Prizes worth more than £500,000
Entries closed August 31, 2020
Winners announced November, 2020
Brought to you by
In partnership with
Supported by

About the Awards

The Ocean Photography Awards™ are a celebration of our beautiful blue planet, as well as a platform to highlight the many plights it is facing.

Ocean photographers of all disciplines and experience levels – amateurs and professionals alike – are invited to submit their most impactful imagery to be judged by a panel of some of the world’s leading ocean photographers, including International Photography Hall of Fame inductee Paul Nicklen, founder of the International League of Conservation Photographers, Cristina Mittermeier, and Emmy Award-winning cinematographer Shawn Heinrichs.

A total of six categories will be judged, with the overall winner crowned the Ocean Photographer of the Year™ in November this year.

EntRies closedPrizes

Photo by Shawn Heinrichs
Entry deadline
August 31, 2020
Prizes worth more than
Winners announced
November 2020
Public gallery
November 2020

Meet the Judges

The Ocean Photography Awards™ judging panel is made up of some of the world’s leading ocean photographers. Expedition leaders and award-winners who have played significant roles in the creation of MPAs, the protection of individual species and broader public awareness and ocean literacy campaigns, they know what it takes to create powerful, captivating ocean imagery. Can your imagery connect with them? Discover a little more about our panel below.

Paul Nicklen

SeaLegacy co-founder & Sony Artisan

About Paul

Cristina Mittermeier

SeaLegacy co-founder & Sony Artisan

About Cristina

Shawn Heinrichs

Emmy Award-winning cinematographer

About Shawn

Andy Mann

Award-winning expedition director

About Andy

Paul Hilton

Investigative photojournalist

About Paul

John Weller

Founder of the Last Ocean Project

About John

Luciano Candisani

Author & iLCP Senior Fellow

About Luciano

Award Categories

The Ocean Photography Awards™consists of just six categories and the overall winner, the Ocean Photographer of the Year™. The categories are broad in their focus and open to a little personal interpretation. This is to make the Awards as inclusive as possible and to ensure the bravest and boldest photographers out there aren’t dissuaded from entering because their images don’t fit prescriptive categories. Underwater, topside, on the coast or out to sea, if you feel your ocean image has the chance to connect emotionally with the judges, they’d love to see it. The deadline for this year’s submissions passed on August 31, 2020.

Awarded to the photographer who most powerfully communicates any of the many perils facing the ocean today, or stories of hope and recovery. This could focus on a particular species, a wider ecosystem or human endeavour in finding solutions to the problems we face. What does ocean conservation mean to you? And how have you effectively captured that through imagery?

Awarded to the photographer who most dramatically brings the rawness of ocean exploration to life. Submissions could include record-making ocean firsts, multidisciplinary missions to map deep cave systems or scientific expeditions to discover unknown places or species. What does ocean exploration mean to you? And how have you effectively captured that through imagery?

Awarded to the photographer who most successfully translates our species’ connection with – and fascination of – life in, on and around the ocean. The ocean is full of adventure, whether you’re sailing across vast expanses of it, surfing in tight barrels on remote reefs or diving on pristine drop-offs. What does ocean adventure mean to you? And how have you effectively captured that through imagery?

Open to all photographers under the age of 18 on June 30, 2020, this award will be given to a young photographer who shows photographic ability beyond their years as well as clear ocean literacy – an understanding of what their subject matter is, why their photograph is important and the message the images is trying to convey – be it one of conservation, exploration or adventure.

Awarded to the photographer who most convincingly showcases a long-held commitment to ocean conservation through a striking body of work – strong enough to take up a one-year residency as a member of the SeaLegacy Collective, where their work will sit shoulder-to-shoulder with the judges’ photography. A total of ten images must be submitted, taken at any time during the photographer’s working life.

Awarded to the most publicly popular submission, as voted for by SeaLegacy’s millions-strong ocean community, Oceanographic’s readership and the wider ocean-going public. A shortlist of six ocean images will be showcased on a digital public gallery for one week, shared across all available channels. The image with the most votes wins. The shortlist for this award will be chosen from submissions across the other five categories.

Awarded to the single most compelling and/or beautiful image submitted throughout the competition. This photograph will connect with the judges in a way that no other submission does. The judging panel is not necessarily looking for technical proficiency, rather emotional connectionthe ocean photograph of the year.

Beautiful ocean stories straight to your inbox. Join our community.