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Competition Categories

UPY has eight categories for images:

  1. 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.
  2. Macro: for close-up/macro images shot anywhere in the world. Open to all.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Portrait: for wide angle to close-up and macro images depcting a sense of character of the chosen subject. These images can be shot anywhere in the world. Open to all.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. British Waters Wide Angle: for images shot anywhere in UK waters*. Open to all.
  9. British Waters Macro: for close-up/macro images shot anywhere in UK waters*. Open to all.
  10. 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.


Additional Categories

New for the 2017 compatition:

  1. Underwater Photography Book : This category is for underwater photography books first published after 1st January 2015.
    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 are eligible, but electronic-only books are not.
    Authors can enter more than one title.
    At present there is no prize for this category, but the winning publication will be named Underwater Photography Book Of The Year, 2017, which will surely benefit sales, and the awarded photographer will receive a trophy.
    How to enter: This category is free to enter so you do not need to register! 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 2nd January 2017 (proof of postage will not be accepted as proof of receipt!)


You can enter as many as the categories as you wish and can enter multiple images into the categories (up to the allowed number of images you chose on registration). Each image can only be entered in one category. All nationalities of photographers can enter all 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-2017, but we hope to in future editions.

'Mangrove sunset' - Fabio Galbiati

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© Underwater Photographer of the Year / Dan Bolt