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Hamaker Award Honoree 2014


April Turner

Owner / Photographer

Uturn Studios

April Turner is owner & photographer at UTurn Studios – the area's first photography studio dedicated solely to pet photography. Turner founded UTurn Studios in 2006, when her passion for art and design collided with her love of animals. At that time, Turner was working as Creative Director at a local ad agency, and spending her spare time fostering dogs for the Humane Society of Southwest Missouri. Seeing a demand for better photos to aid in the adoption of the dogs she was fostering, she began to take photos of each of the dogs in her care. As those photos were viewed and shared, a new business arose from a growing number of requests for Turner to take photos of pets for others. As Turner has worked to grow her studio, it has remained ever-important to her to give back to the animal community that has allowed her to follow her dream career. Turner uses her background in graphic design and marketing, paired with her pet photography, to help local animal welfare non-profits in a variety of ways. Turner provides graphic design assistance for The Killuminati Foundation and the Humane Society of Southwest MIssouri by assisting with design and layout of materials to market fundraising events and campaigns. You'll spot Turner at many pet-related fundraising events, donating her time to snap event photos to be used  to bring in additional donations for the event and to help publicize the event for the next year. Perhaps her biggest contribution has been in the way of photographing adoptable pets for many organizations over the years, including The Killuminati Foundation, Wonder Weims, Boxer-Schnauzer Rescue of the Ozarks, the Humane Society of Southwest Missouri and Home for Life Cat Sanctuary helping to better market these available rescues to potential adopters.  Once Turner's portraits of adoptable pets had circulated for a while, it began to become clear just how much of an impact a great photo could have in helping pair an adoptable pet with a potential family. Feeling the need to expand upon this, Turner co-founded The Model Pet Project with colleagues Robin Bulster and Misti Fry. The Model Pet Project is a monthly program that shines a light on the unique and lovable characteristics of the dogs and cats at The Humane Society of Southwest Missouri. Each month, the three founders, along with a host of volunteers work with 50 shelter pets through play and positive training to achieve photos that capture their personalities.  Now halfway through its' third year, The Model Pet Project has photographed over 1500 adoptable cats & dogs. The results have been overwhelmingly positive, gaining more attention for the animals who need it the most. Model Pets receive more than twice as many views as other pets featured on PetFinder, and the quality of Turner's photos has garnered more shares through local media outlets resulting in much more exposure for the shelter pets.  When not behind the camera, you're most likely to find Turner somewhere outdoors with her family, including her dogs Ellie, Clyde & Huck; and Ringo the Bengal cat (who thinks he's a dog). April Turner

UTurn Studios





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