Like the rest of the For Dummies books, this one assumes that you have little or no background in the topic that you're reading about. Unlike some of the other Dummies books, the author Thomas Clark restrains from cracking stupid jokes every other paragraph. How refreshing! His writing style is direct, but friendly, without being condescending.
The book's first two chapters cover the basics of and the differences between macro and close-up photography. Here it got a little confusing: first Clark says the differences don't really matter, then he says that they do. You may have to read that twice to get what he's saying; it has to do with the ratio of your image size on your camera's sensor to the actual size of the subject. Once you understand this, you're ready to move on. Next, chapter 3 gets into composition and learning how to see creatively -- no photo book is complete without that. That completes Part I of the book.
Part II has four chapters that cover your photography tools: camera, lenses, reversing rings, extension tubes, and more. Clark gives you tips on shooting macro for both digital SLR cameras and for digital compact cameras that have macro capability. Part III covers lighting, composition, and exposure. Both natural light and artificial light sources are covered, and Clark gets more detailed about composition and how to select your exposures.
Part IV has six chapters on photographic subjects that you're likely to encounter with macro: nature, such as insects and plants; people and pets; product photos and still life; jewelry and other shiny stuff; and extreme macro. There's a chapter on post-production, which is what you do to your digital images once you get them onto your computer. Here I have a big bone to pick. The chapter attempts to cover too much ground and makes too many assumptions: first, the author (and editors) expects you to be working in Photoshop, and secondly, instructions are given only for Mac keyboard shortcuts (chapter 17, page 270). Not everyone works with Photoshop and most certainly not everyone is using a Mac. The editors should have caught this and I'm marking the book down one star because of it.
The book is very well illustrated with a variety of subjects: a shell, a needle and thread, colorful beetles, jewelry, and even a rotini pasta noodle! The photos are clear, crisp, and interesting, and the author tries to prompt your creativity by giving you ideas for photo stories. I recommend the book, but do try to read chapter 17 as an overview and not as a step-by-step instruction guide for every digital imaging program on every computer platform. That's for a few other books.