Here in my town in Naples, Florida, I teach a beginning photography class every Monday. I split the class up into 6 different photography subjects (wildlife, action, portraits, etc) so each class has one theme. This week’s class was macro photography. I am always a bit apprehensive about teaching the macro photography class because I know many of the students will get horribly frustrated.
The frustration for most beginning photographers in shooting macro is that they cannot get close enough to the subject. Every lens has a close focus distance, which prevents photographers from focusing when the subject is nearer than the limit. This usually leads to the people in the class getting frustrated and eventually quitting on me half way through the class.
It doesn’t have to be this way, and you don’t have to buy any expensive gear to take stunning macro shots. All you need, is your cell phone or your regular old point-and-shoot. Most cell phones or point-and-shoots will allow macro shots from as little as one INCH (two centimeters?) away from the camera.
Obviously, there are lots of expensive pieces of gear that can be purchased to focus close-up with a DSLR, such as a diopter, an extension tube, or a dedicated macro lens; however, if you only take macro shots every once in a while, your cell phone or point-and-shoot is a fantastic alternative.
Note that your point-and-shoot probably has a macro mode (icon looks like a flower), which will help the camera to be able to focus much closer than normal.
Just to show you what is possible, I took the photo featured on this page with my Droid Incredible cell phone.