Ocean Art Photo Competition 2013


Thank you for considering to enter the 3rd annual Underwater Photography Guide Ocean Art Photo Competition. The contest features over 35 liveaboard, resort and gear sponsors exceeding $80,000 USD in value.  1st, 2nd and most 3rd place winners in all categories are able to choose from excellent prizes.

This is a virtual contest - simply upload underwater photos taken anywhere, anytime. Registration & Entries accepted starting July 10, 2013! Just submit on or before the November 17th 2013 late entry deadline.


SUBMISSION DEADLINE: Nov 14th (deadline has passed!)
Late entries $12/photo, are being accepted until Nov 17th 11:59PM California time



Instruction & Entry Fees

  • Late Entry Fee is $12 USD per photo.  Enter 10 photos, get the 11th free ($120) OR pay for 20 photos ($240), get 3 free photos (23 total)
  • Enter photos via our upload form, JPEG format, at least 2500 pixels at the longest length
  • Payment must be made via paypal to contest@uwphotographyguide.com within 24 hours of uploading photos. Please note that paypal accepts all credit cards - it's easy!
  • Goto www.paypal.com and send the entry fee to contest@uwphotographyguide.com, or click on the "pay now" button



Upload Your Photos

The Entry deadline for Ocean Art 2013 is passed.  Follow UWPG on Facebook for announcement of the winners and for info on the 2014 contest.




Ocean Art Contest Judges


Tony Wu

Tony is a underwater photographer seemingly always on the go.  He is author of author of a coffee table book entitled Silent Symphony, which received the grand prize for best book of the year at Antibes in 2001. He also won the prestigious Veolia environment wildife photographer of the year award.  Here is Tony's bio.


Martin Edge

Martin Edge is best known for being the author of the most popular book on Underwater Photography on the market , "The Underwater Photographer" - considered the bible on the subject. Martin lives in the UK where he is a prolific writer, teacher and workshop leader in the field of underwater photography. Here is Martin's bio.


Todd Winner

Todd Winner is a professional underwater photographer and cinematographer, PADI scuba instructor and owner of Winner Productions, a boutique post production facility catering to Hollywood's most elite cinematographers. Since taking up underwater photography in 1990, Todd Winner has won over 60 international underwater photo competitions. His images have been published in numerous magazines and online publications. His work has been featured in commercial advertising, museums and private galleries. Here is Todd's bio.


Marty Snyderman

Marty Snyderman is a still photographer, film producer, author and speaker specializing in the marine environment. He has won many prestigious awards (including an Emmy) and has been featured in many top publications worldwide. Here is Marty's bio.



Contest Rules

  • We are excited to be holding this contest, and we look forward to receiving your images. Thank you for participating in the contest. 
  • We pledge to run this contest ethically and with integrity. Since someone asked, I will add that judges will not know whose photos they are judging.
  • Please use our upload form to submit your jpeg files, and for each photo choose one of our 12 categories.
  • Photos must be taken underwater.
  • No watermarks please
  • The first 9 categories are open to all dSLR, mirrorless and compact camera users. Scanned slides are acceptable. Photos can only be uploaded into 1 category at a time. An image may be submitted in multiple categories but requires payment for each category submission. It can only win in a single category.
  • The 3 compact camera categories are limited to compact cameras.  In this contest, compact cameras are defined as any 'point and shoot" camera - cameras with small sensors and attached lenses. Some examples are a Canon G12/15, Canon S100/S110, Canon Powershot series, Sony RX-100, Olympus XZ-1, SeaLife cameras, or other point and shoot cameras. Micro-four thirds & mirrorless cameras such as the Olympus PEN E-PL2, Pany GF2 and Sony NEX5 are not considered compact cameras for the purposes of this competition - due to their larger sensors.
  • Photos taken as a result of harassment to marine life that could be harmful to the subject may be disqualified at the judges' discretion.
  • This is a photography contest, not a photoshop contest. Photoshop (or similar imaging software) has become a necessary tool for processing images, but its not a substitute for good photography. Therefore we are providing these guidelines on what modification is acceptable and what is not.


  • Global changes; color temperature, brightness, contrast, dodge & burn, sharpening, saturation changes, tonal adjustments, color balance adjustments and changes that can be made using a Camera RAW converter.
  • Rotation, flip and flop
  • Limited removal of backscatter. This does not mean removing divers, fish, etc.
  • Cropping is allowed, but please see the caveat in the supermacro category. Keep in mind judges often look down on significant cropping.

           NOT ALLOWED:

  • Cutting and pasting sections of images from another part of an image or from another image. No cloning objects or composite images. For example, moving fish, reef or any other elements of a photo, adding a glow to simulate a flashlight, or adding a diver or animal silhouette in the background.
  • Excessive blurring
  • No double exposures.

Original RAW or JPEG files straight out of the camera will most likely be requested for auditing purposes, for the top ranking images. If a RAW or original JPEG image is not available, the photo may be disqualified. 


  • All subjects must be alive and in their natural environment. No captive animals will be considered and no entrapment of any kind is permissible.
  • All photos must be taken in a natural water environment like a lake or ocean (e.g. not a pool, aquarium or controlled environment), with the exception of the model/ fashion category. You must have been in the water when taking the photo (e.g. no pole cam shots). Entries in the model/ fashion category can be taken in a pool or the ocean.
  • Images that have previously placed 1st, 2nd or 3rd in a major contest are not allowed. If you're not sure if a contest is major - please ask.
  • Entrants, by submitting images, grant permission to Underwater Photography Guide to use winning entries for the promotion of the Underwater Photography Guide photo contests. All rights remain with the photographer. We are not interested in taking any other rights for the photo, selling it, making a book out of it, etc.--it's your photo.
  • Contest will be judged, winners announced, and prizes awarded soon after the submission deadline.
  • Contest is open to all  underwater photographers
  • All judge's decisions are final.
  • Send questions to contest@uwphotographyguide.com



File Specifications

  • JPEG images only.
  • At least 2500 pixels on the widest side. 72 dpi for smallest file size.
  • Winning images will be asked to provide the original RAW file or original camera file.



Category Details

The categories are loosely defined below. Judges will be instructed to use their common sense when choosing winners for a category. The first 7 categories are open to photos taken with any type of camera, dSLR or compact. Entries in the 3 compact camera categories must be taken with a point and shoot camera - see the rules for clarification.

Wide-Angle - any photo that shows a wider angle of view than the human eye (35mm focal length), including over-under shots (half in the water, half out) and close-focus wide-angle photos.

Macro - any photo that shows a smaller angle of view than the human eye (35mm focal length). As a guideline, macro subjects are generally 6 inches across or smaller.

Marine Life Behavior - an underwater photograph showing behavior of marine life.

Marine Life Portrait - a portrait shot of an animal underwater such as a fish, shark, sea lion, octopus, marine bird, etc. A portrait shot usually focuses on 1 subject. It could be a full body shot, or, for example, just focus on just the face/head.

SuperMacro -  photos should show a subject that is very small, photo width must be 25mm or smaller. Absolutely no cropping is allowed. Photos should be entered at the largest jpeg size you have and "upressing" (increasing the resolution) is not allowed.

Cold Water / Temperate Water - any underwater photograph taken in a cold or temperate water environment, where the water is below 20C/68F > 75% of the year. For example - California, New Zealand, UK, Northern Europe, Artic/Antarctic, Chile, Tasmania, Black Sea, Pacific Northwest, South Africa, Northern Atlantic. The Mediterranean and Australia (besides Tasmania) are not included in this category. Not sure if your area is temperate? Just ask!

Nudibranchs - the main subject of the photo should be a nudibranch. Any sea slug is ok for this category. We suggest that the nudibranch(s) are very prominent in the photo. Winners of this category will have first pick at our special "Nudibranch" prizes, a stay at Villa Markisa resort in Bali, or at Club Ocellaris resort in Anilao, Philippines, but they will not be limited to those choices.

Diver/ Underwater model/ Fashion - photos entered in this category can be taken in a pool or in the ocean, and the main subject should be a person - a diver, freediver, model, etc. Commercial photographs are allowed.

Novice dSLR - anyone can enter this category who feels like they are still a "beginner" with their dSLR. You have been using your dSLR underwater for less than 2 years, and you have not  ever placed or received an honorable mention in any national or international underwater photography competition. Of course people who fit this description are not limited to this category, and can also enter their photos in any of the above categories. This category also includes micro four-thirds cameras such as the Oly E-PL1.

Compact Camera Macro - macro photos taken by a compact camera. Macro subjects are generally subjects that are smaller than 6 inches.Compact cameras are defined above in the rules.

Compact Camera Wide-Angle - wide-angle photos taken by a compact camera. This would include subjects larger than 6 inches.

Compact Camera Marine Behavior - photos showing marine life behavior, taken by a compact camera.



How Prizes are Awarded

Winners will be able to rank the prizes, and receive the highest ranked available prize on their list. Best of Show will get to choose first. 1st place winners will be able to choose before all other winners, 2nd place winners before 3rd place winners, etc. Winners can only receive one prize.

The exact ranking of the categories, which determines who gets first picks on the prizes, will be determined by the judges based upon the number of entries and level of competiveness of each category.

Winners will be asked to rank the prizes after the judging is completed, and at that time will be given further prize details. All of the prizes will be awarded.



Return to main contest page