I'm used to do a lot of plastic model photography and although I do have a fairly good camera, there are some tricks one can learn to do such kind of photography.
Basic photography evolves around two variables : Speed and aperture.
Sorry for the english, I'm not really used to the technical words of photography in english
First, light is quite important. the higher speed setting you use, the less light comes into the camera. (because the shutter opens and close very rapidly)
So in a fairly dark environment, you will need to use a low speed setting, so the camera remains open the longest time possible so the more light can get into your picture.Problem:
low speed camera settings makes a great risk of blur because the man behind the camera moves (or because of shutter movement)Solution
: Use a tripod and eventually the time counter to take the picture (the simple action of depressing the shutter button with your finger might blur the image in certain circonstances.
Personnaly, I dare descent to 1/30 without using a tripod, but anything below 1/30 needs a tripod. Still that minimum value depends on the photograph. Some are able to go much lower without tripod.
Secondly, the other aspect is aperture. It's the opening of the diaphragm.(sp)
The higher it's opened, the more light comes into the camera as well. But high
opening are given by a low
Fstop number. (4.5 - 5.6 - ... 20 - 22).. yeah that could have been simplier
The aperture gives the depth of field of the images and that is very important when you do Macro photography because you don't want to have the back of your subject blurred most of the time.
To have a large depth of field area (unblurred image), you need to use high Fstop. but high Fstop number means small diaphragm opening - thus not a lot of light entering the camera - to compensate, you need to use a low speed camera setting (to allow a max of light going in) -> use a tripod.
Here's an example:
On this photo, I wanted to have the background blurred to emphasize the throttle. So low Fstops number were used for the aperture. The depht of field is small and everything beyond the sharp zone= throttle) will be blurred. Had I wanted to have the left aux sharp, I should have used a higher Fstop number and decrease the speed setting as a consequence...
basically, the secret of macro photography is to use a tripod, long exposure time (low speed setting) and High Fstop number for the aperture (long depth of field)
Photography is always tricky because the photographer always needs to find the best compromise between Speed and aperture.
I'm still learning, so don't take the above for granted, that's just my own experince with photographing.