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Complete Tutorial to Create a Steel Wool Photography from Beginning

Steel wool is used for professional glass and porcelain cleaning. As for steel wool photography, you can use long exposure to capture the spinning burning steel wool. The motion of flying hot embers will be captured. You can see a stunning picture created with the streaks of light.

However, it is extremely dangerous to make steel wool photography. The burning and spinning steel wool will cause fire damage and hurt people. Some people even think steel wool photography is illegal. So you need to practice steel wool photography in a safe and secluded place. Moreover, you should also use protections to keep you, other people and environment safe and sound.

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Part 1: What You Need to Prepare for Steel Wool Photography

Just as above mentioned, it is important to avoid dangerous caused by taking steel wool photos. Thus, you need to prepare not only the steel wool photography materials, but also some safeguards against improper operations.

For Safety:

1. Cover yourself with a long sleeve jacket, hat, goggle and other protections.

2. A pair of protective gloves is required.

3. Make sure there are no flammable materials around, like wooden buildings, trees, vehicles, etc.

4. A wet weather and location would be great.

5. A fire extinguisher is required.

6. Keep people and animals away from a safe distance.

For Steel Wool Photography:

1. Twilight or dark environment.

2. A camera that you can capture photos in manual mode.

3. A tripod that can keep your camera steady while shooting steel wool burning photography.

4. Steel wool ranges from 0000 to 4.

5. A mental or stainless whisk with a loop attached to a rope at the end. (No silicon)

6. A cheap dog leash or some sort of rope or chain, which can be attached to the whisk.

7. A lighter to light the steel wool.

8. Black clothes. People wearing black can be concealed in the steel wool photography easily.

Steel Wool Photography


Part 2: How to Do Steel Wool Photography

How to get the best steel wool photography? You can follow the tutorial below to turn your ideas into awesome steel wool effect photography.

Step 1: Set up your camera on the tripod. You need to compose the image first. Well, using a small torch to visualize the possible spinning area would be a good idea.

Step 2: Attach the end of the whisk to the rope or chain. Then insert steel wool into the head of the whisk.

Step 3: Use a lighter to light a part of the wool. Hold the rope or chain and spin the steel wool in a circle to make steel wool fireworks.

Step 4: You can see the sparks flying from the end of steel wool. The whole process will last for about 10 seconds.

Step 5: Set the camera to aperture priority mode and manual focus. Adjust ISO as 100. The low ISO can retain the color. Then set aperture to f8 or f10. Don’t forget to meter the scene.

Step 6: When someone starts spinning steel wool, you need to press the Shutter button to capture the steel wool burning and spinning photography. You can use a long exposure to capture the spinning motion.


Part 3: Retouch Your Steel Wool Photography to Make It Special

If you have no expensive camera or pricey lens, you can still analog film effect and film grain with ease. WidsMob Retoucher is a powerful photo editor that has dozens of revolutionary camera profiles. You can apply classic film analog effects to the steel wool photography. Meanwhile, you can adjust saturation, contrast, brightness, temperature, tint, luminance, chrominance, sharpness and other parameters. Moreover, you can retouch steel wool photography portrait with skin smoothing and skin whitening. It is a budget choice to retouch the pictures of steel wool and other creative arts.

1. Apply color positive film, color negative film, black and white film and special color modes to your steel wool photography pictures.

2. Analog film grains, add vignetting, apply fish eye view and other interesting photo effects.

3. Eliminate image noise and fix blurry photos.

4. Do skin smoothing and skin whitening to beautify your steel wool wedding photography, as well as other portrait photos.

5. Preserve the high quality RAW files of your digital steel wool photos.

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Step 1: Free download, install and launch WidsMob Retoucher. Drag and drop your pictures of steel wool photography into the main interface.

Add Steel Wool Photos Retoucher

Step 2: Choose one picture and click the “Next” option. You will be in the photo editing interface. Click the “Film Pack” icon on the lower right corner. You can access legendary analog films here.

Film Pack Retoucher

Step 3: Specify the options of “Color Rendition Profile”, “Color Modes” and “Film Grain”. You can click “B/A” below to get the before and after comparison. Well, you can adjust the slider besides to zoom in or out the steel wool photography.

Analog Film Effects Retoucher

Step 4: In the other sections, you can give your digital photo emotion with different parameters. Click “Share” to share your picture to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and other social media platforms. You can also click “Save” to export the steel wool photography as JPEG or TIFF format.

Export Your Photo Retoucher


Tips and Tricks about Creative Steel Wool Photography

There are some spinning techniques and special tools for making special steel wool photography. You can get inspired from the following ideas.

1. Spin steel wool vertically to get a fire circle with sparks flying in all directions.

2. Spin steel wool horizontally to make the sparks flying towards the camera.

3. Spin while walking to get vortex-like steel wool photography. The dark background will be great.

4. Someone can hold an umbrella or stand in front of the sparks. You can light off camera to compose a standing man at night photo or other themes.


It is fun to add something new into your steel wool photography. You can go play with fire at night or evening to see what kind of new steel wool photography you can create. Using WidsMob Retoucher can give your photo unique feel. You can also get interesting photo editing features within the program. Just be careful while burning and spinning steel wool.

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Peter Wood
Peter Wood
Peter Wood, a senior editor, focus on photography design and editing software and devices.

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