Do you enjoy those photographs of little ladybugs and individual rain drops? If the tiny world we often do not see fascinates you, macro photography may be your heart's desire. While point-and-shoot cameras allow for macro mode, nothing competes with owning a macro lens for your digital SLR. You might assume that a macro lens falls under the zoom lenses category, but actually no. A true macro lens is actually a prime lens with a fixed focal length. However, there are macro zoom lenses available, used a lot for outdoor photography, but they offer lower quality images and will not have as high a magnification ratio.
Macro lenses are usually found in focal lengths of 50mm, 100mm, and 180mm. Higher focal lengths are more expensive, larger, and heavier. With a short focal length you will need to get much closer to the subject as opposed to a 180mm lens. Long focal lengths will further put the background out of focus, isolating the subject –which is really what you want.
When you're ready to shoot, set the camera to macro mode. In most cases you'll want to set a large aperture to create a smaller depth of field so the camera is more focused on the subject. Keep your subject fully in focus and make use of an external flash to draw more attention to the subject. Also the flash will allow you to keep your ISO low so you do not lose image quality.