I've never used anything but self-lit particles... I'm going through this talk here and there a lot of references to lighting the particles to fit the scene:
Also, later on they mention baking out the normals from their Houdini smoke sim.
I'm curious if there is a simpler place to start with particle lighting. For example, what is the easiest possible way to make the lighting of particles fit a scene? Everything I find is either self-lit or way too advanced. This isn't for a particular project, I'm just trying to learn. Specifically, I think I am missing the intuition behind how a particle has a normal.