...I may lack. But it's not for a lack of trying.
Obviously, I'm far from the master yet. But for my first,
attempts at artistic smoke photography, I'm not *entirely* unhappy. Sure, there's lots of room for improvement. But for shooting in my studio (some might call it "my bathroom with a thin piece of black fabric taped to the wall") and using my Sigma flash as an off-camera slave, instead of real studio lights, and relying on the bathroom vent fan to pull the acrid smoke out of the confined workspace, I think they came out OK.
Improvements for next time: beg/borrow/steal (maybe buy) a heavier piece of fabric to use as a backdrop. And make sure it's flat-flat black. Not this semi-gloss thing I have now. The flash kinda reflected off of it, making it look gray. Secondly, burn a bunch of incense sticks at a time (sorry honey). Burning a single stick just doesn't create the volume of smoke necessary for good photos.
I'm sure there's more to consider, but that's all I got for the moment. I'm out.