SoCal Shootout 2016

The 2016 SoCal Shootout will take place September 9-11th, 2016.

Registration will open August 1st.

Check out all the winning photos for the 2015 SoCal Shootout!

Register | Sponsors & Prizes | Shootout Rules | Judges | Previous Winners

Join all of Southern California's underwater photographers in a weekend-long photography extravaganza. Dive anywhere in Southern California and submit your photos from the weekend for a chance to win some amazing prizes!

Get out on a boat and dive!

Bluweater Photo's SoCal Shootout Boat Trips Include:

  • Bluewater's 2-day Santa Barbara & Anacapa/Santa Cruz on the Peace - SIGN UP HERE.
  • Bluewater's Sunday Diving at the Oil Rigs on the Pacific Star - SIGN UP HERE
  • Sunday Channel Island Wrecks on the Truth, through CIDA - MORE INFO
  • Saturday Diving at the Oil Rigs on the Asante, through CIDA - MORE INFO
  • More boat opportunities will be posted later, don't forget about beach diving too!

Buy online, or Call (310) 633-5052 or email to purchase your ticket!

Photo & Video Categories

  • Wide-Angle open
  • Macro open
  • Behavior open
  • Portrait open
  • Mirrorless Wide-Angle *NEW*
  • Mirrorless Macro *NEW*
  • Compact Wide-Angle
  • Compact Macro
  • Video - unedited
  • Video - edited

Mirrorless camera shooters must enter in the 1st five categories, not any compact camera categories.

Fantastic Prizes - 2015 Sponsors

Please check out the great prizes offered by our sponsors. 

SoCal Shootout Platinum Sponsors

Aquatica is a Canadian manufacturer of fine quality aluminum housings for underwater photography. Their camera housings are available for selected  digital cameras and are part of a comprehensive system which includes a large selection of wide angle and macro ports, and accessories. Aquatica has become the housing choice of the discerning underwater photographer today.

Aquatica is sponsoring winners choice of a Panasonic GH4 or Olympus OM-D E-M1 Underwater Housing with a Mini Dome.

Experience the Sea of Cortez and Socorro Islands (aka the Revillagigedos Archipielago) and explore fantastic areas while diving with giant mantra rays, sharks, large yellow fin tuna and wahoo, dolphins, whale sharks and humpback whales. All this from the comfort of the Rocio Del Mar.

Rocio del Mar is sponsoring one Sea of Cortez trip spot!


Aiyanar Beach & Dive Resort is the epitome of a stylish resort that strives to make staying ashore as pleasurable as diving itself. Strategically situated on the mountainside, Aiyanar presents you with a grand panoramic view of the sunset against the ocean's vast expanse.

Aiyanar is sponsoring a Free 7 Day / 6 Night stay with 3 Dives per day for 1 person.

Sea & SeaSea & Sea is one of the best known names in underwater imaging equipment, offering high-quality DSLR housings, strobes and much more. 

Sea & Sea is sponsoring several different strobes, including a new YS-D2!

Bluewater Travel is a new full service dive travel agency. Run by divers for divers, their expert advisors will help you plan and book your personalized dive vacation. The Bluewater travel team has decades of dive travel experience and many excellent partners for dive travel around the world.

Bluewater Travel is sponsoring the contest with travel vouchers valid around the globe.

SoCal Shootout Gold Sponsors


The Cortez Club is La Paz’s premier diving and watersports center. Established since 1993 it offers a 5 star level of service, quality and professionalism to all its clients. The La Concha Beach Resort is an authentic beach Resort that offers business travelers, families and vacationers a peaceful and mellow atmosphere right in front of the Sea of Cortez.

The Cortez Club and it's partner hotel, La Concha are sponsoring a 4 night package for two at La Concha including 3 days of diving through the Cortez Club.

Located only 10 minutes away from downtown La Paz, La Concha Beach Resort is an authentic beach Resort that offers business travelers, families and vacationers a peaceful and mellow atmosphere right in front of the Sea of Cortez. Along with ample and nice facilities, our Hotel in La Paz, Mexico, features first-class services that ensure our guests the most pleasant stay - See more at:
Located only 10 minutes away from downtown La Paz, La Concha Beach Resort is an authentic beach Resort that offers business travelers, families and vacationers a peaceful and mellow atmosphere right in front of the Sea of Cortez. Along with ample and nice facilities, our Hotel in La Paz, Mexico, features first-class services that ensure our guests the most pleasant stay - See more at:

The Maluku Divers Resort in Laha is one of the must visit locations in any diver’s Indonesian dive list. The only dedicated dive resort in Ambon, the facility was built specifically with divers in mind and boasts the most unique and comfortable accommodations in the whole of Maluku.

Maluku Divers Resort is sponsoring a 4-night package that includes 12 dives.


iTorch produces innovative dive, video and focus lights. With a wide range of lights featuring white, red and even UV beams, I-Torch lights are a favorite of many underwater photographers and videographers.

iTorch is sponsoring on of their brand new Venom 50 high powered video lights with remote controller.

Channel Islands Dive Adventures


Channel Islands Dive Adventures (CIDA) organizes and plans scuba charters on various dive boats with 4 main goals in mind. Those 4 goals are to offer trips to specific unique dive destinations, to promote diver safety, to offer reasonable priced trips and above all to have fun with other like minded divers

CIDA is sponsoring 5 local boat trip prizes including a free 2 day trip!

Bluewater PhotoBluewater Photo is the premier online and retail shop for underwater photography gear as well as international photo trips. Offering years of experience and expert advice on cameras, housings, strobes and accessories, Bluewater Photo is known for excellent customer service during and after sale. 

Bluewater Photo is sponsoring some great prizes for underwater photographers!

SoCal Shootout Silver Sponsors


Ikelite has a long history of making strobes, dive lights, underwater housings for DSLR and compact cameras and much more for photographers worldwide since 1962. They're famous for their commitment to excellent customer service.

Ikelite is sponsoring a Vega Video Light!


Light & Motion is one of the industry leaders for underwater dive and video lights. The popular Sola line has long been the go to light for underwater photography and the new GoBe line brings in a flexibility never before seen in underwater lighting.

Light & Motion is sponsoring a Sola Photo 800 light, the perfect underwater focus light for photography.

Fix Neo manufactures innovate underwater video and focus lights, leading the industry with high tech functionality and useful features. With these innovative features Neo lights are continuing to gain in popularity with underwater photographers and videographers.

Fix Neo is sponsoring a Neo Mini 1000 WR focus light featuring an auto shut off mode.

UltralightUltralight is the leading maker of arms, trays and clamps for the underwater photography community - making only high quality products built to last.

Ultralight is sponsoring two $100 gift certificates!

The Truth Aquatics liveaboard fleet, moored in beautiful Santa Barbara, California, caters to divers or ocean enthusiasts seeking a stress-free getaway. From those with an interest in lobster diving, underwater cinematography, or hiking, guests aboard Truth Aquatics are wonderfully diverse.

Truth Aquatics is sponsoring a free local boat trip!

The Peace Dive Boat offers diving excursions in the Channel Islands for scuba divers and freedivers. The Peace accomodates photographers well and even has a charging station. The Peace is hosting Bluewater Photo's 2-day trip during the Shootout.

The Peace is sponsoring 2 x boat passes.

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2015 Shootout Judges

Mark Strickland

Mark Strickland’s connection with the sea includes 10,000+ dives and careers as ocean lifeguard, captain, dive instructor and cruise director of several live-aboards. An accomplished underwater photographer and passionate conservationist, his editorial credits include numerous books, periodicals like BBC Wildlife, Geo, National Geographic World, Nature's Best, Natural History, Outside and most major dive magazines. His images have also been featured at the Smithsonian Institute, United Nations Visitor Center, and galleries including G2 in Venice, CA. Mark serves in various roles at Bluewater Photo, and leads international trips each year. For a sampling of Mark’s work, visit  Recent projects include collaborations with photographer Chris Huss on several photo exhibits including Ocean Visions, currently displayed in Encino, CA.


Scott Gietler

Scott is the founder of Bluewater Photo, Bluewater Travel and the Underwater Photography Guide, and one of the world's leading experts in underwater photography education and camera / lens reviews.

An avid marine naturalist, Scott is the author of the Field Guide to Southern California Marine Life. He was the LAUPS photographer of the year for 2009, and his photos have appeared in magazines, coffee table & marine life books, museums, galleries and aquariums throughout California. He is a regular contributor to Scuba Diving and Sport diving magazines, and he teaches underwater photography locally on a frequent basis on local trips and international workshops.


Andy Sallmon

Andrew Sallmon is a freelance commercial underwater photographer specializing in images for diving publications, marine wildlife, natural history books, and corporate advertising.

Thousands of his images have been published to date, some gracing the walls of notables such as the Smithsonian Institute and the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Besides his work as a photographer, Andy stays busy topside as a sales representative for Sea and Sea, Light & Motion and Beneath the Surface Products. He is also the U.S. Navy’s underwater photography instructor for their Combat Camera units, Fleet Pacific and Atlantic and for the newly formed U.S. Coast Guard dive team. Visit his website at


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SoCal Shootout Rules

This is a virtual competition, but submissions must be taken during the contest weekend in the ocean anywhere south of Point Conception, CA and north of the Mexico border - including the Channel Islands.  Diving by boat or beach is allowed, although we encourage you to get a seat on your local boat.

Registration will be open throughout the contest. We will be sending an official email to all registered participants on Wednesday September 16, 2015 with instructions on setting camera date to a point in the future. Changing the camera's date will allow us to verify that photos have been taken during the Shootout timeframe. Photographers who register in the hours after the official email is sent out will receive the information as soon as we can process their registration, but this may be several hours. Please register by Sept 1st to make sure you get the right t-shirt and all Shootout information!

All photo and video entries will be due by 11:59pm on Monday, September 21th, 2015.

  • We pledge to run this contest ethical and with integrity.  Judges will not know whose photos or videos they are judging.
  • You retain copyright to your photos, and winning photos will only be used by us when promoting this and future SoCal Shootout Competitions.
  • Please use our upload (ftp) form to submit your photo and video files in the appropriate formats, and for each entry chose one of our 10 categories.
  • Photo Format & Editing:  Submit entries in JPEG format, at least 2500 pixels at the longest length.   Only global changes are allowed as editing.  This includes exposure, white balance, saturation, contrast and clarity.  No cropping, backscatter removal, cloning, or any local adjustments are allowed.  RAW files will be required from all winners to verify date and editing rules.
  • Unedited Video Format & Editing:  Format must be .mp4, .mov, .m4v or wmv.  Each video must be a maximum of :60s in length and can be comprised of no more than a single clips with no transitions, titles, music, etc.  Color level and start/end point adjustment is ok.  Original formats will be required from all winners to verify date and editing rules that aren't carried over while reformatting.
  • Edited Video Format & Editing:   Format must be .mp4, .mov, .m4v or wmv.  Each video must be a maximum of 120 seconds in length, any music used must be copyright free.
  • Photos & Video must be taken underwater. Split shots ok.
  • All photos & video must have been taken on September 18th, 19th or 20th, 2015 with camera metadata set using the appropriate "secret date" that will be sent to all registrants.
  • Photos must be taken in the ocean south of Point Conception and north of the Mexican border or will be automatically disqualified.
  • Photos or video taken as a result of harassment to marine life that could be harmful to the subject may be disqualified at the judges' discretion. Fish in photos must be alive.
  • We encourage safe diving and cannot predict diving conditions in Southern California at the time of the contest.  Please use your dive training and common sense to dive safely and avoid injury.  Bluewater Photo is exempt from all liability whatsoever for any personal injury, property damage or wrongful death of divers registered for the contest.
  • A maximum of 8 photos or 3 videos may be submitted for judging per person. You can mix and match photo and video, each video entry is equivalent to 3 photos. So, for example, you can enter 5 photos and 1 video, or 2 videos and 2 photos.
  • A single photo may be entered in multiple categories, however it can only win once. If selected for a place by judges whichever is the higher placing score will be the final pick.

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View the 2014 Winners:

View the 2013 Winners:

View the 2012 Winners

View the 2011 Winners

Getting excited to shoot? We hope so.

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