August 2020 Photo Contest Winner and Review



WINNER: Smile! by Cedric Peneau

When judging any underwater photography competition, the first thing I do is ask of each image: Is it in focus? The main subject has to be pin sharp. Is it exposed correctly?

I then look at lighting (photography is all about light) and composition. Backscatter, hot spots of light, messy backgrounds: all might see your image lose out.

Then there are other considerations that might get you knocked out of the first round: Was the image taken underwater? After all it is an underwater photography competition! Were any animals distressed or harassed to get the image? Was any environmental damage done to get the shot?

Once I have whittled out the images that do not pass these criteria, it is time to get down to picking a winner. A shot that makes me go wow – I wish I had taken that!

A bumper month of images this month and once again the quality was superb. Here is what I thought of a selection of this month’s images…

Watching Fish by Kristijan Maurovic. Even the most common species can offer great photo moments. I love the grumpy look on this snapper.

Sweet Dream by Wayan Jhon. The amphipod, sat on the purple with a black background creates a really well put together macro image. I may have tried to manoeuvre the camera a bit lower and put the critter against the black.

King of the Hill by Alex Permiakov. I really love the lighting in this black background nudibranch portrait. The colours are amazing and the small depth of field works well on this kind of shot.

The Ship Whisperer by Jonathan Seeyave. I have seen several versions of this shot (though not on this particular wreck) and I love the way that the whole image is given perspective. The water clarity and the deep blue background really help too.

Seaweed Blenny by Magali Marquez. Blennies make such great images, they are so photogenic. Snoots work really well on these shots, even though it can be difficult to line-up the light on the subject. This is expertly done and creates a great result.

Caribbean Manta Eye by Magali Marquez. Despite the really small dof, I like this shot. Whilst much of the eye is not in focus, I am drawn to the eyes. The black background accentuates the effect too.

Pygmy Seahorse by Juho  Karhu. Trying to get a really good pygmy seahorse shot can be difficult, but this image has the subject actually framed in the coral and looking directly at the camera. Lovely.

Hairy Shrimp by Juho Karhu. Orange, black and white help make this image pop-out from the screen. The focussing is excellent and the eye is pin-sharp and I do like the pattern around the eye.

Chromodoris loci by Francesco Russo. This is a great example of how a common subject can give you a great image. The colours of the nudibranch are wonderful against the flat grey background. It demonstrates that ‘species shots’ can be stunning, well done.

Odontaspis ferox by Claude Lespagne. I love sharks and the Raggie is a special one. They are usually difficult to get, head-on, like this one, but the depth of field helps the ‘smile’ to stand out.

Caribbean sheep by Melodie Caussat. This is a lovely image. It has so many components with a diagonal, the complementary colours and a black background. Beautifully done.

Under good surveillance by Miguel Ramirez. Parent and multiple offspring. Nicely captured.

Isolation by Christina Fernandez Gonzalez. Love the angle, the black background and the detail (especially in the rhinophores). The colours help too. This is beautifully executed.

A bottle of Octopus by Iris van der Zwan. I have never seen an octopus change to this bright purple and I am jealous. I love the concept of this image too, as they are notoriously difficult to get a good image of.

Sargassum by Marc Eeckhaut. I always look for these froggies whenever I am in their territory. I like the angle you have used too.

Trying to fit in by Naomi Rose. This is such an unusual shot that I had to include it on the shortlist. It is almost a shame that we cannot see what is going on but I like it the way it is too.

Smile! by Cedric Peneau. This image will catch the eye of anyone. It is clever and well executed.

Reflections by Cedric Peneau. It is the reflections that really catch the eye on this beautiful shot of two of the ocean’s most majestic creatures. The calm surface really does help to show-off this image

After much deliberation by our judge….

The results

Winner: Smile! by Cedric Peneau

Runner-up: Trying to fit in by Naomi Rose

3rd Place: Reflections by Cedric Peneau

Congratulations to those who were placed – there were a number of excellent images, and well done to all those that entered.’s September 2020 Underwater Photo Contest is now open! Enter as many as three of your underwater photos here.

Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown

Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown

Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown are a husband and wife team of underwater photographers. Both have degrees in environmental biology from Manchester University, with Caroline also having a masters in animal behaviour. Nick is a fellow of the Royal Photographic Society in underwater wildlife photography and he also has a masters in teaching. They are passionate about marine conservation and hope that their images can inspire people to look after the world's seas and oceans. Their Manchester-based company, Frogfish Photography, offers a wide range of services and advice. They offer tuition with their own tailor made course - the Complete Underwater Photography Award. The modules of the course have been written to complement the corresponding chapters in Nick's own book: Underwater Photography Art and Techniques. They also offer equipment sales and underwater photography trips in the UK and abroad. For more information visit

scroll to top