Only global changes* are allowed. This category includes members shooting an SLR camera system, with one year or less of underwater photography experience, or shooting with a point and shoot (PAS) camera. At the end of the year the first place winner/s or any member attaining 18 points shall advance to Advanced. PAS camera users who have advanced to the Advanced category and have entered images for at least 6 months, but have not accrued more than 6 points, may choose to return to the Amateur category the following year.
Only global changes* are allowed. This category includes members having at least one year experience in underwater photography or who no longer qualify for the Amateur category. PAS camera shooters may choose, or be required, to be in this category. At the end of the first year, the first place winner/s or any member attaining at least 18 points (board confirmed) shall advance to the Open category. Members who have advanced to the Open category and have entered images for at least 6 months but have not accrued more than 6 points, may choose to return to the Advanced category the following year.
Digital manipulation is allowed except for composite imaging (adding to an image). This category includes members who are considered professional or advanced underwater photographers by the OCUPS board or any member wishing to manipulate their images beyond basic global changes*. Open category members who have entered images for at least 6 months but have not accrued more than 6 points may choose to return to the Advanced category the following year.
*Definition of Global Modification:
Changes that affect the entire images, such as cropping, saturation, white balance, levels, sharpening, and contrast. Prohibited modifications would include the use of layers or other tools that are applied to a specific area i.e. brushes, healing, cloning, etc. Contestants may enter images for only one still category in a given year. However, the video category is separate and may be entered independent of the still category. Member eligibility for a category will be determined at the first of the year of when joining the club. Members may choose to move up a category, but not down, during the year, forfeiting all previous points accumulated.
Photographers taking photos with both PAS and SLR cameras will be classified as an SLR photographer. PAS photographers are not restricted to the Amateur category.
The OCUPS board may review eligibility qualifications and request a member to change their category.