Rules & Entry Conditions

Underwater Project - Rules & Regulations

Registering for the Underwater Project automatically implies the participant’s agreement and acceptance of all rules. The Underwater Project is now closed - last entries were received on 31 January 2016 - we are enetering judging phase.

Underwater Project entry procedure - QUICK version

  1. Register (Project is over, sorry)
  2. Pay - Project is over, sorry) ($50 per calendar year for 5 photos or 2 videos (per month - total of 60 photos per year or 24 videos) or premium membership at $100 per calendar year for 10 photos or 4 videos per month - total of 120 photos per year or 48 videos) - upgrades from standard is possible. Photo AND video memberships can be held by the same account. Unused entries expire every month.
  3. Check out your profile and your entry page in the MY PROJECT tab on the UP website.
  4. Each month you can submit photos and / or videos taken the previous month only. So you can only upload you March entries in April and so forth. You are not able to submit any images or videos from earlier than the month previous to the current month.
  5. Photos: Upload 2 versions (1) 1000 pixel (longest side) and (2) 200 pixel wide versions of your photo entries on your MY PROJECT page
    Videos: Upload your films to Youtube or Vimeo in best possible quality (make them accessible to everyone). Then upload each embed code and a 200 pixel wide still image to your video entry page on your MY PROJECT page.
  6. You can modify and swap entries only in the submission month, they will be 'locked in' when the project enters each following month.
  7. Selected entries will receive an email to forward the full quality adjusted image and/or the original files to us by email or other means.
  8. Judging will happen online by a massive panel of experienced judges in February each year.
  9. Top100 Images and top videos will be on display online from March each year.
  10. Awards will be announced as a yet to be determined date.
  11. Prizes will be emailed / mailed to winners.

General Rules

  • The Underwater Project is open to entrants of all skill levels. Only judges are excluded from entering.
  • Underwater Project registration must be completed through the Underwater Project website at or
  • Upon registering to the project, each participant will need to create a username and password, which thereafter should be used to login and upload the images submitted to the competition. If you have participated in previous Underwater Festivals, your login/password will still work and that will also get your past images and videos into your portfolio
  • By registering and submitting images or video to the competition, participants confirm their agreement with these rules and regulations.
  • Images and video submitted to the competition may be taken during day or night.
  • Images submitted to the competition must be taken either underwater or over-under. There is a specific over-under category but over under images can be submitted in any category if suitable.
  • In all video categories we allow a maximum of 20% of the duration to be filmed above water (with exemption of the 'Issues' category). Over-under shots count as underwater. Most categories have a 5 minute maximum duration, only the Ultra Short category needs to wrap up in a minute or less. Videos originating from still cameras (compact, mobile or dSLR) can be entered in all categories, naturally only video shot on mobile phones can be entered in that category.
  • Entrants are to ensure that music used in videos must be legal to be used for the purposes of this compertition AND potential publication of the winning entries in various media. If YouTube lets you upload your video, that is no proof that your music is cleared fro use.
  • Video stills are not acceptable in any of the photo categories.
  • NEW RULE: The same photo, or similar photos, can NOT be submitted to more than one category (to avoid boring portfolio pages and cluttered snapshot maps).
  • Participants using digital cameras must shoot in RAW format if possible in addition to corresponding JPEG files. When preparing the backup CDs, memory cards or DVDs, JPEG and their corresponding RAW files should be saved within the same folder.
  • It is prohibited to carry out any alternations whatsoever in the original files (however submitted entries can be adjusted - see 'acutal entries' below). Any photo or video original file revealed as been altered will be disqualified and the photographer / videographer may also be disqualified. The organizers and the judges have the authority to determine whether a photo or video has been manipulated according to their judgment. The decision of the jury to disqualify a photo / video or a photographer / videographer is final and undisputable.
  • Participants must back up all of their images and video clips at the end of each diving day. Each day should be saved inside a different folder on the backup directory, labeled by date (for instance: 02-09-2015). JPEG and their corresponding RAW files should be saved within the same folder. Please make sure you do not lose these backup files until the winners are announced as we might ask you to provide them for verification purposes.
  • It is prohibited to delete photos or videoclips from the memory card / harddrive / digital tape during shooting. Files might be all kept on the recording device until the entire and complete sequence is downloaded onto the daily backup folder. All images or videoclips produced underwater, including all missed shots, must appear in an uninterrupted sequence on the daily backup folder.
  • Actual competition entries: Limitations to processing images and video: Global changes such as 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 are allowed, as is rotation and flipping. Removing backscatter is allowed to an extent, this does not include the removal of subjects such as fish or divers. Images and film can be cropped to a maximum of 80% of the original surface area of the image / film. Not allowed are 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. Festival organisers and the judges reserve the right to exclude any image they believe may have been excessively treated so as to alter its authenticity.
  • The judging will happen in February each year, resulting in the top 100 images and 10 top video entries as well as the final winners. Any photographer / videographer reaching the top 100 photos or top 10 videos stage MIGHT be required to submit his backup files by sending them on a CD/DVD/memory card/tapes. Failure to agree to introduce a complete backup file on request will disqualify the photographer / videographer from the competition. Due to the timing of the shootout and the awards, disqualification can happen in retrospect after the Underwater Project Awards.
  • Final winners will be announced online. Winners will receive their prizes by mail or email (shipping charges will apply for gear prizes).
  • Competition organizers will take the utmost care in handling digital files submitted to the competition. However, competition organizers will not be held responsible for any loss of the submitted material at the time of uploading images through the competition website or at the time of the competition itself. No media such as CDs, DVDs, digital tapes or memory cards and sticks will be returned to the participants unless fully stamped and self addressed return envelopes are provided with the submission of the original files.
  • Participants are obligated to follow environmental conservation regulations and to share respect for the underwater world during the process of taking images, wherever they might be diving. Be advised that any damage to the protected underwater world, including the disruption of the natural habitat of creatures, provocation through touching, displacing, feeding or annoying, is prohibited and will disqualify the images or the photographer / videographer. We have a number of marine biologists that will help us identify images or video where subjects have been 'moved to a better background' etc.
  • The Underwater Project encourages the participation of any photographer or videographer in the competition whether amateur, enthusiast or professional but reserves the right not to accept the participation of a photographer or videographer who does not comply with the spirit of the competition.
  • The Underwater Project organisers are entitled to disqualify any participant who acts against the rules, displays undue conduct, has caused harm to another participants, or acted in any way that is contradictory to the spirit of the competition, as well as any other reason that the Underwater Project organisers deem to fit. The decision to remove a participant from the competition is final, undisputable, and does not entitle the participant to receive compensation or refund of any kind.
  • It is absolutely forbidden to make any kind of barters between photographers / videographers and to submit photos or video in one's own name but which another photographer / videographer has taken. The competition is conducted individually and rules of ethics must be adhered to.
  • We pledge to run this shootout competition ethically and with integrity. Our judges have volunteered their time to help and to some it might be important to note that the photographers details remain hidden to the judges during the judging process.
  • The Underwater Project organisers reserve the right to modify these Rules and Regulations in any way at any time. Significant adjustments will be publicised.


  • The list of prizes/sponsors might change.
  • Prizes are awarded to the winners in person and only they are permitted to make use of them. It is prohibited to attempt selling prizes on the internet via forums, etc.
  • Dive resort stays and liveaboard trips awarded as prizes do not include air travel, taxes and other expenses, unless stated otherwise by the relevant sponsor.
  • Prizes do not include shipment and potential import tax fees in the respective home countries of participants.
  • A participant can win multiple times in each category but only the top prize in each category will be awarded. The next prize will be passed on to the next winner down the line and so forth. The same or similar image can only win one prize and only the top prize will be awarded, however one image can receive multiple award trophies.

Use of Photographs & Video

  • Naturally, the copyright of the submitted photos and videos remains with the author.
  • By entering the competition, participants agree that the submitted photos, videos and artworks in all categories may be used or reproduced for the media coverage of this event and for the promotion of future competitions in all media channels, including TV, Internet, written publications and more.
  • Project organizers reserve the right to make use of images and videos submitted to the competition for the purpose of publishing a competition album, calendars, DVDs and any other use that promotes future competitions.
  • Entered photos and video shall indefinitely remain in the producers' archives without the requirement of further permission for usage (only for the purposes described and naturally with the acknowledgement of the owners).
  • Entered photos and video entries might be selected for inclusion on the underwater australasia photo and video galleries ( and associated websites all with acknowledgement of the authors of course wherever possible.
  • Photos and videos will not be sold without the permission of the author.
  • Photo and video credits will be given to the author/artist when applicable.
  • Submission of photos and participation in the competition entails an automatic acceptance of all rules & regulations above. Use of images or video as described above will require no additional written or verbal permissions from the photographer, artist or videographer.

Personal Safety

  • Participants are responsible for their own safety and for the proper use of their diving and photography / video equipment. Divers must dive within the limits of their own dive certification level and according to the local diving regulations (remember to bring your dive certification and diving insurance along).
  • Competition organizers and sponsors do not accept responsibility for the safety of participants during their diving activity, nor do they accept responsibility for any damage to personal equipment that may occur as a result of diving activities.