Cindy Miller Hopkins is a full-time travel and wildlife photographer. Her images can be seen on the pages of hundreds of textbooks, travel brochures, calendars and other consumer products, as well as U.S. and international magazines. Her freelance, workshop and assignment career has taken her to seven continents and more than 140 countries. Cindy is a long-time member of the American Society of Picture Professionals and, currently, co-president of the NANPA Foundation Board. When she’s not traveling (which isn’t often) she lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
What is your “day” job?
I’m a full- time stock and assignment photographer specializing in travel, nature and cultural imagery. An average year for me includes over 175 days of travel with about 60 percent assignment work and 40 percent freelance. I also teach photo workshops on small expedition-style cruise ships, and I’ve led a few photo tours for the NANPA Foundation.
What committees have you served on, when, and what responsibilities have you assumed?
I was a volunteer in the portfolio room at the Summits for the Portfolio Review Committee from 2003-2004, and I co-chaired the committee for four years after that. I’ve been involved ever since, but in more of an advisory position. The portfolio review room is a busy place. To ensure that it runs smoothly, a lot of hours must go into planning and organization before, during and after the Summit. This involves everything from inviting reviewers to the Summit, providing review guidelines for both the reviewers and clients, organizing and scheduling reviews—and this is before the Summit even starts. During the Summit, it’s all about being in the portfolio room to assist the clients and reviewers in any way possible. You set up the review room, post bios, book additional reviews, process payments, run the clock and try to keep everybody on schedule. After the Summit, a full accounting of the reviews and the post-review questionnaires are provided to the NANPA Board. Whew!
I love being a NANPA Buddy. Each Summit year, NANPA selects existing members to be buddies to new members or Summit attendees so they will feel more like they are part of the events. We email each other before the Summit and arrange a meeting at the Summit. It’s nice to have someone waiting for you when you arrive who will guide you. Buddies answer questions and try to put the person at ease. We show the newbies around and introduce them to other members. Often, we eat lunch together or attend breakout sessions. It’s great fun!
For about eight years now, I have volunteered to help both the High School and College programs during the Summit—I often volunteer during the Summit to do mock portfolio reviews with the students to help prepare them for their “real” reviews. I also talk to the students about the business end of photography, give them advice on negotiating contracts and the importance of sound business practices, bookkeeping, good marketing and metadata.
I worked with the Foundation Silent Auction Committee for about six years. The auction was recently transformed into a Foundation store and I currently help with that during the Summits. Like the portfolio reviews, the silent auction and the store take a lot of work before the Summit to get things organized. Before the summit, we solicit items from vendors, manufacturers and individual members and give each item an accurate description and dollar value. During the Summit, the items are logged in and displayed. After the auction, payments are processed; for the store, processing is done at the time of sale. Then, it starts all over again for next Summit. The Foundation store, located in the exhibit hall, offers Summit attendees a greater opportunity to purchase items from the Foundation. Like the silent auction, the store supports the high school and college programs, the photo blind program and several grants.
I’ve been working with the Foundation Silent Auction Committee for about six years. Recently, we have moved away from the silent auction to a Foundation store with a booth during the Summit that offers our members a greater opportunity to purchase items from the Foundation. I currently help with the Foundation Store during the Summits. Like the Portfolio Reviews, the silent auction takes a lot of work before the Summit to get things organized. Mostly, we solicit items to auction from vendors, manufacturers and individual members. Then, before the Summit, each item is given an accurate description and dollar value. During the Summit, the auction items are logged in and displayed. After the auction, payment is processed. Then, it starts all over again for the next year. The store supports the High School and College programs, the Photo Blind program and several grants.
I’ve been on the Foundation Board for six years and am currently co-president. I attend summer and winter board meetings when I’m in town, and I assist in running the NANPA Foundation to ensure the longevity of the many programs that we fund for NANPA. I love being on this board and getting together with other board members. Everybody on the board has been a NANPA member for many years, and most have been with NANPA from the very beginning. They all work hard volunteering their time, money and expertise to keep funding coming in for the NANPA programs near and dear to our hearts.
What were your greatest accomplishments or the highlights thus far?
It’s always a highlight to work with budding photographers in the portfolio room and with the students. Their creativity inspires me to do better, so it’s a symbiotic relationship. For those times when I’m exposed to the same photographer’s work year after year, seeing how it evolves can be thrilling.
How long have you been a NANPA member?
My first Summit was in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2003, but I originally joined NANPA the year before just for the equipment insurance. I went to the Albuquerque Summit for the portfolio reviews. I was at a turning point in my photography—keep it a hobby or move forward and try to actually sell some images? I needed a “real” professional opinion, and the portfolio reviews were just the right thing for me. I did five reviews and got two offers from agents. I wasn’t even looking for an agent, but Danita Delimont seemed like a good fit. She has been my agent ever since. Now, Danita represents more than 30,000 of my images, and I have thousands of textbook, calendar, magazine, travel brochures and retail product sales. I have been volunteering for NANPA for ten years now. I figure I owe my career to NANPA.