United Nations World Oceans Day Photo Competition 2019

United Nations World Oceans Day Photo Competition 2019

Deadline: April 30,2019

Applications are open for the World Oceans Day Photo Competition 2019. The World Oceans Day encourages you to make a difference in your life, community, and world by taking action to protect our ocean – for present and future generations.

Despite the huge challenges facing the world’s ocean, by working together we can achieve a healthy ocean that provides for the billions of humans, plants and animals which depend on it every day. For the sixth year running, you can share the beauty and importance of the ocean through your photographs!

Photography is a powerful medium to convey a feeling or a message. This open and free photo competition seeks to inspire the creation of imagery capturing the beauty, the challenges and the importance of the ocean and humankind’s relation to it, hoping to contribute to actions to preserve it.


The photo competition has seven thematic categories open for photographic submissions:

  • Gender and Oceans NEW!
  • Underwater Seascapes
  • Underwater Life
  • Above Water Seascapes
  • Human Interaction: Making a Difference
  • Clean Our Ocean: Images relating to the ocean that show the positive or negative consequences of human interference above or below the waterline
  • Youth: Open category, any image of the ocean – below or above the surface (photographed by a person under 18 years of age as of May 1, 2019)


  • Winning images will be recognized at the United Nations on Friday, June 7, during the United Nations’ event marking World Oceans Day 2019. (World Oceans Day is on the folllowing day, June 8, and will be celebrated worldwide.)
  • Recognition and diffusion of the winning images and finalists will be widely exposed throughout the contest websites, the media and the informational materials related to subsequent competitions. Winning photos have been printed for exhibitions around the world.


  • The contest is open to entrants of all skill levels;
  • Photo contest staff and judges are not allowed to enter the contest;
  • Entries may have been taken from any camera, digital or film (as scanned slides);
  • Conservation rules will be strictly observed. Flora and fauna should never be stressed or endangered for the sake of a photo. Entries suspected of involving the following behavior will be disqualified:
    • Photographers visibly damaging the environment (e.g., gear dragging or kicking up sand, divers exhibiting poor buoyancy control)
    • Animals with signs of stress (e.g., puffed puffers, inking octopus)
    • Animals moved to an unnatural environment or risky location
    • Marine life being touched or placed (e.g., nudibranchs, coral polyps, seahorse tails)
  • Images that have won or placed in photo contests with winning entries announced before March 1, 2019 may not be submitted. Any single image that was part of a portfolio, but did not place as a single image, is eligible to be entered. A winning image is defined as follows:
    • Any image that has placed 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in a major photography contest (to be determined subjectively by judges)
    • Any image that has placed 1st, 2nd or 3rd in any photo of the year-type contest. Photos of the day, week, or month are eligible
  • Photographers retain all copyrights to their images. The organizers of World Oceans Day Photo Competition retain the right to publish the contest entries in any format to congratulate or feature the winners and their respective images, and to promote future World Oceans Day events, as well as for awareness-raising purposes for the work of the United Nations Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea. Winning images will be included in a press release for third party websites and publications in the context of congratulating and/or featuring the winners and winning images, and to promote future World Oceans Day events. Winning images can be used by the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, Office of Legal Affairs of the United Nations and their partners to promote awareness, preservation and conservation. Strict guidelines requiring photo credit and specific one-time press release usage are issued along with the press release.
  • Note on photo manipulation: Post processing images is allowed. This includes global adjustments to exposure, contrast, burning, dodging, cropping, sharpening, noise reduction, and tone. Minor cleaning of images is permitted, including the removal of backscatter, dust and scratches. HDR, panoramas, focus stacking or other techniques that involve using multiple images taken at the same time and place are also allowed.


Click here to apply

For more information, visit World Oceans Day Photo Competition.