"In The Studio: Al Schmitt’s Microphone Approach," a recent article in Pro Sound News in which the veteran engineer and producer (whose credits include George Benson, Al Jarreau, Quincy Jones, Steely Dan, and many others) expounds on mic selection and techniques.
Schmitt's tips are useful, though, only if you already know the basics of how different types of microphones work, but fortunately, there are a number of readily available sources for that information.
Beginners might start with "Microphone Basics," a slideshow-as-PDF put together by the manufacturer Electro-Voice, which includes illustrations and offers a good quick overview of the subject.
Also worth a look: The mic manufacturer Shure has a useful section on their website covering pretty much the same topics in greater depth, plus some additional material about specific applications; and Recording magazine's "A Basic Mic Primer" offers an engineer's perspective not tied to particular company's product.
Those who prefer video to text (or wish to supplement the above) also may want to check out Shure's recently issued four-part series "Understanding Mic Specifications," which is embedded as a playlist below:
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