pdf version : [Download Here] The Durban Undersea Club, with the generous support of committed sponsors and dedicated volunteers, is proud to host the 9th DUC Shootout. The DUC Shootout seeks, through a visual medium to:

  • promote inland and coastal waters of Southern Africa as diving destinations,
  • promote an understanding and appreciation of the diversity and beauty of the underwater world and the need to preserve it,
  • celebrate the already high standard of underwater photography in the wider diving community and encourage the growth of underwater photography,
  • promote the discovery, understanding, and responsible enjoyment of the underwater world, and
  • encourage innovation and creativity whilst maintaining excellence in underwater photography.

The Durban Undersea Club Shootout (“the DUC Shootout”) aims to be one of the most prestigious competitions of its kind, attracting entries from professionals and amateurs, worldwide. The Durban Undersea Club invites entries to the DUC Shootout from amateur and professional photographers. The images entered in the competition may be featured in various media and/or exhibitions to increase awareness of the beauty of the Southern African underwater world and the promotion of South Africa as a diving destination.

Shooting must take place in the natural inland and coastal waters of Southern Africa. Rivers, lakes, lagoons, springs, rock pools and quarry’s are defined as “natural inland waters”. Swimming pools and aquariums are not defined as natural inland waters.

Southern Africa is defined as Mozambique, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Lesotho.

Terms of entry

It is the responsibility of each entrant to ensure that they have read and abided by the DUC Shootout Rules and General Guidelines on Editing (collectively “the Rules”). By submitting an entry, each entrant agrees to the Rules, and warrants that their entry complies with the requirements of the DUC Shootout.

Any entry found not to comply with the Rules will be disqualified.

No refunds or allowances will be made in such instances and any prizes will be forfeited.

The decision of the DUC Shootout Organizing Committee on all matters relating to the DUC Shootout is final and binding. No negotiation will be considered.


The competition is open to all photographers.

The event is organised by a committee of volunteers who are not eligible to enter the competition and may not judge images or videos.

The panel of judges is not eligible to enter and is comprised of various photography experts and industry professionals.

How to enter

Entrants should register at

You will be guided to the on line entry form which will require your name, mobile number and category you will be entering.

A contestant must choose the category they are going to compete in Pro, Advanced, Intermediate and Novice. (Please reference the definitions of the categories).

A contestant is allowed to submit a maximum of three (3) images into their chosen category.

The entry fee for the DUC Shootout 2016 has been tiered as follows:

Pro Category: R300
Advanced Category R200
Intermediate Category: R150
Novice Category: R100
Video R200

Your entry fee should be paid into the Durban Undersea Club bank account as follows:

Account name : Durban Undersea Club
Bank : Nedbank
Branch : Victoria Street – 148626
Account number : 1486073883
Payment reference : Entrant name

The DUC Shootout Organizing Committee cannot be held responsible for emails from the DUC Organizing Committee that do not arrive due to an entrant’s email security settings or restrictions placed by their Internet Service Provider. Entrants must ensure that their settings accept emails from

Once you have entered online and paid the entry fee, you will receive an entry number. This entry number must be used when submitting your entry.

General rules

Only paid up competitors are allowed to enter the competition. The shooting period is between 1st December 2018  and 31 July 2019 (inclusive).Images  taken outside of the shooting period will be disqualified. Set your camera/camcorder for the current date and time – there is no special date for the contest period.

Submitted images may be audited. You may not enter the same image in more than one category. Entrants may not submit images across various categories – all submissions must be for the same category, for example, you can’t enter an image in Novice and one in Advanced

Should there not be enough entries in a specific category, the DUC Shootout Organizing Committee has the right to merge similar categories or cancel the category.

Contestants must enter the category that applies to you. Please read the category definitions carefully to understand the requirement. Entrants who enter the incorrect category will be disqualified.


Novice: (NOV)

This category is for photographers who are relatively new to the underwater photography discipline and with no more than two years experience of taking underwater images. A Novice should not have won any prizes at ANY photographic contest (if you have, then you need to enter any of the other three categories).

Intermediate: (INT)

This category is for photographers that have no more than 5 years experience in capturing images underwater. An Intermediate photographer may not have been placed first in ANY photographic competition in the past two years (if you have, you need to enter advanced).

Advanced: (ADV)

This category is for competitors that do not fall into either the Novice or Intermediate category.

Pro: (PRO)

This category is for photographers that have 5 to 10 years’ experience in taking underwater images and who have sold / been paid for their UNDERWATER images in the last 3 years.

The creation of the Pro Section is a new division in the DUC SHOOTOUT, introduced to give all entrants a better chance of winning!

Underwater Photographers that have recently progressed from the Intermediate section, together with photographers that by definition are advanced, will now have the opportunity to compete against photographers of similar skills and experience.

The PRO section will be allocated the higher value prizes in line with the expected quality and higher entrance fee.

If you are by definition an Advanced Shooter and feel that your submission is of a PRO standard, you are most welcome to enter this category.

What to enter:


  • Entries must be digital files.
  • Images that are to be judged (your “ENTRY FILE”) must be submitted as .JPEGs or .TIFF, saved at a high quality level, i.e. at least 10 in Photoshop, Adobe RGB (1998) and must be the original dimensions of the camera file size, the organizers will determine the crop percentage based on the original. . (MAXIMUM 50MB per processed image in .JPG or .TIFF)
  • Do not include borders, watermarks or signatures on the image.
  • Along with your images to be judged, you must submit the original RAW file or original unedited JPEG ( your original file). DNG files are only permitted if DNG is the native RAW format of the camera. All submissions must correctly display your CATEGORY and ENTRANT NUMBER (refer to the section: “Naming of Submissions”).

What not to enter

  • Any identical or similar image into more than one category.
  • Any similar image in a category (don’t ask the judges to choose which one is better).
  • Images of restrained animals
  • Images of animal models or any other animals being exploited for profit
  • Images of captive animals
  • Images created using live bait.
  • Images that have been awarded in any national or international competition at the time of entry.

Submission of entries

The preferred method for submission of images or video is via Dropbox, however it is noted that this may not be practical in certain instances (for example from entrants with limited internet access in, say, Mozambique).

The DUC Organising Committee will create a DUC dropbox account for submissions with a folder for each entrant. Each entrant will receive an invitation to their particular dropbox folder so that they may upload images/video to the relevant dropbox. The benefit of using dropbox is it provides an audit trail for the DUC Organising Committee of all submissions and it reduces the risk of loss of submissions.

For those with limited internet access entries may be submitted by:

  • Delivery of a CD or DVD with images noting that only one entrant per CD or DVD is permitted.

CD entries MUST be delivered at Durban Undersea Club by close of business on specified closing date for entries. No late entries will be accepted. It is the responsibility of the entrant to get the submission to the Durban Undersea Club in order to be judged. Entries submitted on DVD or CD should be labeled with the ENTRANT NUMBER and CATEGORY ONLY (DO NOT PUT YOUR NAME ON THE CD OR DVD).

Postal entries to be posted to:  Durban Undersea Club, P O BOX 38162, Point, Durban, 4069 and marked for the attention of Paul Smit.

Naming of Submissions


Name your original file as follows: ORG.Category Abbreviation_ Contestant #_submissionr#

Name your entry file as follows: Category Abbreviation _ Contestant #_submission#

Category Abbreviations:

  • Novice – NOV
  • Intermediate – INT
  • Advanced – ADV
  • Pro – PRO
  • Video – VID

Working example:

For the purpose of this working example, assume your entry number is 22 and you wish to submit the following 3 images for judging in the intermediate category:

Submission number edited jpg original raw file (OR unedited jpg)
1 IMG_1813.jpg IMG_1813.CR2
2 IMG_1920.jpg IMG_1920.CR2
3 IMG_2341.jpg IMG_2341.CR2

Rename the images as follows:

Submission number edited jpg original raw file (OR unedited jpg)
1 INT_22_1.JPG ORG_INT_22_1.CR2
2 INT_22_2.jpg ORG_INT_22_2.CR2
3 INT_22_3.jpg ORG_INT_22_3.CR2



The judging will be organized on a salon style basis and applied to all image and video entries. A formal judging session with individual scoring by each judge per image takes place on the day of judging.

This will be scored as follows:

  • 1 point for a poor image.
  • 2 points for an average image.
  • 3 points for a good image.
  • 4 points an excellent image.
  • 5 points for an exceptional, brilliant, amazing image.

These scores (per judge) will be added by the Judge Convener, to arrive at a total image score. The scoring allocation will be unbiased. No judge will be aware of whom the author of the image/video is or what score a fellow judge has allocated to the image/video.

Discrepancies in scoring between judges will be called if there is a 4 point difference in point allocation (between judges) and then subjected to re-judging. If the discrepancy repeats, it will be accepted as such. The number of judges will be uneven (3 usually) – so disputes can be settled by voting.

The judge convener will ensure the above protocols are followed and the judges follow the rules. They may not participate or be influential in the judging process itself.

Judges are allowed to dive during the competition. Due to the complexity of the competition and the number of boats, it is not possible to guarantee that judges and competitors will not end up on the same boat or reef with entrants.

Competitors may not address any questions related to the competition directly to the judges. These may only be addressed to the members of the DUC Shootout Organising committee.

Ethical standards

Any breach of the below Ethical standards will constitute a breach of the Rules:

  • Entrants must be mindful of the welfare of animals and safe-guarding the environment and ensure that they do not do anything to injure or distress any animals or destroy their habitat in an attempt to secure an image.
  • Entrants are responsible for ensuring full compliance with any legislation, for example in the case of protected species, governing the country in which the image  has been taken and in securing any relevant permits that may be required (which, if including a person, may include the subject’s permission), and which should be made available on request by the DUC Shootout Organising Committee.

If the Shootout Organising Committee suspect that an image has been achieved through the use of cruel or unethical practices, the entry will be disqualified and the Shootout Organising Committee reserve the right to report the entrant to the applicable authorities.

Behaviour of Entrants

The DUC Organising Committee has adopting the Conservation Rules established by EPIC®. Marine life should never be stressed or endangered for the sake of an image. Conservation rules will apply to all entries, and decisions will be final. Entries suspected of exhibiting the following behaviour will be disqualified:

  • Divers visibly damaging the environment (e.g. gear dragging or kicking up sand).
  • Animals with signs of stress (e.g. puffed puffers, inking octopus).
  • Animals moved to an unnatural environment or risky location.
  • Animals being fed.
  • Marine life being touched.
  • Divers exhibiting poor buoyancy control.

Complaints from other divers about a diver exhibiting any of the above will be considered seriously and investigated and the environmental judges’ decision on this is final.


All entrants agree that, if their entry is awarded, they will participate in related publicity and agree to the use of their name and likeness for the purposes of advertising, promotion and publicity of the DUC Shootout without additional compensation.

Copyright and reproduction

Each entry must be the original work of the entrant and must not infringe the rights of any other party. Each entrant must either be the sole owner of the copyright or have secured the written permission of the copyright owner to enter the image into the DUC Shootout and grants the Shootout Organising Committee the rights detailed below.

The copyright in all images submitted to the Shootout Organising Committee will remain with the copyright holder.

By entering the DUC Shootout, each entrant grants to the Shootout Organising Committee a non-exclusive irrevocable license to reproduce, publish and communicate to the public by any means and exhibit their awarded image(s) and copies of their awarded image(s) in all media throughout the world in relation to the DUC Shootout including but not limited to all use in the context of:

  • judging the Competition,
  • inclusion within the Shootout Organising Committee Websites, including within interactive elements associated with the DUC Shootout (now known or hereafter created) available for viewing or download from the Shootout Organising Committee’s Websites, and
  • inclusion in promotional, press and marketing materials relating to the DUC Shootout.

Awarded images may be used by the Shootout Organising Committee for the purposes of the DUC Shootout from the date of notification of awarded images and thereafter the Shootout Organising Committee may keep the awarded images within an archive (electronic or otherwise) provided that should the images be used in connection with the DUC Shootout after the period of five (5) years following the notification of awarded images, permission will be sought from the photographers.


Proof of electronic submission is not proof of receipt by the Shootout Organising Committee. The Shootout Organising Committee regret that they cannot accept liability for any loss or damage of any image entered into the DUC Shootout howsoever caused nor for any other loss or damage resulting therefrom. The Shootout Organising Committee regret that they cannot accept liability for the misuse of images and/or failure of any third party to comply with the DUC Shootout guidelines.

Non-awarded digital images entered into the DUC Shootout will not be returned by the Shootout Organising Committee after the names of awarded photographers are announced. Except where expressly stated elsewhere in the Rules, the Shootout Organising Committee regret that, to the fullest extent permitted by law, they cannot accept any liability for any loss or damage suffered by any entrant in relation to the DUC Shootout and the use of any prize.

General guidelines on editing

Before submitting your entries to the DUC Shootout, please ensure your photographs are in technical compliance with the image editing guidelines below. Entrants are encouraged to think about the ethos of the DUC Shootout, and to submit entries that are both creative and truthful. Adjustments should always be compliant to the principles of the DUC Shootout. Entries must be digital files.

Image specifications

For judging purposes, images must be submitted as JPEGs, saved at the quality setting 10 (at least) in Photoshop, Adobe RGB (1998), and must be 1920 pixels on the longest dimension. No borders, watermarks or signatures.

For proof of authenticity, original digital camera RAW files (e.g. CR2, NEF, ORF etc) must be submitted along with your entry. Digital images captured as JPEG are allowed, providing the original un-retouched JPEG is submitted along with your entry.

Image adjustment guidelines

The image should be a faithful representation of the original scene. Localised adjustments should be used appropriately. Allowances will not be made for poorly colour-managed, over-saturated, or over-sharpened images. Some adjustment or editing is allowed. The objective is to remain faithful to the original experience, and to never deceive the viewer or misrepresent the reality of nature.

Adjustments that are allowed:

  • removal of sensor dust spots
  • removal of chromatic aberration
  • removing background noise (in moderation)
  • levels (in moderation)
  • curves (in moderation)
  • colour (in moderation)
  • saturation (in moderation)
  • contrast work (in moderation)
  • shadow and highlights (in moderation)
  • sharpening (including selective sharpening) in moderation
  • cropping in moderation
  • dodging, burning and toning (in moderation)
  • neutral density gradients (in moderation)
  • removing lens vignetting

Adjustments that are NOT allowed

  • adding or removing animals, parts of animals, plants, distractions, people etc.
  • composites and sandwich shots that add elements
  • Cropping of more than 20% – you can’t crop a landscape shot into portrait or macro.
  • panoramas or stitched images

Underwater Video:


An underwater video section has been re – introduced to the DUC shootout format.

There are no categories for underwater video division. Each submission will be judged according to impact and effectiveness in which the theme of the DUC shootout is conveyed – that is to celebrate the underwater world of Southern Africa.

We are looking for high quality videos – there are 8 months to get footage and edit!

The submission must be between 1 and 3 min’s in duration.

A minimum of 70% of your entry must be shot while diving on scuba or free diving underwater. You

may therefore include above water and land shots in your entry.

No swimming pool or aquarium shots will be permitted.

The DUC Shootout video rules do not restrict the choice of music that you wish to use. However, please be

sure to understand copyright laws with regard to the use of commercial music. The DUC Shootout accepts

NO responsibility for the use of music or any material that carries a copyright.

Should entrants wish to place end credits in their video, their names or any reference to their names may not appear in these credits.

Some Suggestions:

Pay attention to:

• White Balance settings Focus – try to avoid using auto focus by selecting manual focus and shooting everything on a wide angle shot with the focus set at about 1-1,5m

• Composition or framing of your shots

• Smooth camera operation

• Clean editing and a conclusive ending to your edit

• Choose a theme and a title and use it either in the beginning or in an appropriate place in your video.

• Take the trouble to ensure a high level of attention to focus, white balance, framing, camera operation, etc. Entries will be marked up or down according to the standard of these elements.

• The same will apply to editing. Be sure to familiarize yourself with your editing program in both visual and sound elements and make use of it in a constructive way. A skilled “pro” look to the edit will attract higher attention from the judges.