How to create wire wool photos

What you'll learn

  1. What wire wool spinning is

  2. How to safely take wire wool photos

  3. What to consider in your Wire Wool scene

Wire wool, or Steel wool is a great tool for long exposure photography and with some care, you can create some awesome effects. We sought advice from Triggertrap user Jessica Miller who has become an expert in wire wool spinning. Here’s how she creates her awesome photos.

What you’ll need

  • A camera

  • A sturdy tripod

  • A cable release - TTM app + cable

  • Wire/Steel Wool - plenty. 000 grade, or super fine

  • 2 lighters

  • A cheap balloon whisk

  • A metal dog leash, shoe laces, or rope

  • Jessica also recommends:

    • some gloves

    • a torch or led light that you can keep on you


Steel wool is a really neat material, usually used in decorating. However it has some really interesting properties in the way that it burns. Once ignited and then spun round, wire wool burns vigorously and sparks fly. The sparks tend to fly outwards, so it’s surprisingly safe for the person doing the spinning!
By using a long exposure - at least five seconds - you can create incredible photos similar to light orbs but with streaks of sparks flying in every direction. These photos are best taken at last light (possibly with an ND filter) or at night, and in non flammable, people free locations.

Setting up

Show me the final set up

The finished setup

You should now have star trail mode setup and connected to your camera, and your spinning tool ready to go.

Capturing the photos