hold the toots in (not that dogs ever hold in their farts, but you get the idea). It was true bliss for them…and me!


As mentioned, Nedra is all about empowering pet parents to pursue balance and awareness with their pets.  It’s crucial to be mindful of your pet’s health.  Even when they try their best to communicate with us when something is wrong, we can’t read their minds.  And you certainly don’t want to wait until it’s “too late” to fix the problem. Take preventative action now to ensure your pet a long, happy life.

You can find more information about Massage, Acupressure, and Reiki for dogs by visiting Nedra’s website at reikiforallcreatures.com. Act now to take advantage of her holiday promotion – $75 session includes: Consultation, Assessment, Personalized Point Chart and Diagram (that’s an $85 value)! Contact her today…

Nedra Abramson

Reiki For All Creatures




Sep 28, 2017

Once you’ve decided to invest in a pet portrait experience, there’s a whole other list of decisions you’ll need to make. Not many, but some…when to do it? …what to wear? …where to go? But, there’s no need to panic. If you’ve found a good photographer, they will gladly educate you on your options and offer suggestions…or even make the decision for you in some cases 😉 One of the most common decisions clients need help with is how to choose a photo shoot location. I personally LOVE when clients rely on me to suggest a location. As a photographer, the only thing worse than a bad location is bad light. So, what makes a good location? Here’s a few things that pet parents should consider when trying to choose a photo shoot location for their pet family portraits:

Where is familiar/comfortable for your pet?

Think about where your pet spends most of their time. Most people would say their home. And, guess what…your home can be an excellent photo shoot location! You don’t need to live in a mansion or perfectly landscaped cottage to have a photo shoot at your home. Sure, you’ll want to tidy up a bit, but any professional photographer will be able to work with whatever type of environment your home provides. A home can offer several options for different shots: in the backyard, in the frontward, on the couch, in the kitchen, on your bed, in the car, or around the neighborhood.

San Diego Pet Photo Shoot Location, Ali Peterson PhotographySan Diego Pet Photo Shoot Location, Ali Peterson Photography San Diego Pet Photo Shoot Location, Ali Peterson Photography

Legality matters.

I’m all for breaking some rules in order to get a good shot, but you can only go so far when animals are involved. For pet family portraits, it’s important to ensure that pets are actually allowed at the location. And if they are, what rules apply? Can they be off-leash? Are they only allowed during a certain time of year? Is it restricted to service animals? Luckily, San Diego is a very pet-friendly place. The majority of parks and other public hot spots allow pets. Most places require pets to be leashed, but that doesn’t mean your photos have to rock the leash too. Like I said, I’m all for breaking some rules (like unleashing for a minute or crossing a boundary line) so long as the situation proves safe enough. And if that’s not an option, there’s always the magic of Photoshop to get rid of an unwanted object 😉

San Diego Pet Photo Shoot Location, Ali Peterson Photography San Diego Pet Photo Shoot Location, Ali Peterson Photography San Diego Pet Photo Shoot Location, Ali Peterson Photography

photographed at Bressi Ranch in Carlsbad, CA

Try to avoid crowds (especially pet crowds).

The dog park may be your pet’s favorite place to play, but it’s not the best photo shoot location. Not only will there be an abundance of distractions, but there’s a good chance the other dogs will want to steal the spotlight. Your photo session is YOUR photo session. You don’t want tons of other pets messing with your experience. With that said, you don’t need to find a place where NO other pets will be. I mean, that’s almost impossible (unless you stay home). But, it’s beneficial to choose a location that provides options for getting away from others. The less crowded the location, the less distracted your pet will be, and the cleaner your photos will look.

San Diego Pet Photo Shoot Location, Ali Peterson Photography San Diego Pet Photo Shoot Location, Ali Peterson Photography San Diego Pet Photo Shoot Location, Ali Peterson Photography

photographed at La Jolla Cove in La Jolla, CA

Ask your photographer for recommendations!

There’s a reason photographers like me are called “on-location photographers.” It’s because we spend every shooting hour at a location (not in a studio). And when we’re not shooting at a location, we’re scouting them. And when we find a place we like, we make the effort to shoot there again. So, if you find yourself clueless as to where to go, or even if you have a preference but aren’t sure where exactly, just ask! I personally have a TON of uncharted territory to still scout in sunny San Diego, but a few of my favorites so far include: Guajome Park, Los Peñasquitos Canyon, Balboa Park, and Seaport Village.

San Diego Pet Photo Shoot Location, Ali Peterson PhotographySan Diego Pet Photo Shoot Location, Ali Peterson Photography San Diego Pet Photo Shoot Location, Ali Peterson Photography

Photographed at Balboa Park in San Diego, CA

So, now that you know HOW to choose, WHERE would you like to go?! Call or email me to schedule your complimentary Consultation, and we’ll discuss all your location options.


Jul 27, 2017

Many clients go into a photography session thinking they want all the photos as digital files because it’s easier, cheaper, faster…The truth is, most clients THINK they want digital files because they simply don’t know the true value in other, more tangible products. That’s why I’m here to explain the pros and cons of purchasing digital files, so that you can make the educated decision (as opposed to an assumption) on whether or not you should buy them.

digital files, ali peterson photography

1. Freedom to DIY

If you’re like me, you love to create. And having a stockpile of professional photos in your creativity toolbox offers endless possibilities for crafting. With digital files at your disposal, you’re able to rock your DIY skills in a way you probably couldn’t do if you had taken the photos yourself.

BUT…this also requires you to DIY. If you’re like me, you’re also pretty darn busy. So, trying to find time to create something just for fun is not always easy. Before you know it, it’s months, even years later, and those digital files are still sitting on that USB drive, waiting to be transformed into a work of art.

digital files, ali peterson photography

2. Longevity of files vs prints

Despite the fact that technology is ever-changing, a JPG file is still more likely to last longer than a 16×20 print. This is simply because of it’s form – files can be kept safe on a computer or hard drive, while prints are out on display for all to see and touch.

BUT…what’s the point of having those files if no one gets to see the photos? Isn’t that the point of getting professional pictures taken? To display for all to see, to show off how adorable your pet is, to showcase your family’s unconditional love?

Plus, just because your digital files are safely stored on your computer, doesn’t mean they can’t accidentally get deleted or lost. It’s a lot easier to lose a dinky little JPG file in a sea of photos and other computer clutter, than it is to lose a 16×20 framed print.

digital files, ali peterson photography

3. Instant gratification and ability to share

In today’s world, most people desire instant gratification, especially when it comes to photos. They want to immediately show off their images and brag about how much fun they had during their photo shoot and how skilled their pet is at modeling. And when photos are in digital format, it makes sharing extremely fast and easy.

BUT…with patience comes great reward. A photo that is shared on social media and viewed on a screen no bigger than your hand doesn’t receive the same response as if that same photo was shared as part of a large wall gallery in your living room. If you want to really impress your friends and family, invite them over for dinner and show off your wall gallery that was designed to be admired by an audience.

With that said…I don’t believe in holding photos hostage. I really want my clients to share their photos with the world! That’s why I include a custom mobile app with every session. It provides clients with a fast and easy way to share all their photos on social media, email, and/or in person. Read more about the custom mobile app HERE.

digital files, ali peterson photography

4. Cost vs Value

Now, before I go off on a tangent, let me just say that this is the biggest misconception clients have about digital files. And I don’t blame them! It’s a common misunderstanding, so let me explain…

Professional photographers who value prints over digital files will charge anywhere from $25-$200 for an 8×10 print. And the first thing many clients think is “why is it SO expensive? It cost $0.15 at Costco/Target/Walmart!” Well, big surprise…professional photographers aren’t getting their photos printed at Costco, Target, or Walmart. We use professional labs that print our images the way they’re suppose to look. If a client takes a digital file and has it printed somewhere other than through the photographer, they run the risk of receiving a low quality print that looks nothing like the photo they see on their screen. In fact, its’ almost guaranteed to NOT look the way it’s suppose to.

By trying to save money and get prints made at a low-cost lab, you not only devalue the work of the photographer, but you also devalue the investment you made in the photo session. If you’re going to invest hundreds of dollars on a photo session, you’re only cheating yourself by trying to save a few bucks on prints.

With that said…most photographers will still offer digital files, but at a premium price. I do this simply because at the end of the day, I want you to get the products you really want, but I also want you to spend your money wisely. I charge a higher price for A La Carte digital files because I don’t want that to be the only thing you buy. By purchasing a package, you still get digital files, but you also get all the other tangible items that you’ll be much more satisfied with, and you save up to 40%!!

digital files, ali peterson photography

5. Conveniency

If you’re looking for convenience, there are tons of photographers out there who offer the shoot-and-burn “service.” I use “service” in quotes, because to me, that’s just not MY idea of “real” service. It’s quick and cheap…just shoot and hand over the digital files. Done, bye! And that can be convenient for some…not having to get together for multiple meetings with the photographer, not having to figure out what products to order, not having to do much of anything besides show up for the photo shoot.

BUT…if you’re looking for a photographer who’s going to cater to your needs, listen to your goals, invest time and energy into creating a custom experience and products designed specifically for you, then shoot-and-burn is not the route you want to take. You’re not looking for convenience, you’re looking for custom.

And digital files are the LEAST custom option when it comes to professional photography. Besides the fancy USB drive they come on, there’s nothing custom about it. Sure, the images themselves were taken at a photo shoot that was customized for you, but the entire experience is meant to be customized, so why stop at the products?

With that said…you don’t necessarily have to skip out on the convenience. My sessions are designed to be as convenient for my clients as possible. I find other ways to make it easy and enjoyable for you, like letting you sign paperwork electronically, providing payment plans if needed, sending friendly reminders and suggestions for preparing, and my all-time favorite, the Art Installation service…It doesn’t get much more convenient than that!

digital files, ali peterson photography

So, if you THINK you want to purchase digital files, I encourage you to THINK a bit more about WHY you actually want them. Explain your reasons during your Consultation and I’ll help you determine what it is you REALLY want!

Want to book a Consultation to discuss it further? Have more questions about digital files? Call or email me, I’m happy to help!