If you would like to do some macro photography but don’t want to pay big bucks for a digital SLR, there are inexpensive digital cameras that will do a pretty good job. You just have to check on the features they have to be sure they’ll work for close-ups. Here are some things to look for:

Got Macro?

First, does the camera have a macro mode? Most digital cameras do these days, even the cheaper ones. On most cameras it’s a preset selection that is symbolized by a flower. This is most common, but not universal, so if you don’t see it, check the literature if you’re looking to buy. If you already own a camera, look in the manual.

Generally speaking, the macro mode works by telling the camera to set a large aperture — in other words, it is making the hole bigger that allows the light to come into the camera. That helps bring the subject into sharper focus, while the background is blurred.

If you would like more control over the macro mode, some cameras will allow you to change aperture settings yourself when the camera is in macro mode. Be aware this is not the same as the setting that says “aperature priority” on your camera. The camera is in “regular” mode then, but allowing you to choose the aperature setting. There has to be a way to choose BOTH macro and aperature settings if that interests you.

To do it the easy way, however, just set the camera to macro and let it go at that. That will usually give you a pretty decent close-up picture. Just pay attention to what you see through the lens and move the camera until the picture looks the way you want it.

Another way to get more control is to buy a camera that allows manual focusing. That way you can fiddle around with the focus so you can choose exactly which part of the subject is in sharp focus.

Time It!

Most cameras have a self timer these days, but it’s worth checking to see if your camera does, or the camera you’re looking to buy has it. What has a self timer got to do with macro photography? Well, it’s easy to blur close-up pictures with the slightest camera shake. If you set your camera down, or better, put it on a little tripod, then you can set the self timer and let go of the camera. That gives the camera time to become perfectly still before the picture is taken.

Want To Attach Something?

If you want something between point-and-shoot and a digital SLR, there are some compact cameras that have accessoreis for macro photography. Some have a thread to allow for screw-on lens for instance. If you plan to do a lot of macro photography, that might be worth considering. You won’t spend as much as you would for the SLR’s, but still be able to do more than the more inexpensive digital cameras.

As for a brand, just about every camera manufacturer makes a decent compact camera that does macro photography. If you have a favorite brand look at what they have to offer. However, it does seem that the Nikon Coolpix cameras are frequently recommended as delivering some of the best macro pictures without the use of attachments so if you do NOT have a favorite brand, by all means check out the Nikon Coolpix to see if you like them.

There is bound to be one of the inexpensive digital cameras out there that will suit your needs. Find one and start snapping those close-ups!