UPY 2019 has twelve main categories (and two additional categories below):
- Wide Angle: for wide angle images shot anywhere in the world. Wreck photos are welcome in this category, but you will probably want to enter them in category 3. Open to all.
- Macro: for close-up/macro images shot anywhere in the world. Open to all.
- Wrecks: for wide angle to macro images shot on wrecks. The wreck can be the main subject, or simply the setting for a marine life, macro or diver photograph. Photos can be taken anywhere in the world. Open to all.
- Behaviour: for wide angle to close-up and macro images showing interesting natural behaviour of underwater life. These images can be shot anywhere in the world. Open to all.
- Portrait: for wide angle to close-up and macro images depicting a sense of character of the chosen subject. These images can be shot anywhere in the world. Open to all.
- Black & White: for black and white images of any underwater subject (macro or wide angle) shot anywhere in the world. Toning and tinting is permitted. Black and white photos are eligible in all categories, but are more likely to be successful here. Open to all.
- Compact: for wide angle or close-up/macro images shot anywhere in the world (including the UK) with a compact camera (includes stills from GoPro and other action cameras, does not include interchangeable lens mirrorless cameras). Open to all. Entrants to this category will only be accepted from photographers who's ONLY underwater camera is of a 'compact' type.
- Up & Coming: for wide angle or close-up/macro images shot anywhere in the world (including the UK). Open only to underwater photographers who have not previously been awarded in an underwater photography competition or been published.
The aim of this category is to showcase the work of new talent.
- British Waters Wide Angle: for images shot anywhere in UK waters*. Open to all.
- British Waters Macro: for close-up/macro images shot anywhere in UK waters*. Open to all.
- British Waters 'Living Together': This is a new category for the 2019 competition and is sponsored by The Crown Estate. The Crown Estate play a role in managing activities on the seabed around England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and wanted to create a category that showcases the co-existence of nature and human activities on the UK seabed. We are happy for photographers to interpret the Living Together theme in a broad fashion in the first year of this new category. We are looking for strong, striking images (both macro and wide angle) that show the value of natural and/or man-made habitats in British Seas, particularly offshore renewables. Open to all.
- British Waters Compact: for wide angle or close-up/macro images shot in British Waters with a compact camera (includes stills from GoPro and other action cameras, does not include interchangeable lens mirrorless cameras). Open to all. The aim of this category is to encourage more photographers to take photos in British waters and demonstrate what can be achieved with modest camera equipment. Therefore entrants to this category will only be accepted from photographers who's ONLY underwater camera is of a 'compact' type.
Marine Conservation Photographer of the Year
Marine Conservation Photographer of the Year: (new for 2019) is open to both underwater and "above water" photos. Open to all photographers (even those who are not underwater photographers).
This category has a separate entry system. This is a single image category and photographers may enter up to 5 images. Photos can be taken underwater or above the water but must highlight a marine conservation story (both positive and negative stories are eligible). Freshwater themed images are not allowed.
Images will be judged without captions (but entrants can assume that the judges will be aware of most major marine conservation topics). The winning images will, however, be displayed with a full caption.
2019 is a trial year for this category. Therefore it is free to enter and there is no prize. The winning photographer will be named Marine Conservation Photographer of the Year 2019, and will be promoted alongside the other UPY winners.
Underwater Photography Book of the Year
Underwater Photography Book : This category is for underwater photography books first published after 1st January 2017.
Eligible books must contain at least 50 underwater photographs and must be entered by the main photographer/author.
All types of underwater photography (wreck, nature, conservation, studio etc) can be entered and will be judged according to the photographic theme of the book.
The text of the book will only be a minor factor in the judging process and books published in languages other than English are eligible.
Self published books and eBooks are eligible, but they must have an ISBN.
Authors can enter more than one title. At present this category is free to enter and there is no prize, but the winning publication will be named Underwater Photography Book Of The Year 2019, and will be promoted alongside the other UPY winners.
How to enter: Please use the contact us form to find out how you can send us a copy of your book - we must receive your book before 4th January 2019 (proof of postage will not be accepted as proof of receipt!)
You can enter as many of the categories as you wish and can enter as many images into each categories as you wish (up to the allowed number of images you have selected and paid for on registration). Each image can only be entered in one category. All nationalities of photographers can enter all categories.
Entries into the Marine Conservation Photographer of the Year Award and the Underwater Photography Book of the Year Award are free and do not count towards your total number of entries in the other categories.
* UK Waters are defined as coastal seas, lakes, rivers etc within the United Kingdom (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) and the waters of British Channel Islands, Isle of Man. It does not include aquariums or swimming pools. It does not include the waters of British overseas territories.
Photos taken in the UK can be entered in all categories.
We are not featuring video categories in UPY 2019, but we hope to in future editions.