YAMBA man and Able Seaman Jesse Rhynard was awarded the Rosemary Rodwell Navy Photographic Award ahead of 80 other contestants.
Mr Rhynard's photo was of clearance divers conducting exercise Mulgogger in Jervis Bay, which was testing Underwater Navigation Integrated Sonar Units.
He said the UNIS was a device that helped with underwater navigation, object identification and helped landing parties avoid mines.
Mr Rhynard said he joined the Navy in 2009 and became an image specialist in 2012.
"There is a pretty big variance in what we do," Mr Rhynard said
"Day to day we do official portraits, public relations stuff and local news stories.
"Yesterday I went on a helicopter to take aerial shots of Canberra."
Mr Rhynard said he received the award at a surprise ceremony and his fiance Caitlin and son Asher were brought down to the base.
"I was shocked because there are some high quality photographers in our branch," he said.
The Rosemary Rodwell Navy Photographic Award is named after distinguished image specialist Petty Officer Rosemary Rodwell who died in a car accident in 1987 and is about a photographer's pursuit of excellence.