Join us in congratulating this year’s Digital Online Underwater Photography and Film Competition winners!

DATE: Thursday 18th May 2023
LOCATION: Deep Dive Dubai
NON-MEMBERS: AED 75 Entry (must be registered by a member – this is a catered event)
REGISTRATION: Please email Layla to book your place and those of your guests at

We look forward to seeing you all on this very special night to celebrate this year’s award-winning work from photographers and videographers that highlights the importance of protecting our beautiful marine environment. We have our partners and prize sponsors to thank in making this event possible each year. There are some fantastic prizes to be handed out to our winners. Join us in this social evening and cheer them on!

Refreshments and a specially formulated sustainable menu with some of the best handmade freshly prepared samosas you’ll ever have had will be served at the event by




SUBMISSIONS OPEN: Monday 6th March 2023
SUBMISSIONS CLOSE: Thursday 6th April 2023 @ 11:59 PM (GST)
DIGITAL ONLINE AWARDS & EXHIBITION OPENING NIGHT: Thursday, 18th May 2023 at Deep Dive Dubai



  • 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.
  • To discover new promising underwater photographers locally and internationally.

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 – EDA’s Underwater Photography and Film Competition, is about to celebrate its 14th year! The competition was introduced by EDA in 2009 to 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 sees continuous and steady growth with new underwater photographers taking part and joining our regular annual participants. The enthusiasm and passion strives on, and the drive to bring our underwater world’s conservation to the forefront increases even more so. 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 non-divers who come to support the participating photographers and videographers at the annual Awards & Exhibition Opening Night. Whether it’s through discussions, or articles published for 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 acquired, or renewed if expired in order to take part which can be done through the EDA website:
  • Each competitor can only win one prize.
  • Winners will be asked to choose their own prize in order of winning status.
  • 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 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.
  • 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, except for the Creative Photography category. The Digital Online judges reserve the right to examine RAW/untouched images in the other categories 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, except for the Creative Photography category.
  • The winners will be announced and their work displayed at the award and exhibition night on the 18th of May 2023. Participants who do not make it to the evening of the event, will be asked to collect their prize from the EDA offices.
  • 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 judges’ decisions are final.


  • Submissions may be entered from Monday 6th March 2023.
  • The entry deadline is Thursday 6th April 2023 at 11:59pm (GST – Gulf Standard Time).
  • Submit entries via email to with the requested category detail information.
  • File names should include participant’s name and the category:
  1. Your Name – Macro.jpg
  2. Your Name – Wide Angle.jpg
  3. Your Name – Best of the UAE.jpg
  4. Your Name – Black & White.jpg
  5. Your Name – Behaviour.jpg
  6. Your Name – Creative Photography.jpg
  7. Your Name – Underwater Dimensions.mp4
  • 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 Adobe RGB 1998 or sRGB colour space.
  • Video submissions must be in mp4 format.
  • Photography and video entries are to be sent electronically through WeTransfer.
  • You will receive an email to confirm your registration with photos and/or video upload. If you do not receive one within 24 hours, your email may not have come through and you may need to try again.


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 image 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. If photographers get a multiple win, their highest scoring image will win a prize and the other will get a highly commended mention which will also be displayed at the event.


Photographers may enter one image per photography category. The categories are open to photos taken with any type of camera: DSLR, mirrorless or compact.

Details to Include with Each Photo Submission:

  • Photographer Name
  • Category
  • Location
  • Story Behind the Shot
  • Camera & Gear
  • Settings


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 or Musandam.


Definition: Black and white photography is timeless and elegant. Focus on tonal contrast, shapes and textures and the composition of the shot.

5. BEHAVIOUR (New Addition for 2023)

Definition: An underwater photograph showing marine life action, such as feeding, cleaning, schooling, mating, fighting, etc.


Definition: This field is wide open. It can involve a simple workflow used to capture a unique look of a photo. Or it can be a complex post-processing technique that is used to bring out the mood and textures in an image. Photos entered into this category can be taken in any underwater environment – including controlled environments (e.g. pools, tanks). The main subject can be anything ranging from an abstract concept to a person (a diver, freediver, model, etc.) to a fish. There are no post-processing (photoshop) limits in this category. This category is designed to let your imagination swim free.


You may enter one film with the following title:


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 creativity and the ability to tell a story that leaves the audience better informed and/or moved by the ocean.




2023 – AWARDS