For many hobbyists, smoke is an interesting and mystical subject for photography. Since smoke is not under our control and its shape, structure and patterns are fluid, therefore, it becomes challenging and yet a creative task to photograph smoke shapes.
FOR GOOD smoke photography from small burning objects, you require a darkroom and a background created by dark colour cloth in black, red, blue or brown.
A camera on tripod or resting against a firm support is a must. If you have a power controllable flash, then it is much better. Begin your photography with the smoke from incense sticks, dhoop and agarbatti, since they give out smoke that is safe and of reasonable texture.
Focus the camera on the edge of the incense stick. Illuminate the smoke from the side using a table lamp or a torch. Use a timer to eliminate the camera shakes.
A good amount of patience and a number of shots are required because of the fluidity of the smoke. Best thing is to experiment to get perfect angle, perfect lighting and perfect moment to get a fantastic shot.
The inset picture of the smoke was taken at night against a red curtain as a dark background, camera resting on a stool and smoke lighted from side with an LED torch.