The Underwater Photographer of the Year, UPY,  is an annual competition held in London. This event is a somewhat new international photographic competition that focuses on the disciplines that accompany taking beautiful pictures under the water’s surface. Underwater photography poses different challenges than other forms of the art, and is often much more expensive to accomplish. However, the beauty of these images prove that it is well worth the challenges to get that final amazing photo.

UPY has several categories for images submitted. Macro, wide angle, wrecks, behavior, and up and coming categories all showcase different aspects of underwater photography. The three judges on this year’s panel went through over 2,500 entries from 40 different countries.


“It was highly enjoyable, but something we took very seriously. Every judge saw every picture multiple times, I think we probably know some of the images better than the photographers who took them,” said Alex Mustard, chair of the judging panel. “The quantity and particularly the quality of the images entered left us all astounded. It was a privilege to be part of something so special. Heart-warming to see the competitions so enthusiastically embraced by the community, heartbreaking at times when we just couldn’t squeeze some truly amazing images into the winners circle.”

Here are some of our favorite images from UPY. They encompass the beauty of the marine world, something in desperate need of our help and protection.


“Fast Oceanic” by Tommi KokkolaUp and Coming Worldwide, Runner-Up

“Pike, the Lurking Predator” by Trevor Rees: British Waters Wide Angle, Runner-Up

“The Passenger” by Filippo Borghi: International Macro, Third Place

 “Survival” by Montse Grillo: International Behavior, Winner

“Peekaboo Puffin” by Matt Doggett: British Waters Macro, Runner-Up

“Hermit Crabs Hanging Out” by Polly Whyte: British Waters Compact, Runner-Up


“Eelastic” by Tobias Friedrich: International Wrecks, Winner

“Cuttlefish in a Blur” by Trevor Rees: British Waters Compact, Winner

“From Below” by Raffaele Livornese: International Wide Angle, Winner

“Northern Prawn” by Arthur Kingdon: British Waters Macro, Third Place

“Socotra Cormorant” by Hani Bader: International Wide Angle, Runner-Up

“Good Luck My Babies” by Tammy Gibbs: International Behaviour, Runner-Up

“Gannets Feast” by Matt Doggett: British Underwater Photographer of the Year

“Valet Service” by Cathy Lewis: International Behaviour, Third

” 50 Tons of Me” by Nuno Sá: Underwater Photographer of the Year 2015

Lead image source: Theresa A Guise with ‘Dancing shrimp in formation’ – International Macro runner-up/UPY