Steel Wool Photography Complete Guide


Are you having an interest in knowing how to capture the long exposure of those hot embers flying through the air using steel wool photography? Stick to this post to get all the latest information and answers to your queries relevantly.

Steel wool photography review:

If you are a person who usually has a great interest in learning all aspects of photography to become a full-fledged photographer then you need to visit all the territories of it. one of the most exciting and amazing experience you can go for is steel wool photography that is considered quite interesting and fun and you can try and add extra dimensions on your photos as well or if you want to be creative then capture in the unique fashion you can.

Who doesn’t love an evening night just go and play with the fireworks and see what kind of picture you can create. Each image you will get is different and offers directions to your sparks and has plenty of work to do. But this isn’t your typical photo shoot where you need to go on a vacation or any road trip to catch photos.

This is a type of photography that works on long exposure and you need to safe and use your common sense. You are playing with fire and there are certain risks involved in it and you don’t want to burn yourself to get hurt or anything down. Luckily there are some safety tips and other ways that you can use to capture some cool looking images and you can post it on your social media as well to show your best skills.

What exactly is steel Wool photography?

Being as a photographer you should aware of all types of photography and this is one pretty special one. Steel wool photography is used for long exposures to capture the right motion of the hot embers flying through the air as the act of the spinning and burning steel wool. These are so hot that they glow quite too much brightly as they fly through the air and camera sensor captures its streaks which creates light.

If you have tried capturing a campfire then you will notice that those long streaks of light can cause the rise of embers. You are still creating an artificial effect of burn on the spinning steel wool.

Which types of equipment you need for steel wool long exposure?

According to expert photographers there are many things you first need to consider while taking a risky shot. Whether you are a pro or an amateur you need to choose your equipment wisely and think smart enough to lower the risk. Here some list of equipments you can choose according to your situation because nothing can stop a passionate photographer getting his dream picture.

1) Lens and camera:

Like other lightweight photography, you don’t need to spend a lot of money to get an expensive camera or any lens for steel wool. All you need is an ordinary camera that can set the manual mode and a lens of your choosing that can help you give wide angle and make the picture appear even close. You can use fisheye lens and creative to combine it with a light painting barrel distortion of getting a quick and awesome result.

2) A steady shutter cable and a tripod:

If you are familiar with the use of long exposure photography technique then you already know that for steel wool photography you need a steady tripod that enables the camera to remain balance and steady while exposing to the surface. This can limit any chance of getting a blurry and lower image. You will also need a shutter cable to help prevent the camera from shaking. You can set a self-timer that would suffice greatly.

3) A perfect Dark location:

In order to get a full steel wool spinning photograph, you will need the dark location to allow you an excellent long exposure time to get this shot.

4) Steel wool:

There are many type of steel wool are out there with different grades. If you are looking for something like that then I highly recommend using 0 grade steel wool for this kind of photography. You can purchase it at any local hardware shop.

5) Stainless steel whisk:

Never to use a silicone one, you will need a cage of the whisk to hold steel wool and you can use a hook at the top handle to tie it with a string. Just try to pack the wool loosely in the whisk and allow the oxygen to flow and accelerate all the way to burn.

Note: only to lit when steel wool reaches a high temperature.

6) A lighter:

How you can possibly lit the steel wool fire without a lighter. Just use this at a first glance and left the rest to it.

7) Camera setup:

First, you need to set up the camera on the tripod to compose the picture. You can use a small torch to visualize where the steel wool might be spinning. You can see the camera to a priority mode with manual focus and set it ISO to 110 apertures to F9 to F12 and then meter the actual scene. A whisk of a steel wool will only bur for around 12 seconds, and you at least need 6 seconds of exposure of time to capture that beautiful spinning motion.

How many types of steel wool spinning techniques can you use?

It totally depends on your experience and which direction you want to go. There 4 types of steel wool long exposure technique you can go for including,

  • Vertical spinning
  • Simple spinning
  • Horizontal spinning
  • Spin while you walk

Using these above tips and equipment you can capture breathtaking images of Steel wool photography without any frustration and complicated camera issues. It may take a while but ultimately you will be left with some top class pictures with our own efforts.

I’m hobbyist  Photographer I believe that  “In photography, there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality”.

Sohail Afzal Productions

Get free Latest Photography Guides

Enter your email address to get free latest photography guides

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Written by


I'm hobbyist  Photographer I believe that  "In photography, there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality".