If you are planning to submit a photo into a category of the Ocean Azores Photographer of the Year competition, please read the following rules.

Please note that any entry to the Ocean Azores Photographer of the Year Competition will immediately be subject to these Rules. If entering, you the entrant (“you”) must read and abide by these Rules as they create a legally binding contract between you and the Ocean Azores Foundation.


Regulations for the Photography Contest “Photographer of the Year Ocean Azores”;


(1)  the Ocean Azores Photographer of the Year (“the Competition”) is owned by the Ocean Azores Foundation (“us” or “we” or “The Foundation”).

(2) The Competition comprises is open to photographers aged 18 and over. Photography must have been taken in the waters around the islands of the Azores to qualify for entry

(3) To promote the Competition, photographs given Awards by the Jury may be displayed in:

(i) an exhibition or display in the Azores  (“Exhibition”);

(ii) on the website or partner websites including social media.

(4) The Competition and the resulting Exhibition may be sponsored by such organisation as chosen by us in our sole discretion (“the Official Sponsor(s)”).


(1) Entries must be received until 11.30am CET on the morning of 26 January 2024 (“the Closing Date”).

(2) The Competition is open to anyone aged 18 or over on 26 January 2024


(i) individuals (and their partners and family) involved in its judging; 

(3) By submitting an entry to the Competition, you agree:

(i) to abide by the Rules and ensure that the entry complies with the Rules;

(ii) to maintain the highest standards in all matters relating to the Competition; and

(iii) that you will be liable to us, The Ocean Azores Foundation in respect of any damages or losses incurred as a result of a breach of the Rules by you.

(4) All entries must be the result of a photographic process using a camera and taken in the waters around the autonomous region of the Azores. You are not permitted to capture photographs that:

(i) feature farm animals, family pets, and/or cultivated plants and fungi;

(ii) breach any of the ethical obligations or legal guidance from the Government of The Azores

(5) Any entry found not to comply with the Rules at any stage of the Adult Competition may be disqualified. No allowances will be made in the event of disqualification and any unreceived prizes will be forfeited within 14 days. Where an entry is disqualified, we reserve the right to confirm the entry was disqualified in response to any inquiries. If a breach has occurred, but is discovered after an award, then we may withdraw the relevant entry from any of the displays. Any decision of ours relating to the Competition is final and binding. No negotiation will be considered and we will not enter into subsequent correspondence regarding such decisions.

(6) Whilst the information in these Rules is correct, we, in our sole discretion but acting reasonably, reserve the right without prior notice to:

(i) amend the Rules without notice;

(ii) change the prizes in accordance with the rules outlined;

(iii) decide whether any Competition award ceremony will be an event or carried out online only;

(iv) waive breaches of the Rules without refund; and

(v) cancel the Competition and terminate the contracts and licenses created by these Rules subject to the entry.

(7) We reserve all rights to disqualify your picture if your conduct is contrary to the spirit or intention of the Competition or Exhibition including geographical location.


(1) Entry must be made via no later than 11.30am CET on 26 January 2024.

(2) No entry fee is required or will be required by any licensee of the competition.

(3) Entries can be made by any photographer but the photograph must have been taken in the territorial waters of the autonomous region of the Azores, a region defined as a part of Portugal.

(4) There is no limit to the number of photos you can submit. The photos can be in 1 folder and will be sorted by The Foundation or you can organise them into folders based on the categories

(5) The organisers (The Foundation) reserve the right to move any photos into a category at the discretion formed within the competition

(6) (6) The overall winner will receive a cash prize of 2,500 euros and will be featured on a banner at the airport (AIRPORT). No other financial prize will be offered in the 2024 competition, nor will the financial prize be divided between categories.


(1) Any breach of these Ethical Requirements below will constitute a breach of the Rules.

(2) Your photographs must report on the waters around the Azores in a way that is creative, honest and ethical:

(i) Entries must not deceive the viewer or attempt to disguise and/or misrepresent

the reality of nature;

(ii) caption information supplied must be complete, true, and accurate; and

(iii) photographs must not portray captive, restrained, manipulated animals, animal models, taxidermy animals, and/or any other animal being exploited for profit. The only exception is when reporting on a specific issue regarding the treatment of animals by a third party, in which case you must make clear that the animal was captive, restrained, a model or a taxidermy animal.

(3) You must not do anything to injure or distress an animal or damage its habitat in an attempt to secure a photograph. This includes flying (or flying a drone) too low or noisily over an animal and taking photographs at nests using wide-angle lenses although telephoto lenses are permitted. An animal’s welfare must always come first.

 You are responsible for ensuring full compliance with any national or international legislation (including in relation to drones) and for securing any relevant permits.

(5) Live baiting is not permitted, neither is any means of baiting that may put an animal in danger or adversely affect its behaviour, either directly or through irresponsible habituation.

(6) If we suspect that an entry has been achieved through cruel or unethical practices, including the use of live or irresponsible bait or in any way in breach of these Rules, the entry will be disqualified and we reserve the right to report you to the applicable authorities.


(1) Photographs must have been shot within the past six years. The capture date must be after October 2018 and evidenced on request.

(2) Your entry must be uploaded in JPEG, PNG or .PSD format. but JPG or JPEG is preferable.

(3) For all categories, photographs must be submitted as a high-quality setting of at least 8 in Photoshop, Adobe RGB (1998), in the highest quality and dimension available. The organisation will not consider photographs that have borders, watermarks or signatures.

(4) If your photograph is shortlisted for the final round of judging you will be required to provide the following:

(i) RAW files (eg .ARW, .CR2/3, .NEF, .ORF, .PEF etc), or original untouched JPEGs (with a range of ‘before’ and ‘after’ original untouched JPEG files); and original transparencies or negatives, will be required for authentication. DNG files are only permitted if this is the native RAW format of the camera.

(ii) High-resolution files (preferably JPG) required for printing should be 8-bit, Adobe RGB (1998) at full resolution, and match the colour and cropping of the JPEG submitted at entry. Please do not upscale. Files must not exceed 500MB.

(5) Any entry that cannot be authenticated or is not of an acceptable quality will be disqualified. We reserve the right to ask you to supply a range of ‘before’ and ‘after’ original files for any photograph that requires further authentication.

(6) Other than those set out in section 5(7) below, digital adjustments are permitted providing that they comply with the Competition’s principles of authenticity i.e. they do not deceive the viewer or misrepresent the reality of nature, or what was originally captured by the camera – tone and contrast, burning, dodging, cropping, sharpening, noise reduction, minor cleaning work (e.g. removal of sensor dust or scratches on transparencies/scans, removal of chromatic aberration, lens distortion and vignetting), HDR, stitched panoramas, and “stacking” – photograph stacking and combined for the purposes of; focus stacking, exposure blending, noise reduction or lengthening exposure if taken at the same location at approximately the same time (as a continuous sequence) or within the Natural Artistry category only as multiple exposures in-camera.

(7) For the avoidance of doubt the following digital adjustments are not permitted: adding, moving or removing objects, animals or parts of animals, plants, people etc; the removal of dirt, highlights, backscatter, bubbles, debris and similar; composites; painting the foreground / painting out the background or AI generated photographs or images. If any post processing method adds new image content to the photograph via AI algorithms or by manual intervention, the resulting photograph/image will have contravened these Rules.

(8) Caption information must be complete, true and accurate, including; the exact location, the year the photo was taken; and if the species is of scientific interest. Photographers are encouraged to provide informative but concise captions for the Jury.

(9) You must not include your name in the caption or on the photograph itself. You must not include your name in the file data i.e. owner, copyright or creator fields. If you are not able to remove your name from these fields we will do this.


(1) A panel of experts comprising a chair and judges (“the Jury”) will be appointed by us to select and award the competition winner.

(2) Winners will be announced on the 3rd February 2024

(3) The Jury will consider the photographs according to judging criteria comprising originality, narrative and ethical practice.

(4) During judging, and only with our express agreement, the Jury reserves the right to:

(i) move entries from one category to another where applicable and appropriate;

(ii) not award any entry within a category in the manner described in section 6(4) below; or

(iii) remove a category in its entirety.

(4) From those entries selected by the Jury from the Competition, the following awards will be given (“Awards”):

(1) Ocean Azores Photographer of the Year “overall winner”

(2) Above water.

(3) Underwater.

(4) Trash / Marine impact.

(5) Ocean Tourism.

(5) Only Category Winners will be considered by the Jury for Ocean Azores Photographer of the Year “overall winner” and the judges decision is final.

(6) We want to encourage and reward wildlife photography that inspires hope and positive action for the natural world. These entries will be specially promoted including via social media and through any of our print or commercial partners.

(8) If you are successful, you will be notified in strict confidence. It is a condition of entry, any Award and any prize that you do not disclose the details of any shortlisted or winning entries to any third party.

(9) The list of prizes is available on the website. They are non-transferable. We reserve the right, at our convenience, to substitute the whole or part of any listed prize.


(1) You agree that, if your entry is selected by the Jury you will participate in reasonable amounts of related publicity and agree to the use of your name and likeness for the purposes of advertising, promotion and publicity of the Competition.


(1) Any photograph you submit to the Competition must either be:

(i) your original photograph captured on camera; or

(ii) an original photograph captured on camera by a photographer but submitted by you on behalf of the photographer, in which case you must inform us of the name of the photographer, and on request by us must provide written confirmation from the photographer that you are entitled to act on their behalf and that they fully accept and are bound by these Rules themselves.

(2) You must either be the sole owner of the copyright of the photograph(s) submitted or have secured the written permission of the copyright owner or any joint owners of copyright to submit the entry(s) into the Competition. A copy of any such written permission must be supplied to us on confirmation to you that your photograph has been shortlisted for an Award.

(3) Ownership of the copyright in any entry submitted to the Competition will remain with the copyright owner(s).

(4) In consideration for the chance to win an award for a photograph you submit to the Competition, you hereby grant to us (The Foundation) the right to reproduce, publicise and exhibit that photograph in any medium (including but not limited to physical copies, electronic copies and on social media) to enable it to be judged for an Award by the Jury.

(5) Only with regards to any photograph you submit that wins an Award, in consideration for the Award and without need of further payment unless stated otherwise, you hereby grant us, The Foundation, and if necessary organiations acting on either of our behalves, the right during the Licence Period to:

(i) reproduce and exhibit the photograph in any of the Exhibitions in print or digital

(6) Other commercial opportunities may exist for you to benefit from the use of any entry selected by the Jury. Where such a commercial benefit is likely to arise, we will seek your permission in advance and provide you with an appropriate license. Examples include:

(i) Inclusion in merchandising associated with the Competition

(ii) third-party merchandise licensing.

(7) The Licence Period shall:

(i) commence on the date you are notified of your Award and continue for a period five (5) years; and

(8) You must ensure that:

(i) any photographs you submit have been taken with the consent of:

  1. anyone who is identifiable in that photograph; or
  2. the consent of their parent/guardian if they are under 16, and

(ii) those individuals have been advised:

  1. that the photograph may be submitted to the Competition; and
  2. that their photograph may be used in accordance with these Rules.

(9) You acknowledge that entry into the Competition does not grant any rights in relation to any names, logos or other intellectual property connected to or owned by us, The Foundation or the Competition. You agree not to make any public statement using such names, logos or other intellectual property without our prior written consent.

(10) We will remind the public that copyright to the photographs remains with the photographers and we will not directly encourage members of the public to post photos of photographs on their personal social media accounts. However, you acknowledge that neither we, nor partners or Licensees are realistically able to prevent this from happening. You waive any right you may have (if any) to bring a claim against us, The Foundation or our partners as a result of a failure to prevent members of the public from taking or sharing photos.

(11) The term “any medium” when used shall include but not be limited to any print, book, magazine, foundation stakeholders communication, digital media, applications or social media channels.

(12) We reserve the right without prior notice to disqualify an entry, or remove a photograph from any Competition or Exhibition, if in our sole discretion, but acting reasonably, we deem our display to be criminal or infringing any third party’s rights.


(1) Proof of electronic submission is not proof of receipt by us.

(2) We cannot be held responsible for emails that do not arrive due to your email security settings or restrictions placed by your Internet Service Provider.

(3) Non-awarded digital entries submitted into the competition will be stored for next year unless requested otherwise.

(4) Except where expressly stated elsewhere in the Rules and to the fullest extent permitted by law, we will not be liable for any loss or damage suffered by you in relation to the Competition, the use of your entry in accordance with these Rules or the use of any prize. This exclusion shall include but not be limited to liability for any loss of or damage to any entry, liability for the misuse of photographs; and/or failure of any third-party licensee to comply with the credit obligations in these Rules.


We shall not be in breach of these Rules nor liable for delay in performing, or failure to perform, any of its obligations under this Rules if such delay or failure result from events, circumstances or causes beyond its reasonable control. In such circumstances, we shall be entitled to a reasonable extension of the time for performing such obligations. If the period of delay or non-performance continues for 1 week, we may terminate the contract created by these Rules with you by giving you 14 days’ written notice.


These Rules and any other webpages or documents incorporated into them constitute the entire agreement between you and us and supersedes and extinguishes all previous agreements, promises, assurances, warranties, representations and understandings between them, whether written or oral, relating to its subject matter, including but not limited to any advertising or promotional materials. You agree that you shall have no remedies in respect of any statement, representation, assurance or warranty (whether made innocently or negligently) that is not set out in these Rules. 


Other than rights expressed as applying to us, or the Official Sponsor(s), the contract and license created by the entrant’s submission are governed by and interpreted in accordance with the laws of Portugal.