Ocean Art Photo Competition 2014

Ocean Art Photo Competition 2014
Scott Gietler

This is not the 2015 page, go to the 2015 contest page


Thank you for considering to enter the 4th annual Underwater Photography Guide Ocean Art Photo Competition. The contest features over 20 incredible liveaboard and resort sponsors exceeding $70,000 USD in value. 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners in all categories will be able to choose from excellent prizes.

This is a virtual contest - simply upload underwater photos taken anywhere, anytime. Registration & Entries accepted starting July 14 through November 19, 2014. Winners will be announced early/mid-December.




Entries must be received before 23:59 (11:59pm) PST on Nov. 19, 2014


Late Entries will be accepted through 11:59PM (Pacific Time) on Nov. 23, 2014 for an entry fee of $12 per image.



Instruction & Entry Fees

  • The 2014 contest is over! Congrats to all of the winners



File Specifications

  • JPEG/JPG images only

  • At least 2500 pixels on the widest side

  • 5MB maximum file size

  • sRGB color space is best

  • Watermarks NOT allowed (winning images will be watermarked upon publication)

  • Scanned slides acceptable

  • Finalists will be asked to provide original RAW file

  • Winners will be asked for high-res .jpg/.tif files for contest coverage in print magazines



Upload Your Photos - 2014 contest is over

  • The entry deadline for Ocean Art is November 19, 2014. Entries received after 23:59 (11:59pm) will be accepted until November 23, at 23:59 (pacific time) for $12 per entry.

  • Click below to access the entry form. Select a category, title and upload each image.

Go to the Ocean Art 2015 content page



Contest Rules



  • UWPG pledges to run this contest ethically and with integrity.

  • Judges will not see image titles or any other references to photographers.

  • Images submitted with watermarks will be disqualified.

  • Photos must be submitted with our entry form. If you have difficulties, email contest@uwphotographyguide.com and we will work with you on an alternate upload method.

  • All photographers are eligible, including amateur, semi-pro and professional.

  • Photos must be taken underwater in oceans, freshwater or pools. Split-shots (over-unders) are accepted.

  • Photos taken as a result of harassment to marine life that could be harmful to the subject may be disqualified at the judges' discretion.

  • 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 an ocean or lake (no pools, aquariums or controlled environments), with the exception of the model / fashion category. Entries in the model / fashion category can be taken in a pool or the ocean. You must have been in the water when taking the photo (i.e. no pole cam shots).


Photo Rights & Judging

  • Images that have previously placed 1st, 2nd or 3rd in a major international 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 direct promotion of the Underwater Photography Guide photo contests, including but not limited to Ocean Art. All photo 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.

  • Winners will be announced early-December 2014 with prizes awarded slightly thereafter.

  • All judges’ decisions are final.

  • Send questions to contest@uwphotographyguide.com



  • This is a photography contest, not a Photoshop contest. Photoshop (or similar imaging software) has become a necessary tool for processing images, but it is not a substitute for good photography. Therefore, we are providing the following guidelines on what modification is acceptable and what is not.


  • Global changes; color temperature, brightness, contrast, minor 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 include removing divers, fish, etc., or painting/burning the background of an image black.

  • Some cropping is allowed, but please see the caveat in the super macro category. Keep in mind that judges often look down on significant cropping.


  • No composite images (blending exposures, focus stacking), no cutting and pasting sections of other images, cloning or creating objects (i.e. adding divers, fish or glow to simulate a flashlight).

  • Excessive blurring or excessive darkening of background (vignetting tools, etc).


Original RAW or JPEG files straight out of the camera will be requested from all finalists for auditing purposes in final rounds of judging. An entry may be disqualified If a RAW or original JPEG image is not available.



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 9 categories are open to photos taken with any type of camera: dSLR, mirrorless or compact. Entries in the 3 compact camera categories must be taken with a point and shoot camera (e.g. Canon G16, Canon s120, Sony RX-100 II, SeaLife DC-1400). Mirrorless cameras are not considered compact due to their larger sensors and must enter the open categories.

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 where the subject is recorded as lifesize or greater on the camera's image sensor, also known as a 1:1 (or greater) reproduction ratio. As a guideline, macro subjects are generally 6 inches across or smaller and shot with a lens focal length greater than 35mm.

Marine Life Behavior:  an underwater photograph showing marine life in action (e.g. feeding, cleaning, schooling, yawning).

Marine Life Portrait:  a portrait shot of an animal underwater including fish, sharks, sea lions, octopus, marine birds, etc. A portrait shot usually focuses on a single subject. Portraits can be full body shots or framed tightly around the face/head.

Super Macro:  photos depicting a subject that is very small - smaller than a typical macro subject with a reproduction ratio greater than 1:1. Diopters are used for the majority of super macro images. Absolutely no cropping is allowed. Photos should be entered at the largest jpeg size you have. "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 15C/59F for most of the year or one of the following destinations: California, New Zealand, UK, Northern Europe, Artic/Antarctic, Chile, Tasmania, Black Sea, Pacific Northwest and Northern Atlantic. The Mediterranean and southern Australia are not included in this category (Tasmania is eligable as Cold Water). 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) is very prominent in the photo. Winners of this category will be awarded the Villa Markisa Resort prize!

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. A beginner has been using their dSLR underwater for less than 2 years and has not ever placed or received an honorable mention in any national or international underwater photography competition. Photographers matching this description are not limited to the Novice DSLR category and can also enter their photos in any of the above categories. This category includes micro 4/3 cameras like the Olympus OM-D.

Compact Camera Macro:  macro photos taken with a compact camera. Macro subjects are generally smaller than 6 inches. Compact cameras are defined above.

Compact Camera Wide-Angle:  wide-angle photos taken with a compact camera. Wide-angle subjects are generally larger than 6 inches. Compact cameras are definted above.

Compact Camera Marine Behavior:  photos showing marine life in action (e.g. feeding, cleaning, schooling, yawning). Compact cameras are defined above.



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.


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.


Scott Gietler

Scott Gietler is the owner of Bluewater Photo, Bluewater Travel and the Underwater Photography Guide. He enjoys helping others learn underwater photography online, in the store and during international photo trips he attends with customers. Here is Scott's bio.



How Prizes are Awarded

Winners will be asked to rank prizes after the judging is completed (but not yet announced) and will receive the highest ranked rize available on their list. Best of Show will be awarded their first prize choice. 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 awarded their first prize picks, will be determined by the judges based upon the number of entries and level of competiveness of each category.

Winners will learn of their placement and awarded prize when contest results are announced in early/mid-December. All prizes will be awarded.




Go to the 2015 contest page



  Ocean Art 2014