Guru Awards Terms & Conditions

Please note that this English Language Version of the Guru Awards Terms & Conditions (‘Terms & Conditions’) is binding.


1.1 The main objectives of the Guru Awards are to enhance, exhibit, and promote the art of underwater and ocean photography and to to help raise public awareness about protecting the marine and aquatic environments.

1.2 The Guru Awards (‘the Competition’) is owned by The Underwater Tour (‘the Owners’).

1.3 The Competition process and judging is managed on the Photo-Competitions online platform 

1.4 The Competition comprises a photography competition open to any photographer. Entrants aged under 18 years require consent from their Parent or Guardian, who will receive all correspondence. Any contact with the Owners regarding the Competition (unless specified otherwise) should be via the email address:

1.5 Selected entries to the Competition may or may not be displayed in an exhibition at Underwater Tour Nights and/or toured nationally (‘the Touring Exhibition’), featured online, in publicity materials relating to the Competition and Touring Exhibition, or as merchandising according to the terms hereunder.


2.1 Entries must be received by Monday 19th September 2022 at 21:00hrs AEST (Australian Eastern Standard Time) GMT +10:00 (‘the Closing Date’). Entries will come into effect only upon submission of a fully completed registration form.

2.2 The Competition is open to anyone except individuals (and their partners and family) involved in its organisation or judging or employees of the Owners or any official partners, supporters, or sponsors of the Competition. Entrants under 18 years of age at the Closing Date must have the permission of a Parent or Guardian.

2.3 By entering the Competition, the entrant agrees to maintain the highest standards in all matters relating to the Competition and not to do or say anything that does or might damage the reputation of the Owners, the Competition, the other entrants, or the official partners, supporters, or sponsors of the Competition, the Exhibition or the Touring Exhibition. The entrant acknowledges that entry into the Competition does not grant any rights in any intellectual property rights of the Competition and/or the Owners, and agrees not to use any names, logos, or other intellectual property rights of any of them or to make any public statement regarding any of them without the prior written consent of the Owners.

2.4 It is the responsibility of each entrant into the Competition to ensure that they have read and will abide by these Terms & Conditions. By submitting an entry, each entrant agrees to the Terms & Conditions, that their entry complies with the Terms & Conditions, and that they will be liable to the Owners and their licensees in respect of any damages or losses incurred as a breach of the Terms & Conditions by the entrant.

2.5 Entrants must submit images that are associated with the theme of underwater, ocean, river, lakes, or other natural bodies of water.

2.6 Entrants are not permitted to submit images that:

2.6.1 Have been awarded any prize, recommendation, or another award in any international competition before 15 August 2022;

2.6.2 Feature farm animals, family pets, and/or cultivated plants, aquarium or zoo exhibits;

2.6.3 Portray captive or restrained animals, animal models, and/or any other animal being exploited for profit unless for the purposes of reporting on a specific issue regarding the treatment of animals by a third party;

2.6.4 Have been captured using live bait;

2.6.5 Do not meet the Image Specifications last outlined in (5. IMAGE SPECIFICATIONS)

2.7 Any entry found not to comply with the Terms & Conditions at any stage of the Competition may be disqualified, and no refunds or allowances will be made in the event of disqualification and any prizes will be forfeited. The decision of the Owners on all matters relating to the Competition is final and binding. No negotiation will be considered. The Owners reserve the right to amend the Terms & Conditions and to waive breach of the Terms & Conditions at their sole discretion, acting reasonably.

2.8 The Jury may request the original camera-captured file at any time to aid in upholding the Competition’s Terms & Conditions, aims, and values.

2.9 The Jury’s decisions are final.

3. The Competition – SUBMISSIONS

3.1 Entry must be via the Photo-Competitions online platform at

3.2 A one-off non-refundable entry of AUD$25 per image, up to a maximum of $150 for when entering 6 images, is payable by the entrant at the time of submission.

3.3 Each entrant is allowed a maximum of six (6) entries into the Competition, such total to include any entries into the categories listed below. (Entrants may enter one or more entries in one category, or spread across any number of the 6 categories).

3.4 The Competition consists of the following categories:

a. Underwater Characters (UC) – Underwater photographs depicting marine/aquatic animals/people. Can be taken in freshwater or the ocean. Must clearly be shot underwater

b. Underwater Scenes (US) – Underwater photographs depicting marine/aquatic environments. May include marine animals. Can be taken in freshwater or the ocean. Must clearly be shot underwater.

c. Aquatic Abstracts (AA) Underwater or topside photographs of freshwater and/or ocean subjects. Abstracts do not necessarily represent reality, but rather seek to evoke an emotional response using shapes, colours, and textures.

d. Topside Scenes (TS) – Photographs taken above water depicting ocean or freshwater environments. Seventy percent (70%) of the image must depict water.

e. Underwater Black & White (UBW) – Any photographs taken underwater, must display no colour, only grey tones. Must be clearly shot underwater.

f. Reportage (R) – Factual, journalistic presentations of threats, activism or actions relating to the health Ocean and/or Freshwater environments and their inhabitants.

(Category Abbreviations are contained in parenthesis as above)

3.5 By entering 1 image in at least 3 of the categories listed in Section 3.4, entrants will automatically become eligible for consideration in the Guru Grand Prize.

3.6 Entries will consist solely of still images, without any insertion of comment or a frame. They must have been taken in, under or about the water or coastline.

3.7 A single image may be submitted in multiple categories. Each submission equals one (1) entry i.e. If the Entrant wishes to submit the same image into three (3) categories, this would equal three (3) entries.

Please see Section 5.10 for clarification on where to enter 1/2 and 1/2 (also known as over/under) photographs.


4.1 Any breach of the Competition’s Ethics below will constitute a breach of the Terms & Conditions.

4.2 Entrants are required to report on the natural world in a way that is both creative and honest:

4.2.1 Entries must not deceive the viewer or attempt to disguise and/or misrepresent the reality of nature;

4.2.2 Caption information supplied must be complete, true, and accurate.

4.2.3 Entrants must not do anything to injure or distress an animal or damage its habitat in an attempt to secure an image. This includes flying (or flying a drone) too low or noisily over an animal – an animal’s welfare must come first.

4.2.4 Entrants – including those using drones – are responsible for ensuring full compliance with any applicable national or international legislation and for securing any relevant permits that may be required (which, in the case of human portraits and recordings, will include the subject’s permission) and which must be made available on request by the Owners.

4.2.5 Live baiting is not permitted, and neither is any means of baiting that may put an animal in danger or adversely affect its behaviour, either directly or through irresponsible habituation. Any other means of attraction must be declared in the caption for the Jury and Owners to review.

4.5.6 If the Owners suspect that an entry has been achieved through cruel or unethical practices the entry will be disqualified and the Owners reserve the right to report the entrant to the applicable authorities.

4.5.7 If, in the process of Judging, an entry is flagged for Ethics Review, the entrant will be contacted and asked to respond to any concerns raised by a required date. The Entrant’s response will then be taken into consideration by the Owners when deciding if the Terms and Conditions of the competition have been breached.


5.1 Submissions must be in digital format but the original entry does not need to have been taken on a digital camera. High-quality scans of transparencies or negatives are also acceptable.

5.2 For all categories, digital files must be submitted as JPEGs, saved at high or maximum quality setting; Adobe RGB (1998) or sRGB Colour Space; 3600 pixels along the longest dimension. No borders, watermarks, or signatures should be included. The maximum size for each JPEG file is 5MB.

5.3 A unique and anonymous Filename will be generated by the system for each entry, upon upload.

5.4 Any entry that cannot be authenticated or is not of acceptable quality will be disqualified. The Owners reserve the right to ask any entrant to supply the original file and or a range of ‘before’ and ‘after’ original files for any image that requires further authentication.

5.5 Digital adjustments including globalised colour, tone and contrast, local adjustments to colour, tone and contrast (burning, dodging), cropping, sharpening, noise reduction, and minor cleaning work (e.g. removal of sensor dust or scratches on transparencies/scans, removal of chromatic aberration) ARE PERMITTED.

HDR, stitched panoramas, focus stacking, and in-camera multiple exposures ARE PERMITTED provided that they comply with the Competition’s principles of authenticity so that they do not deceive the viewer or misrepresent the reality of nature.

Minor removal of particles/backscatter is permitted but not to the extent that it alters the authenticity of the photograph.

5.6 The following digital adjustments – but not limited to these – are NOT ALLOWED: adding, moving, or removing objects, animals or parts of animals, plants, people, structures, etc; composite images comprising more than one original capture; sky replacements; digitally painted foregrounds or backgrounds.

5.7 Caption information must be complete, true, and accurate, and provide a simple description of what is depicted in the photograph, including the location it was photographed.

5.8 Entrants should not include their name in the caption or on the image itself. EXIF details should be kept intact (eg camera, lens, exposure etc). Simple descriptions accompanying images should be no more than twenty-five (25) words to inform the Jury of the intended purpose or details of the image, including the location it was shot.

5.9 Images submitted to the underwater categories must clearly be shot majority underwater. For the Topside Scenes category, 70% of the frame must depict water (above or below the surface).

5.10 Considerations applicable to Half and Half (½ and ½) images, otherwise known as overs/unders.

5.10.1 Half and Half (½ and ½) (otherwise known as over/unders) that portray a majority of underwater content should be entered in Underwater Characters (UC); Underwater Scenes (US); Underwater Black & White (UBW), Aquatic Abstract (AA), or Reportage (R)

5.10.2 Half and Half (½ and ½) (otherwise known as over/unders) that portray a majority of topside content should be entered in Topside Scenes (TS) , Aquatic Abstract (AA), or Reportage (R)


6.1 An independent panel of experts comprising a chair and judges (‘the Jury’) will be appointed by the Owners to select and award the winners of the categories and overall winner.

6.2 During judging, and with the express agreement of the Owners, the Jury reserves the right to:

6.2.1 Move entries from one category to another where applicable and appropriate;

6.2.2 Not award any entry within a category

6.2.3 Remove a category in its entirety.

6.3 From those entries selected by the Jury from the Competition, the following awards may be given:

6.3.1 Category Winner(s)

6.3.2 People’s Choice Vote Winner

6.3.3 Guru Grand Prize

6.4 Only Entrants with submissions in at least 3 categories will be considered by the Jury for the Guru Grand Prize.

6.5 Successful entrants will be notified in strict confidence. It is a condition of entry that the entrant does not disclose the details of any shortlisted or winning entries to any third party prior to the Public Announcement of the Awards.

6.6 Non-cash prizes are non-transferable or exchangeable for cash. Category product & service prizes are not exchangeable for cash. Please note that prizes must be claimed within one year of the awards announcements (or within a mutually agreed period) unless otherwise specified or the prize will be forfeited. Travel prizes are to be redeemed subject to availability and must be booked and completed in a timeframe suitable for both recipient and vendor.


All entrants agree that, if their entry is selected by the Jury, 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 this and future variants of the Competition and/or the Exhibition and Touring Exhibition without additional compensation.


8.1 Each entry must be the original work of the entrant and must not infringe the rights of any other party.

8.2 The entrant must either be the sole owner of the copyright in the entry(s) submitted or have secured the written permission of the copyright owner or any joint owners of the copyright to submit the entry(s) into the Competition. A copy of any such written permission must be supplied to the Owners on request.

8.3 In the event that an entrant is not the sole copyright owner of the entry(s), the entrant agrees to notify the Owners at the date of submission, providing the names.

8.4 Ownership of the copyright in any entry submitted to the Competition will remain with the copyright owner(s). The photographer will be credited (eg © photographer’s name). The photographer agrees that the Owners will not be liable to the photographer in the event of inadvertent omission of the credit.

8.5 By entering the Competition, the entrant grants to the Owners a non-exclusive, irrevocable license to reproduce, publish, exhibit, and communicate to the public, by any means, and in all media throughout the world. This license is granted for use in relation to current and future Competition/s, Exhibition/s, and Touring Exhibition/s, which shall include (with the right to sub-license where necessary) – but will not be limited to – any of the following uses:

8.5.1 the process of judging the Competition (including the public vote);

8.5.2 display during the awards ceremony, Exhibition, and Touring Exhibition;

8.5.3 publication in magazines, e-magazines, media websites or print media which the Owners (or their official partners, supporters, or sponsors) may endorse;

8.5.4 publication on relevant parts of the Owners’ website, including within interactive elements available for viewing or download;

8.5.5 in publicity materials (including social media).

8.5.6 awarded submissions may be used by the Owners for the purposes of promoting the Competition, Exhibition, and/or Touring Exhibition from the date of notification of awarded submissions until the end of the Touring Exhibition, and thereafter the Owners may keep the awarded submissions within an archive (electronic or otherwise) provided that, should the submissions be used in connection with the Competition, Exhibition and/or Touring Exhibition after the period of five (5) years following the notification of awarded submissions.

8.5.7 Prints of Underwater Tour Awards entries made for exhibiting during the Underwater Tour will be kept as a collection for possible exhibitions at other venues.

8.5.8 An awards book, featuring a selection of shortlisted and winning entries.


9.1 Proof of electronic submission is not proof of receipt by the Owners.

9.2 The Owners cannot be held responsible for emails 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 The Underwater Tour.

9.3 The Owners regret that they cannot accept liability for any loss of or damage to any entry submitted into the Competition how so ever caused or for any other loss or damage as a result.

9.4 The Owners regret that they cannot accept liability for the misuse of images and/or failure of any third party to comply with the Competition’s credit guidelines.

9.5 Non-awarded digital entries submitted into the Competition will not be stored or returned by the Owners after the names of awarded photographers are announced.

9.6 Except where expressly stated elsewhere in the Terms & Conditions, the Owners 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 Competition or the use of any prize.


10.1 The personal data of entrants will be managed by the Owners in accordance with data protection legislation.

10.2 The Owners will collect personal data about entrants (and the entrant’s parent/guardian where applicable) at the time of registration, and as otherwise provided in order to administer the Competition and/or all associated activities.

10.3 By entering the Underwater Tour Awards you are agreeing to be contacted by the organisers, the Underwater Tour Awards’ Sponsors, and Partners. All parties will honour any unsubscribe requests should you no longer wish to receive their updates.

10.4 Entrants may contact the Owners at any time to update their details and/or preferences regarding the permitted use of their personal data.

10.5 The Privacy Policy is available here at


The Owners cannot be held responsible if, owing to force majeure or any other cause outside its control, changes are made to dates or even if the competition is altered or cancelled.

Should you have any complaints or compliments please contact

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