UPY 2020 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 photos from phones and 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 won a major international photography competition, and do not have work regularly printed in paying publications.
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' (Updated for 2021): This category is sponsored by The Crown Estate. We are happy for photographers to interpret the Living Together theme in a broad fashion in the third year of this category. The seabed and marine waters around the UK are home to a vast array of species and natural habitats; it is also a place for people to enjoy recreational activities such as diving and sailing; as well as providing valuable natural resources such as renewable energy and food. To celebrate this wide ranging value of the British Seas, we are looking for strong, striking images (both macro and wide angle) that showcase the variety of nature and human activities on the UK seabed. This category is sponsored by The Crown Estate who play a role in the sustainable management of the seabed around England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Open to all. Free to enter (up to 5 images).
- British Waters Compact: for wide angle or close-up/macro images shot in British Waters with a compact camera (includes photos from phones and 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 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 also 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.
This category is free to enter and there is no prize. The winning photographer will be named Marine Conservation Photographer of the Year 2021, 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 where the book/current edition was published after 1st January 2019.
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. If the book exists in both electronic and hard copy, the book is far more likely to succeed in the contest when the quality of the printed copy can be appreciated.
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 2021, 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 5th January 2021 (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.