Competition Classes

Open Class - Open to all participants with any type of camera and accessories. Published and professional photographers are automatically placed in this category.

Compact Class - The Compact Class is exclusive for participants using cameras without interchangeable lenses. Mirrorless, SLR, and all similar type cameras are not allowed in the Compact Class.

Competition Mechanics

The Anilao Underwater Shootout follows an on-site shootout format. Only photos that are taken in the Mabini-Tingloy (Anilao) jurisdiction, from November 27 to December 1, 2018, shall be eligible for entry.

All photos must be taken in an open water environment. Photographs taken in artificial environments such as aquariums, pools and similar tanks shall be automatically disqualified.


  • Macro/Supermacro  - Any close-up photograph of small subjects and marine life
  • Marine Behavior – Photographs that feature any display of marine behavior such as feeding, breeding, etc.
  • Nudibranch – Nudibranchs should be the main subject of the photograph.
  • Fish Portrait – Photographs that prominently feature fish. Can be a face or full body shot.

DOT Photographer of the Year (Best in Show, Compact and Open Classes)

Two pools of winning photographs from each competition class will be made. Our panel of judges will choose one photograph from each pool and its photographer will be declared DOT Photographer of the Year for that Competition Class.

Special Categories

Blackwater and Bonfire – Photos that feature animals found and photographed by doing blackwater or bonfire dives. Blackwater dives are done in deeper waters away from shore with a down line fitted with lights to attract smaller animals that usually are not found in shallower waters. Bonfire dives use a similar approach with lights to attract the same animals, but in a shallower setting closer to shore.

GoPro/iPhone Special Beginners – A new category this year for participants who use GoPros, Smart phones or similar devices to shoot photographs underwater. Please note that submissions must still conform to general macro photography rules


Each category will have 3 winners; 1st, 2nd and 3rd places for both Open and Compact Classes, for a total of 24 regular category winners.

DOT Photographer of the Year will have 2 winners, one for both Open and Compact

Special Categories will have 1 winner each.

Criteria for Judging

All entries will be judged according to the following criteria:

  • 40% - Visual and Aesthetic (Framing, Composition, etc)
  • 30% - Technical (Proper Exposure, Focus, DOF, Color, etc)
  • 20% - Originality (Style, Vision and Execution)
  • 10% - Content (Creature involved, Difficulty, Relevance)

Underwater Conduct and Marine Conservation

The competition will follow a strict ‘No Marine Life Manipulation’ policy. Any photographers found in the act or harassing, destroying or improperly handling marine life will be automatically disqualified from the competition. Mishandling and improper behavior includes, but is not limited to:

  • Improper handling and/or destruction of marine habitats
  • Marine life photographed out of their natural habitats
  • Marine life displaying unnatural behavior


Judges reserve the right to disqualify or question any submission on any entries that bear any trace of marine life manipulation

Guides and spotters are also required to attend a safety briefing in Anilao (date and venue to be announced). Participants not using any guides or spotters must register themselves as self-guided.

Reporting Untoward Behavior Underwater

Guides and participants will be issued ID tags to attach to their tanks and regulators for easy identification.

Any individuals wishing to file a complaint is requested to identify the erring participant and/or dive guide via the number on their ID tag and get in touch with the event organizers to lodge a formal complaint.

Please avoid direct confrontation, especially underwater.

Post Processing

Only minimal processing will be allowed for competition entries.  Only global effects will be allowed with a minimum amount of cropping. Global effects include white balance, exposure compensation, brightness, saturation, contrast etc. Above-mentioned changes may be applied from RAW to JPEG conversion via any RAW file editor.

Not allowed are: spot corrections, composite images, and cutting, cloning or healing any part of the image..

Please keep in mind that while some processing and cropping is allowed, excessive processing is generally looked down upon. Judges may request for accompanying RAW or original JPEG files for any questionable images.


Registration will be open everyday from 8AM to 5PM at the Acacia Dive and Resort Centerfrom November 27 to December 30, 2018. All participants are required to personally complete registration and claim participant kits.

Registration fee of PhP1,500 or USD30.00 will be collected from every participant.

Kindly note that participants may not register as a dive guide/spotter and vice versa.  If your guide has not already registered, please direct them to Acacia Dive and Resort Center at any time during the competition dates.

File Format and Specification

Submissions must follow the file name format and placed in a single folder.


Filename convention

Jpeg: CompetitorID_Class_Category_EntryNumber.jpg


Using the following codes:

  • OPN – Open Class
  • COM – Compact Class
  • MAC – Macro Category
  • MBE – Marine Behavior Category
  • NUD – Nudi Category
  • FSH – Fish Portrait Category
  • SBG – Special Beginners
  • BLW – Blackwater


Participant numbers must be in 3 digits (001, 015, 100, etc).


For example, participant number 001 in open class, submitting marine behavior entry:



While participant number 002 in compact class, submitting fish portrait category:



RAW files must also be submitted following the same file name format, placed in a different folder.

Deadline for Submission of Entries

All entries must be submitted on or before 8:00AM of December 01, 2018. No submissions will be accepted past 8:00AM to ensure enough time for processing and judging.

Submissions not made in the proper file format arrangement will likewise not be accepted.

Opening and Closing Ceremonies

Welcome cocktails will be served at Acacia Resort and Dive Center on November 27, 2018 from 4:00PM to 7:00PM. This is a great opportunity for participants to come meet the judges, the organizing team and fellow participants.

Closing ceremony and Awarding will be held at on December 1, 2018 from 7:00PM onwards. Cocktails will also be served prior to the ceremony at 4:00PM. Venue to be announced.

Kindly present your stubs and/or participant ID for admission to both events.