You can take really good close up photos, even with simple digital cameras

 

Just about all digital cameras - even small ones - do a great job of taking pictures at really close distances. By pressing the icon that looks like a flower, you can set the lens so that it automatically focuses at distance as close as a couple of inches. (That icon is usually on the back of the camera).

The yellow arrow is pointing to the icon. When you press it, your camera's display will give you several focusing choices

That means you can take a photo of a flower, or a coin, or your parent's old snapshots and have it fill the frame.

 

The back of the camera has to be parallel to whatever you're photographing, or you won't be able to get everything sharply focused at the same time. Note how I've tilted the tripod at the corner of a table. That way I can get the camera over the center of the photograph and still have it parallel to the photo. If the back of the camera isn't truly parallel to what you're photographing, you'll get keystoning (stuff farther away looks smaller than what's close). You'll also find that one segment will be in sharp focus, but everything either nearer or farther will be somewhat fuzzy.

 

Don't use the flash - it won't work properly at these close distances. Hold the camera steady - I strongly suggest using a tripod.

And don't forget to turn the camera back to its normal focusing distance when you're done!
We go into some detail about this in our Digital 201 class.