You have multiple options when it comes to getting closer in your images. Here is a brief run down of the ways to it, with visual references for how close you can get. (All images shot from the closest focusing point. Canon products were used for these examples.)

Items you can use:
* a macro lens (for close up)
* a long zoom lens for far away shots (not macro)
* an extension tube
* a lens converter
* a close-up lens or filter

A non-macro image shot with a 50 F1.8 II lens, with the close-pin for size reference

An extension tube (Canon EF12) is added on to the 50 F1.8 lens

Shot with a 100 F2.8 Macro EF lens
Using a little trick to achieve a closer shot without a macro lens or extension tube:
The 50 F1.8 lens was mounted to the camera, and then a second lens (85 F1.8 EF) was held up by hand (in between the camera/50 lens and the objects), and then focused and shot through).

Typically for macro shots, a macro specific lens is your best bet. If you're looking for a cheaper option, the next best thing is an extension tube. An extension tube is hollow (contains no glass), and moves your lens away from the camera's sensor (or film) allowing you to focus closer.

A lens converter or teleconverter contains glass elements and increases the entire focusing range. These are better for distance as opposed to macro.

A close-up lens, close-up filter, or macro filter are all basically a simple secondary lens. They contain piece(s) of glass and screw into the filter threads on the front of you camera lens. They enable macro photography by allowing your lens to focus more closely. These work similar to a pair of reading glasses.