A UK photography enthusiast has beaten professionals to win an international competition hosted by the Royal Photographic Society (RPS).

Richard Merritt beat more than 2,200 entries worldwide to snap up the Gold Medal with his picture of a Scalloped Hammerhead Shark, photographed in waters off the coast of Costa Rica (pictured).

Open to enthusiasts, students and professionals the annual competition this year celebrates its 150th anniversary.

Judges included celebrity portrait photographer Terry O?Neill.

Richard?s winning shot will star in the RPS?s International Print Exhibition which is set to open at the Hoopers Gallery in London on 20 June.

Amateur photographers Wolfgang Schweden (Germany) and Judy Boyle (UK) also won honours. They were awarded a silver and bronze medal respectively.

The under-25s category ? introduced this year for the first time ? was won by 19-year-old Chris Charnock who was awarded an Olympus E-400 digital SLR.

The exhibition of 125 shortlisted prints will tour the UK until next April.

For details visit www.rps.org/exhibitions.php

Picture credit: Richard Merritt