Macro photography requires the appropriate gear to capture macro images. A true macro is 1:1 reproduction and a true macro lens will provide that to you. However, there are some other options that will get you close, like purchasing a set of Kenko Extension Tubes and using them with an existing telephoto lens in your collection.
I prefer to use a true macro lens and I use the Canon 100mm Macro along with my Canon 40D. You will also need a solid tripod, cable release and set your camera to mirror lock-up. I prefer to shoot in natural light and in the outdoors. This requires a combination of overcast and preferably no wind. Gather your equipment, mount the camera to the tripod, attach your cable release and you are ready to shoot.
One important thing to remember when shooting macro is that you have a very shallow depth of field. If you remember that your digital sensor is a flat plane and that when aligning your subject to shoot, it is best to keep the elements you want in focus to be parallel to your sensor. This may require moving around your tripod and camera to get this aligned to capture the look you desire. Once you have your subject aligned, you will need to turn off auto focus and be very precise with your focus. It is at this point you need to make sure that there is no movement of your subject because even the slightest of breeze will blur your image because it is highly magnified. So often I position myself to block the wind or find a box or piece of cardboard to deflect any slight breeze.
Before clicking the shutter on the cable release, you may want to determine if you want a very shallow depth of field (f2.8 - f4.5) or maximize the depth of field to have more elements in focus (f22 - f32). These f-stops are for my Canon 100mm lens, your settings may very depending on the speed of your lens. If you are shooting with a digital slr, you can experiment with several different settings until you have the look you desire. It is important to play close attention to everything in the background because even one shiny leaf may be a huge distraction in a macro image. Hopefully these tips will help you fine-tune your macro skills and open up a whole new world to explore.
Click here to see my flower portfolio.