Capturing the close-up is the essence of macro photography. It highlights textures the human eye cannot see and shows the beauty hidden in the detail. You don't need to travel far to practise macro. Everyday objects take on a new perspective when viewed from close range, so your garden or a local park can be the perfect testing ground.
Many lenses are capable of focusing close up, but only a true macro lens offers a magnification of at least 1:1, or life-size. This means that when the camera is positioned at the closest focusing distance, the image formed on the sensor will be the same size as the subject.
This type of lens has a very short minimum focus distance, which means you can get close in order to capture frame-filling pictures of tiny subjects. For instance, the Canon EF-S 35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM lens can focus down to 3cm. This lens also features a clever built-in LED Macro Lite to compensate for the shadow created on your subject by having the camera this close. If you have an EOS M series camera such as the Canon EOS M50 or the Canon EOS M6 Mark II, the Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM lens has the same Macro Lite feature.
If you want to get a taste of macro photography before buying a dedicated lens, there are some accessories that can increase the magnification of a standard lens. For instance, if you fit a Canon Extension Tube EF 25 II or a Canon Extension Tube EF 12 II to the rear of a compatible lens, you'll be able to focus closer than normal. You can achieve a similar effect by attaching a Canon 250D 58mm Close-Up Lens or Canon 500D 77mm Close-Up Lens to the front filter thread of a lens instead.
Whichever route you choose for your macro photography, the effects of camera shake will be equally magnified when working close to a subject, so keeping your kit steady with a tripod or similar support can help you achieve sharper results.
Many EOS cameras have a dedicated Close-up mode, but for more creative control you should set your camera to Aperture priority (Av) or Manual (M). Both of these shooting modes allow you to choose the aperture, which has a significant impact on the look and feel of a macro photograph as well as the exposure.
Aperture priority is the easiest mode to start with, as the camera will automatically set a shutter speed to produce a balanced exposure with the aperture you've selected. When you're ready to take complete control over your settings, switch the camera to Manual.
The Canon EOS 77D is an excellent choice for macro photography. The camera's 24.2MP CMOS sensor is capable of recording an incredible level of detail, and its vari-angle touchscreen makes it easy to take pictures from unusual angles, such as a 'worm's-eye view' shot close to the ground.
To make the most of the detail-enhancing power of a macro lens and high-resolution CMOS sensor, it's important to make sure the camera doesn't move during the exposure. Even small vibrations can have an impact on picture quality, so consider using the self-timer to take your images when the camera is fixed on a tripod. The Canon EF-S 35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM lens has Image Stabilization, which is great when shooting on the move but when fixing to a tripod, remember to turn Image Stabilization off as the internal mechanism that is designed to counteract movement can have the opposite effect when no movement is detected. (Some lenses have a 'tripod-detection' feature, but not all, so it's safest to turn IS off manually, especially for long exposures.)
To further reduce mechanical vibrations, you can activate the camera's Mirror lockup feature via the main menu, or set the camera to Live View so that the mirror is automatically locked in position. You can even take advantage of the Canon EOS 77D's Wi-Fi connection to control the camera remotely via the Canon Camera Connect app installed on your smartphone or tablet.