In this category we expect to see photographs that show how marine creatures interact with each other. Feeding, cleaning, mating and so on. This is a very difficult category to get good shots as you have to be lucky and patient to observe unique behaviour and press the shutter at the right moment.


Pretty obvious what we expect to see in this category. The courting, the act, the offspring or the eggs. Sex underwater is a fascinating subject and every critter does it in different ways. This is of course behaviour as well and getting a great shot in this category will be incredibly difficult. Good luck!

Temperate Waters

There is some amazing marine life that can only be found in colder waters and this is what this category is for. To be able to enter, photos must have been taken below (South) of 28 degrees South latitude. This roughly is the Queensland/New South Wales border, includes Norfolk Island and also takes in the whole of New Zealand.

Coral Triangle

The Coral Triangle is considered to be the global epicenter of marine biodiversity, and a global priority for conservation. More than 3,000 species of fish and 76% of the world's coral species live in this region. We want to see images in this category that showcase the amazing variety of marine life. To qualify, photos have to be taken in the waters of Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands and East Timor.


We can not forget the beauty that is contained in our non-marine aquatic habitats such as ponds, lakes, freshwater caves, rivers and streams. Photos taken in freshwater can be entered into this category - this excludes any photos taken in seawater or brackish water.


This will be one of the most important categories for the shootout. We want you to capture the issues. Marine conservation issues such as pollution, overfishing, global warming, shark finning all come to mind and there are many many more. Although photos in this category might not be pretty, they have to be seen by the world.


Any underwater photo competition will feature many Nudibranch entries and that is for many good reasons. They are beautiful, colourful and most importantly ... slow. Although taking a nudibranch photo is easy, taking a fantastic nudibranch photo can be very challenging. We hope we bring out the best in this special Nudi category.

Neville Coleman Award

This classic Underwater Festival category is in honour of our ambassador Neville Coleman who sadly passed away in May 2012. This category awards the most interesting critter find. Anyone who knew Neville will appreciate he likes the weird and wonderous creatures of the planet and he helped many people understand the difference between a sea slug and a sponge and things much more tricky than that. Judged by the award 1st prize sponsors Redmap.


We all know sharks need our help. We all know sharks are glorious creatures. We all love sharks! This category is to celebrate the most misunderstood orders of fish on the planet, the sharks. Over 440 species of sharks and only few of them have ever done any harm to any human. They are hunted for their fins for one of the most overrated dishes on the planet and we need to do all we can to save them.

Big Stuff

Many divers live to swim and dive with the "Big Stuff". Whales, sharks, massive rays, giant cuttlefish, dolphins, dugongs, big turtles, all that "Stuff". Being IN the water WITH big animals IS a massive thrill AND this category IS trying TO capture those moments WHERE your eyeballs just widen AND you go: wooooahhh!


In this category we want you to show off your buddy, or yourself. A human underwater. Show that fact that we are part of the picture, we are there to explore, and document for the world what we have to lose. Be creative in this section, but there has to be at least one human being or part of in the picture - this does not necessarily mean a diver.


A must have category and a very difficult one. Getting a good wreck photo can be challenging due to the size of most wrecks and the generally limited ambient light. This is a category where your knowledge of underwater photography and the quality of your gear will make a huge difference.


Over-unders, also known as split-shots or splits are another tricky category where the professionals excel. Having a big dome port helps immensely as does very calm water. Lighting is generally hard as most of the time the brightness of the top portion will be greater than the underwater part. Show us what you've got!

Macro & Super Macro

Underwater macro & supermacro photography can be amazingly rewarding. Seeing minute details of tiny critters as full frames can create images that are out of this world. Super macro shots very often win underwater photography competitions so we decided to create an independent category for these.