1. Macro Underwater Photo – any single image taken with a macro/super macro lens of a subject composition recorded in life size at a 1:1 or greater reproduction ratio (2:1, 3:1, etc.). The subject or focal point is expected to fill as much of the frame as possible with extreme detail.

  2. Wide-Angle Underwater Photo – any single image taken with a wide-angle lens consisting of a focal length greater than 35mm. Image is made of a wide scene with a subject in their natural environment. Over/under (half below and half above the water) and Close Focus Wide-Angle compositions are acceptable in this category.

  3. The Ocean Adventure “Waterman Video Award” – a video submission between one (1) and an absolute maximum of three (3) minutes in length depicting the high adventure of oceanic activities that may include diving, SUP, Kayaking, surfing, spearfishing, or any watersport lifestyle activity. Video may include above and below water footage. Editing of video is allowed and expected. Camera on gun, mask, head, or hand is allowed. Combination of cameras is acceptable. All activity must be legal and ethical.


  • Images or video that has previously placed 1st, 2nd or 3rd in a major contest are ineligible for participation.
  • One (1) entry per category for up to three (3) total photo and video entries; multiple entries per category are not permitted.
  • Commercially published or images previously reproduced in a major magazine or periodical are subject to disqualification; we want to see your newest work.
  • Subjects in the photo category must be alive in their natural behavior (no spearfishing), no entrapment, captive animals are ineligible, and images deemed as harassment to any marine life will be disqualified; judges and/or competition officials may disqualify any images exhibiting divers touching coral or animals, animals under stress or in an unnatural environment.
  • No pool or aquarium images or video are permitted; fresh water images or video may be accepted if the subject is taken in their natural environment and the location is a waterway emerging into the ocean (i.e., no lakes or land-locked bodies of water).
  • All entries must be the original work belonging solely to the entrant submitting the image or video; entrants are responsible for attaining model releases of individuals depicted in a still image or video recording.
  • Late entries or submissions sent outside the submission dates window will not be accepted.
  • Virtual entries only; entries received by postal mail, scanned, copied or on DVD/CD are not permitted and will be discarded.


  • Entries must not contain watermarks or other image/video logos representing the photographer
  • Global adjustments (color temperature, brightness, contrast, saturation, tonal adjustments, minor sharpening) are allowed and refer to the type of adjustments that you could do in a RAW conversion, such tasteful and minor adjustments to brightness, color tone, sharpening, saturation, and contrast (this does not need to be actually done in a RAW conversion). “Tasteful and minor” refers to being conservative in your approach. The judges are likely to subtract points from an image which is overly manipulated. This is a photo contest – not an editing or manipulation contest. Use good judgement.
  • Black & white conversion is allowed.
  • Minor cropping is allowed, but limited to cropping off no more than 15% of the original image.
  • VERY LIMITED backscatter removal is acceptable, but please do not go overboard. For example, spending 30 seconds removing 10 key specks should be fine, but if there are dozens or hundreds, then consider a different image; sensor spots or dust spots may be removed.
  • Aside from sensor/dust spot removal and very limited backscatter removal, nothing should be added to or removed from the photo. Do not use vignettes, masks, background blurring, selective dodging/burning, cloning fish or objects into/out of the image, etc.
  • Photos must originate as a single image. No composting, stitching, or layering is permitted. In-camera photo merges/double-exposures are allowed, but it must be done as intended sequential shots using camera software rather than in post-production. In this case, a single raw file showing the in-camera double-exposure will be requested by the judges.
  • Video stills or “frame grabs” may not be submitted in either of the photo categories.
  • Videos should be created with the following in mind:
  • — Any camera may be used to create the video (HD, 4K, GoPro, DSLR, compact cameras in video mode, even a phone in a housing).
    — Limit the total length to 3 minutes.
    — Editing is permitted but not required; as a single, unedited clip may also be entered.


  • Decisions by competition officials or judges are binding and final.
  • Judges may request the original raw file from finalists. It is not required that the image have been shot in raw, but in the case that it was not, they will instead request the un-touched original high-res image as it came out of the camera. Do not change any metadata in the requested files. Finalists will be given further instructions via email, please be prompt in your reply.
  • At the sole discretion of the judges, an entrant shown to violate image manipulation rules may have all images or video entries by the same entrant disqualified.
  • Winners will be announced at both The Blue Wild event and/or competition officials’ websites, and the winners will be notified by email/phone.


All rights remain with the photographer/producer along with copyrights to their images or videos. By entering the contest, the photographer/videographer grants permission to The Blue Wild, SFUPS, along with publication partners to use the images/video to post winners on website, social media, and/or in conjunction with the promotion of future photo or video contests. The competition officials will always list photo credit and may use watermarks, where appropriate, to protect the entrant’s rights. Our goal is to share the winners’ images or videos with the world to promote ocean adventure and exploration, so expect our competition officials and multiple publications to showcase the winners on multiple platforms. While doing so, we hope to showcase your talent and strengthen your reputation and name! Entries must not infringe on the rights, trademarks, intellectual property, or privacy or any other person or party. Further, the entrant acknowledges that the entry is entirely their own, and he/she is the sole creator of the work. This includes the rights to any audio track in the video category – you may use music with the author’s written permission, or via a CC license, but you may not infringe on the rights of any artist, musical or otherwise.



  • Photo JPEG (.jpg) submissions only with minimal/no compression (i.e., in Photoshop, save the .jpg as Image Quality 10, 11, or 12).
  • 1400 pixels in the long dimension (dpi/ppi is irrelevant)
  • Saved in the Adobe RGB color space. Images not saved as Adobe RGB are allowed, as we can read practically any color space, but you want the judges to see what you see, and judges will be reviewing the images in Adobe RGB.
  • File size should be no greater than 3MB
  • Do not show your name, a watermark, or a © symbol on the image itself, so the judges may remain unbiased while scoring images.
  • Rename each entry in the following format: Category_Title.jpg
  • — For example: Wide-angle_BigWhaleShark.jpg or Macro_TinySeaSlug.jpg


  • Do not add your name or a watermark to the video entry, so we may judge the entries anonymously. If you are a winner, you may optionally submit an identical entry for publication & promotion with a watermark or credits. These added credits may be in addition to the 3 minute maximum time limit.
  • Output your file as a 1920×1080 HD video file in one of the following formats: .mov, .mp4, .avi, .wmv, or .mpg formats. If the footage was shot in less than HD quality, it is still acceptable – just submit the output at the highest resolution possible.
  • Rename each entry in the following format: Video_Title.jpg (i.e., Video_SUPAdventure.jpg)
  • For winning entries, we may request the highest possible resolution for publication.
  • Convert your output to NTSC (if applicable) for optimal viewing by the judges.

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