Image © Grant McCarry, BIUPC 2020 award winner (restricted camera category)

Great to be in partnership with BSAC for BIUPC 2022  

There are two open categories: one for wide-angle and one for close-up. Plus a separate restricted category is for compact and action cameras only. There is an additional stand-alone category for human impact on the marine and freshwater environments. With additional awards for overall champion and best newcomer, this means ten awards overall:

• British & Irish underwater photography champion.
• Best open wide-angle image and runner up.
• Best open close-up image and runner up.
• Best restricted compact camera image (wide-angle or close-up) and runner up.
• Best human impact on the marine and freshwater environments and runner up.
• Best newcomer.

Every year since inception, there have been a small number of image disqualifications due to competitors not closely following the rules, which are strict to maintain the integrity of and high trust in this on-the-day competition.  Please take time to read.

Note: You can enter two images in the main BIUPC competition PLUS one additional image (underwater OR above water) in the category for human impact on the environment.

Your two main entries can be split across any categories that you qualify for. For example, in the open category, 2 x wide-angle, or 2 x close-up, or one image in each, plus one additional image for human impact on the environment.

Restricted category camera users may enter one or all of their images in an open category instead of the restricted category.

Definitions for wide-angle and close-up are broad with a deliberate overlap.

Wide-Angle (open category)
Wide-angle images with any combination of: divers; flora and fauna (large animals, schools of fish, reef scenes); and man-made structures, including wrecks. Underwater scenes or specific subjects with an obvious wide angle background context (reef, open water or both).

Close-up (open category)
Close-up images of underwater life (flora and fauna) covering an area that is approximately a sheet of A4 paper or smaller (the precise dimensions do not matter). Any close-up image of a specific subject and, if included, its immediate background context. For example most small and medium-sized fish and all images at life size or greater magnifications.

Human Impact on UK and Irish Marine and Freshwater Environments (open category)
Wide angle or close up images above or below water, which tell a story about the environment. You can use regular cameras, drones, iPhones, GoPros or any other camera, above or below water.  The Human Impact category is open to all, including snorkelers and land-only photographers. Judges are looking for powerful images that demonstrate – for good or bad – how human activity impacts on our marine and freshwater environments.

This is not just a hunt for pictures that show the down side (litter, pollution, etc), although a good image in that category is still an acceptable entry. We would also like people to consider the positive impact too, for example activity that accompanies fisheries protection and development. There are many conservation organisations working around our waterways and coasts whose work could be depicted in a powerful way. Above water shots must be very obviously marine or freshwater environment related.

The judges will exclude images that appear to be deliberately contrived, for example the introduction of litter into an environment. This will be difficult to police, so we expect competitor integrity. It is acceptable to time events to coincide with BIUPC, for example the release into the wild of fish or larvae in a captive breeding programme. Please use your imagination and think about engaging organisations who work to protect and improve our environment.

Competitors can enter one image in this category, therefore, 3 images total in BIUPC. The winner and runner up will receive BSoUP trophies, but this category is stand-alone and not eligible for the overall winner or best newcomer.

Compact Camera (restricted category)
Wide-angle and close-up images taken with any small-sensor compact or action camera.

The open category is for competitors of any experience level using any camera.

The restricted category is for competitors using small-sensor cameras (with or without dedicated underwater housings) that do not have lenses interchangeable with the camera body. Interchangeable wet lenses are allowed. Photographers of any experience level can enter; the restriction is on camera technology, not on photographer experience level, which is catered for by a newcomers category.

The restricted category includes compact cameras and bridge cameras with small format sensors and fixed camera lenses (prime or zoom). It also includes the GoPro and equivalent range of action cameras and any other hand held or remotely-operated small-sensor camera that has been adapted for underwater use.

The open category is for cameras with any of the following features:
• Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) and Compact Systems Cameras (CSC), that include lenses interchangeable with the camera body and/or medium & larger format sensors.
• Any compact camera that has a larger-format sensor, regardless of the camera’s body size or lens system. e.g. Sony Cyber-Shot RX series (with so-called 1 inch sensors).

If you are not sure whether your camera qualifies for the restricted category, please use the contact page to ask.