SUBMISSIONS OPENED: Sunday, 6th January 2019 | SUBMISSIONS CLOSE: Sunday, 28th April 2019 @ 11:59 PM (GST)


  • To develop the human interaction with the underwater environment and highlight the beauty of its flora and fauna.
  • To gather information on the number of underwater photographers in the UAE (both professional and amateur).
  • To discover new promising underwater photographers in the UAE.

Digital Online is open to all photographers and videographers of all skill levels with a valid EDA Membership status. EDA membership must be renewed if expired or acquired in order to take part.


Digital Online will be celebrating its 10th Anniversary! The competition was realised in 2009 as there were no other underwater photography competitions existing in the UAE at the time. Digital Online was introduced by EDA for resident photographers to develop a relationship and human interaction amongst those unfamiliar with the underwater world environment. The competition holds both local and international marine life categories to offer variety between our local and international diving enthusiasts.

The film category was introduced as an extension to the competition in 2012 to share our underwater world through motion pictures and deliver a better understanding of the habitats and surroundings.

The event, now going into its 10th year, sees the continuous and steady growth of new underwater photographers taking part and joining our regular yearly participants. The enthusiasm and passion strives on, and the drive to bring our underwater world’s conservation to the forefront increases over time. The purpose of Digital Online is to keep our underwater world visible by displaying its hidden beauties and to exemplify its importance to all life on Earth through the powers of its ecosystems.

The event has attained equal success with the non-divers who come to support the participating photographers and videographers at the Awards and Exhibition Opening Night. Whether it’s through discussion or articles brought to our readers through our free quarterly magazine, Divers for the Environment, the inspiration the event brings is a success in its own right.


EDA does not disclose photographers’ names during the judging process. The competition is run fairly and without prejudice, professionally adhering to all of Digital Online’s rules and guidelines throughout.

  • Digital Online is open to all photographers and videographers of all skill levels with a valid EDA membership status. EDA membership must be renewed if expired in order to take part.
  • Each competitor can only win one prize or prize package.
  • Winners will choose their own prize. 
  • Participants are obligated to follow environmental conservation regulations and to respect the underwater world during the process of taking their stills and video. Be advised that any damage to the underwater world, including the disruption of the natural habitat of the marine life, provocation through touching, displacing, feeding or annoying, is prohibited and will disqualify the images or the photographer/videographer.
  • By entering the competition, entrants declare that they own copyright of the submitted photographs and films and it entails an automatic acceptance of all the rules. EDA reserves the right to publish images in the ‘Divers for the Environment’ magazine, EDA’s social media pages and on the EDA website. Images will also be used in any future promotional material for EDA events and competitions royalty free, but copyright remains with the photographer. Use of images or video will require no additional written or verbal permission from the photographer or videographer.
  • Competition organisers will take the utmost care in handling digital files submitted to the competition. However, competition organisers will not be held responsible for any loss of the submitted material at the time of uploading images. No media such as CD’s, DVD’s, memory cards and sticks will be returned to the participants.
  • Images (photos or videos) must not have already been submitted to previous Digital Online Competitions.
  • Photos and videos must be taken underwater unless specified in a category description.
  • Manipulation is restricted to colour correction, brightness, contrast, sharpening and cropping. The Digital Online judges reserve the right to examine untouched images if requested.
  • Removing backscatter is allowed to an extent, this does not include the removal of subjects such as fish or divers or cutting and pasting sections of images from one to another.
  • The winners will be announced and their work displayed at the exhibition and award ceremony on the 22nd of May 2019 at the American University in Dubai. Participants who do not make it to the evening of the event will be asked to collect their prize from the EDA offices.
  • Sponsors’ prizes will be announced in the March 2019 magazine issue.
  • We pledge to run this photography and video competition ethically and with integrity. Our judges have volunteered their time to help. The photographers’ details remain hidden to the judges during the judging process.
  • All judge’s decisions are final.
  • Submissions have been entered from Sunday, 6th January 2019.
  • The entry deadline is Sunday, 28th April 2019, at 11:59 pm (GST – Gulf Standard Time). 
  • Participants must be valid EDA members. Submit entries via email to with the requested category detail information.
  • File names should include photographer’s name and the category: 
    1. Name-Macro.jpg
    2. Name-WA.jpg
    3. Name-UAE.jpg
    4. Name-BW.jpg
    5. Name-Compact.jpg
  • Photo entries must be saved in jpeg format and should be sized between 2000 and 6000 pixels in the longest dimension. Please limit your images to a maximum file size of 5MB. Images will be viewed on a monitor and should be in the AdobeRGB 1998 or sRGB colour space.
  • Video submissions must be in mp4 format and can be sent via We Transfer or Dropbox with the Videographer’s name as the file name.
  • The preferred method of entry is electronically, however, if this method is not possible due to slow internet connection, you are able to submit via DVD, memory card or stick. Please note, media will not be returned.
  • You will receive an email to confirm your registration and photo/video upload. If you do not receive one within 24 hours, your email may not have made it through and you may need to try again.

Good luck to everyone taking part in Digital Online 2019. Dive safely and have fun!


Once the judging is complete, the winners will be able to choose a prize available to them on the list they will receive via email. Digital Online Judges award a 3-way point system to each photograph/video consisting of Technique, Composition and Impact which is added to give the photograph’s or video’s total grand score.

Best of show with the highest points will get first choice. 1st place winners by highest score will choose a prize before all other winners, 2nd place winners before 3rd place winners, etc. Please note, each individual can only win one prize or prize package.


Photographers may enter one photo per category.

Details to include in the email with each photo submission:

  1. Photographer’s Name
  2. Category
  3. Location
  4. Story Behind the Shot
  5. Camera Gear
  6. Settings
  1. MACRO(DSLR/MILC only)
    Definition: Photographs taken with close-up equipment, portraying underwater flora and/or fauna. The photographer may not crop the original more than 20%. The original image may be requested.
    Definition: Photographs taken with a wide-angle lens (or adapters that provide an equal field-of-view), with or without human presence, portraying the natural beauty of the underwater environment.
    Definition: Any underwater subject taken in the UAE and the Musandam.
    Definition: Black & white photography is timeless and elegant. Focus on tonal contrast, shapes and textures and the composition of the shot.
    Definition: Point & shoot photographers only.

Videographers may enter one film.

Title: Chasing tales

Definition: Looking for films of all genres – documentaries, narratives, shorts and animation films. Film subject must focus on all aspects of our underwater world including but not limited to, ocean exploration, wildlife, environmental, conservation and oceanography.

  • All film genres will be accepted.
  • Content must focus or relate to the ocean.
  • Non-English films must have subtitles.
  • If music is used, it must be from a public domain or royalty-free. 
  • Film length should be 5 minutes or less, including credits.
  • Winning films will be chosen on the basis of creativity and the ability to tell a story that leaves the audience better informed and/or moved about the ocean.

If you are not yet an EDA member or you need to renew to enter the competition, go to: eda_membership_form