SoCal Shootout 2018

SEPTEMBER 14 - 16, 2018

View this years winners!

 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!
There are more platinum sponsors this year than ever before, and they are still coming in! With a grand total of $24,000 in prizes last year, we are expecting to surpass this total for 2018.


Signup for the SoCal Shootout Here

Get out on a boat and dive!

Bluweater Photo's SoCal Shootout Boat Trips Include:

  • Friday & Saturday - 2-day Santa Barbara Island or San Clemente on the Pacific Star 
    • 2 full days of diving (board the boat thursday night)
    • Airfills, meals and snacks included, nitrox available
    • $329 for up to 9 dives (4 each day plus an optional night dive)
  • Sunday - Diving at the Oil Rigs on the Pacific Star 
    • $135 for 3 dives on the oil rigs - one of the most unique SoCal dive sites
    • Airfills and food included

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

Boat options from our sponsors:

  • Truth Dive Boat, 2-day trip San Miguel & Santa Rosa Islands, Sept 15 - 16. Details and registration 
    • $375 for 8 dives + 1 night dive
  • Cee Ray Dive Boat, Catalina, Sept 15th. Details and registration 
    • $140 for 3-4 dives
  • Cee Ray Dive Boat, Farnsworth, Sept 16th. Charter with Scuba Steve's Dive Adventures (661)234-3483.
    • $159 (limited load of 24 pax), 3-4 dives

Photo & Video Categories

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

DSLR Shooters must enter in the first four categories, Mirrorless camera shooters can enter in the 1st six categories, compact shooters can enter in the first four, and the final two categories.Useful resources: Best Compact Underwater Cameras, Best Mirrorless Underwater Cameras, Best dSLR Underwater Cameras, Diving Southern California

Signup for the Shootout Here

Please check out the great prizes offered by our sponsors. 

SoCal Shootout Platinum Sponsors


Explore the wonders of the Sea of Cortez and Socorro Islands on the Quino el Guardian, the newest boat from the owners of the Rocio del Mar. Designed with exploration and scientific study in mind, this boat offers a unique experiences exploring the underwater world.



Aquatica is a Canadian manufacturer of fine quality aluminum housings for underwater photography. Their camera housings are available for select 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.



Kraken Sports manufactures high end video lights and underwater photo accessories. Look for the kraken, when only the best will do! The Kraken video lights are full featured, top of the line construction with high end LEDs. They also offer quality smart phone housings and accessories.




Volivoli Beach Resort is is the ultimate diving paradise in Fiji for beginners and advanced divers alike, located in one of Fiji's best diving destinations with over 50 superb dive sites no more than 20 minutes boat ride away.From the lush tropical gardens to the high end quality accommodation, the resort has evolved into what is one of the best boutique family run resorts in Fiji 


Clearly Cayman Beach Resorts offers 3 resorts covering the breathtaking Cayman Islands. Each offering a divers perfect paradise, featuring spectacular resorts with phenominal diving. The Caymans offer a bit for everyone, combining warm/clear water, good macro, and large animals like sharks, rays, and turtles.


Bluewater Travel is a 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.



El Galleon Dive Resort and its dive centre, Asia Divers, are renowned for their serene and quaint beachfront surroundings fronting Small Lalaguna Beach in Puerto Galera. Puerto Galera is one of the leading scuba diving locations in the Philippines, offering some of the best diving in Asia and is located in “The Verde Island Passage Marine Corridor” (VIP) which is known as “the center of the center of marine biodiversity” in the heart of the Coral Triangle. They have the only dive centre in Puerto Galera with a private pier and diving platform. 


Think Tank Photo designs camera carrying solutions for working professionals. Their products are born from the collaborative efforts of professional photographers and product designers, working together with a common goal — to create the most inventive and effective solutions for all photographic 



SoCal Shootout Gold Sponsors

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:

Atmosphere Resorts & Spa offers excellent diving, personalized service, and luxury accommodations to ensure relaxing and unforgettable dive vacations in Dumaguete, Philippines. One of the most luxurious resorts in the Philippines, ensuring whether you want to scuba dive, indulge in an enchanted spa,  practice yoga, engage in activities or simply read a book by the pools, you can look forward to an unforgettable stay.


Sea & Sea



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



Aiyanar Beach & Dive Resorts in Anilao, Philippines is the epitome of a stylish resort that strives to make staying ashore as plearable as the diving itself. Strategically situated on the mountainside, Aiyanar presents you with a grand panaoramic view of the sunset against the ocean's vast expanse.situations.


Bluewater Photo



Bluewater 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. 


SoCal Shootout Silver Sponsors


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.


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.





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.




Truth Aquatics Liveaboard Fleet have all been custom designed, specifically for scuba diving. Offering 3 different boats with varying itineriaries, you can cover a large chunk of the Channel Islands National Park and Marine Sanctuary.





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





The CeeRay dive boat has been operating in California for over 40 years. With their expert knowledge and experienced crew, you'll dive the best sites around SoCal in comfort.




Olympus is a well known camera and lens manufacturer responsible for many of the most popular underwater cameras avaialble today. Quality optics, small size and great lens options set them apart from other camera manufacturers.



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Signup for the Shootout Here

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

Renee Capozzola

Renee Capozzola is an international award-winning underwater photographer who specializes in wide-angle and over-under images. Her work is an intriguing combination of artistic talent honed through oil painting during her youth and a professional background in biology.  As a Southern California native, the ocean has always been a large part of her life. Since she started scuba diving in 2004, she has been to some of the most remote parts of the world and developed a true appreciation for marine organisms with her diversified travels. Renee believes that striking images help increase awareness of our fragile marine ecosystems and encourage others to help protect our oceans.
To that end, her images have won numerous prestigious accolades, including first place in the 2018 Big Picture: Natural World Photography Competition, first place in the 2018 Asia Pacific UW Photo Challenge, first place in the 2017 Ocean Geographic Pictures of the Year, and the Best In Show award at 2017 Beneath The Sea. In 2017, Renee was also selected for the International Photography Awards 2017 curated Best of Show Exhibition and was a member of the USA National Team that won the 2016 World Shootout. Her work has appeared throughout the world in leading print and online dive publications. When she is not in the water with her camera, Renee teaches biology and educates her students about the challenges facing our oceans and the importance of conserving marine ecosystems.
See more of Renee’s photography at or on Instagram @rcapozzola.

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.


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 until Thursday Sept 13th at 5PM. We will be sending an official email to all registered participants on Thursday afternoon, September 13th, 2018 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 before Sept 12th 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 17th, 2017.

  • 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 clip 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. Starting above water and moving below water in one uncut shot is also OK.
  • Only for the edited video can topside shots be included and the total finished video must include no more than 10% topside footage total. (this would include a clip that started or ended topside, any time out of the water would be counted towards the 10%). unedited videos must still be one continuous shot primarily underwater (split or starting / ending above water is fine, but the majority of the shot needs to be underwater). 
  • All photos & video must have been taken on September 14th, 15th or 16th, 2018 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. No feeding the marinelife.
  • 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.
  • One registration per person. You can not enter multiple times to submit additional images.

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Signup for the Shootout Here

See the 2017 SoCal Shootout Results!

SoCal Shootout Winners

Congratulations to Ralph Pace, 2016 "Best in Show" 

View the 2016 Winners:

View the 2015 Winners:

View the 2014 Winners:

View the 2013 Winners:

View the 2012 Winners

View the 2011 Winners

Getting excited to shoot? We hope so.

Signup for the Shootout Here

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2 full da

Renee Capozolla

Renee Capozzola is an award-winning photographer who has traveled across the globe, diving in some of the most remote parts of the world since 2004. The list of awards she has won includes first place in the 2018 Asia Pacific UW Photo Challenge, first place in the 2018 Big Picture: Natural World Photography Competition, first place winner in the 2017 Ocean Geographic Pictures of the Year, and the Best-In-Show prize at the 2017 Beneath the Sea.
See more of Renee’s photography at

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