It’s easy to see how outdoor photographers get those great wildlife pictures — that huge lens hanging off the end of the camera is a sure giveaway. But in the summer, when brightly colored flowers beg to be photographed, the key to a getting a good shot is a little less obvious. You need a macro lens to get those photos, and while it may look like many other kinds of lenses on the outside, a macro lens is significantly different.

Many lenses are advertised as macro because they are designed to focus at a very short distance, but a true macro lens will be labeled with a ratio — look for a 1:2 ratio (shooting objects half real-life size) or, better yet, a 1:1 ratio (life-size). A 1:1 ratio will allow you to capture fine detail in those flowers and produce stunning prints.

JEFF MORAVEC