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Novice This category is represented by the underwater photographer who is learning the technical aspects of photography such as equipment care and maintenance, choice of the appropriate lens for use under various conditions, and technical skills such as lighting and composition. The Novice photographer ready to move to the Amateur category (has accumulated enough points) should be able to shoot a satisfactory macro shot and exhibit some degree of success shooting wide an- gle scenes. However, this individual is not likely to be able to consistently execute special effects such as silhouettes, shooting highly reflective fish, etc.
Amateur This category contains individuals who have mastered 'the basics and who are shooting more and more consistently. They know their equipment, are somewhat knowledgeable about different film types, and have begun experimenting with special effects such as ambient light, silhouettes, and back lighting. In addition, they have a wider variety of decent photo subjects in their portfolio - for example, macro fish and nudibranchs, wide angle fish, divers, and scenes, backlit subjects, silhouettes, and wrecks. In addition to the wider variety of subjects, the Amateur's compositional skills should reflect a more polished, thought-out approach then those of a Novice. As a member achieves more experience and skill in the Amateur category, his or her success rate as indicated by 'keepers per roll' should increase.
Advanced This category is best represented by those who can 'bring it all together' and do it consistently. The advanced portfolio would contain numerous slides exhibiting good composition, appropriate lighting, and the ability to shoot virtually any subject. The Advanced photographer should be able to explain not only what they did, but why they made the choices they did. They know not only when to take a shot, but also when not to. This photographer's portfolio would contain many professional, publishable images depicting high levels of both technical knowledge and artistic ability.