Macro is the perfect photographic activity for the autumn and winter months as it can be done indoors as well as out when the days are shorter and weather is less predictable.
Anemone, © Ueli Grossenbacher, Canon EOS 50D
If you are starting off you can use the standard zoom lens that typically comes with EOS cameras before possibly upgrading to a dedicated macro lens. Use the telephoto to zoom in to maximum magnification and set the Mode Dial on your EOS to the Close-up setting. This adjusts the exposure settings and Picture Style. Learn more about these settings. One thing you will notice is that moving closer to your subject will magnify movement caused by camera shake. The best way to overcome this is put your EOS on a tripod. Now you are ready to begin.
Harmony in the water, © Roberto Tacchetto, Canon EOS-1D Mark III
Depth-of-Field and focussing
Focussing on subjects close to the lens makes Depth-of-Field (the in-focus area in front of and behind the point you actually focus on) much narrower. Whatever aperture is set your background will tend to be out of focus but using a smaller (higher f/ number) aperture will allow more of your subject to be acceptably sharp.
For the greatest control and accuracy, switch your lens to manual focus. You will see that small movements are magnified along with the subject. Making gentle adjustments to the focus ring will produce large differences in the area of focus. Using the magnified Live View will produce the most accurate focus control.
It is very important to get the right light for macro photos. If you are working indoors then using the natural light from a window is a good start. Avoid direct sunlight (cloudy light is good) and use a piece of white card to reflect light back onto the subject to minimise any shadows. Moving the card in and out or adjusting the angle can make a big difference.
Ideally your light source will illuminate all the areas of your subject to bring out detail and colour. The Canon Macro Ring Lite and Macro Twin lite flashes are additional lighting systems that will produce the very best even light for macro photography.
Cut tomato, © Katherine Watson, Canon EOS 7D
Composition and background
Close-up or Macro photography is about detail so it pays to spend time making sure your subject's setting is right in relation to its background. The background is likely to be out of focus but colour, brightness and general shapes can still distract attention away from your subject.
So now you understand the basics, the following page will help you take the next step.