Competition Rules

  • All photos must be taken underwater (split-level images are permitted as long as a part of image is underwater). Photos for the British Categories (categories 8-10) must be taken in the waters of the UK.
  • Categories 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 & 10 are open to all photographers. Category 7 is open only to photographers who have never won an underwater photography award nor had their work published by 1st November 2016 (you must decide if you fit into this category, please do not ask the competition organisers). Category 10 is open to all photographers ONLY using a compact camera to shoot underwater photographs in British Waters.
  • Categories 6 & 10 are intended for photographers who's ONLY underwater camera is of a 'compact' type at the time the image was taken.
  • Upon paying the entry fee of either £5 GBP, £15 GBP or £20 GBP, photographers may enter up to 3, up to 15 or up to 20 images across the categories. Payment is via PayPal only.
  • The deadline for entries is strictly 2nd January 2017 23:59 (GMT).
  • All photos must be the work of the photographer entering.
  • Images taken on a compact camera can be entered into any category.
  • An image can only be entered into one category.
  • Photos must not be more than three years old on the opening date of the competition (ie: must have been taken after 31st October 2013).
  • Any images that have been awarded in major competitions or widely seen in publication are eligible, but are less likely to win favour with the judges.
  • For simplicity, there are no restrictions on post processing. However, this is not a Photoshop contest and winning images are expected to represent reality. Black and white images are accepted in all categories.
  • Cropping is permitted, but winning images must still have sufficient resolution for production of the exhibition prints. Photographers placing in the top 10 in each category will be asked to provide higher resolution files before the final results are confirmed.
  • Do not put your name your the picture. The judging is anonymous and images containing a photographer’s watermark will be excluded.
  • The judges' decision on all matters is final; no correspondence will be entered into.

Image Usage

  • The copyright of all image will remain with the photographer.
  • UPY reserves the right to reproduce the best images royalty free, but only in connection with sharing the competition results and promoting the Underwater Photographer of the Year contest. Photos will always be used with credit to the photographer (e.g. "Peter Rowlands/UPY 2017 etc").
  • We hope that many publications and our sponsors will showcase the results of this competition and benefit the photographers with high profile exposure for their talents.

Preparing Images

  • Our bespoke entry form will rename your files so that judging remains anonymous.
  • All entries must be resized to 1500 pixels in the longest dimension at 300dpi.
  • Images should be entered as JPG files, saved at best quality.
  • Colour space should ideally be Adobe 1998 RGB, however the judging will use software that can read any standard colour profile.
  • Please mark the boxes on the entry form if you are eligible for the British photographer and/or the Most Promising photographer awards.
  • Please contact us through the contact form if you have any queries.
  • DO NOT watermark images with your name.

Your Information

  • While we have required you to enter using your email address, we will NEVER share this with anyone outside the organisers.
  • We will only contact you with regard to this competition, and for no other reason.
  • At no point will we hold any payment information, which will be handled by PayPal.

Points Make Prizes

The competition is open to all photographers: professionals and amateurs. A single photographer can win all the categories they enter. A single photographer, can theoretically (if they are British and have never won a contest before), win all three special awards. However, a single photographer can only take home one prize. This will not affect the published results or placings in the categories.

Each photographer will receive points for each photo that places in the top 10 of each category. And as all Brits can tell you: "What do points make? Points make Prizes!"

The overall Underwater Photographer of the Year will get the top prize, and be taken out of the prize pool. The image will not also be named as the winner of the respective category. In that category there will still be 10 winning images.

The photographer with the most points (in total across all categories) will get first choice of prize from our sponsors, the photographer with the second highest points total will get second choice, and so on until the prize fund is exhausted. This system has two advantages, first winners get to choose their prizes, so end up with prizes they really need. And second more individuals will take home prizes from the festival.

The 7 main categories (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8 & 9) will award points for the top 10 places as follows:

The other category (7) will award less points as this category typically attract less entrants and are often dominated by relatively few photographers:

Both Compact categories (6 Compact and 10 British Compact) will have dedicated prizes. Therefore there will be no points awarded for any images being 'placed' in these two categories that will be counted in the overall prize allocation.

Please note that we won’t publish the results as a top 10 in each category, this is just for the points. Instead the top 10 will be published as Winner, Runner Up, Third Place, 4x highly commended (4th-7th), 3 x commended (8th-10th).

'Hello give us a kiss' - Sara Bowring



© Underwater Photographer of the Year / Dan Bolt