My name is Julian Holz, I’m 20 years old and I live in Heidenheim, Germany. You can find me on Instagram at @jholz.photography. About two years ago, one of my buddies asked me if I want to come along to take some pictures with him. So I agreed and the pictures we took where light painting pictures. This immediately sparked my love and passion for lightpainting and about 6 months later I bought my own camera, a Canon 750D equipped with the 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 Kit-lens.

My favorite genre in lightpainting is definitely Steel Wool Photography. It’s so surreal and amazing to watch. In the following article I would like to introduce the art of taking photos with burning Steelwool.


I use a normal whisk that you can find in every kitchen. I attached a rope to it and that’s pretty much all you need, besides the steelwool of course.If possible buy the finest steel wool you can find. To light the steelwool I always use a lighter but you could also use any kind of device that produces sparks or flames.

Even a battery would work if you hold the steelwool against the positive and negative sides simultaneously. Some optional equipment that I use are safety glasses, an old jacket and some gloves to protect my hands. You should always bring some water in case of a fire!


Location is the key. If you have trouble finding good spots you can visit my Instagram page and look at what spots I use in my steelwool photos.

If you found a spot you can now place your camera. For the settings on my camera I normally use an aperture of about 7.1 and an ISO of 100. The shutter speed is set to BULB mode which means I control when the picture starts and when it stops. I recommend to buy a UV-Filter for your lens, because if a spark hits your lens you only have to buy a new UV-Filter instead of a new lens. These UV-Filters cost about 8€ so I would definitely invest it if your planning on trying steelwoolphotography yourself. I either focus on the person spinning the steel wool or on the ground right in front of the camera.

Now I’m going to explain to you how to capture the perfect steelwool photo. You should always have a partner with you because if you light the steelwool your partner can cover the lens to eliminate unwanted light trails from your lighter or your whisk when you start spinning. If you do it right your partner uncovers the lens in the exact moment when your whisk has reached its wanted circular path.

When your steelwool has stops burning you can stop the shot and carefully bring the whisk to a stop. If you did it correctly you should end up with a sick steelwool picture.

If you want more info, or if you have questions you can DM me on Instagram: @jholz.photography. If I was able to inspire you to go out and try it for yourself, I would really appreciate it if you could tag me in your shot. Then I can give you some tips and we can have a little chat in the comments.

Have a great day.