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How To: Create Desktop Wallpapers

I’ve been creating desktop wallpapers with my photos for years. Ever since I got my first digital camera, I quickly began to upload the digital photo files, tinker with them in post-production, and save them as background images. I’ve learned important techniques like formatting for new versions of Windows and Mac OS, as well as creating a gallery of cohesive images. As my photography skills have grown, I’ve learned that this simple product is also a great way to attract engagement and build new business.  Additionally, it’s a simple and free way to add beauty and personality to your workspace.

Sample of Rowan Sims Wallpaper Photography

Wallpapers aren’t just a great way to pretty up your own desktop. They can be a great way to share your work with your audience and even find new fans. I give away monthly desktop wallpapers to anyone who wants them. It’s been a great way to get new eyeballs on my photography, and my existing audience loves getting something new from me. Who doesn’t love free stuff? I just include the free download within an email option so they’re added to my newsletter. Win-win!


Creating Wallpapers in Lightroom

Adobe Lightroom makes creating wallpapers super simple:

  • Choose your image in the Library Module.
  • Click “Export…” at the bottom of the left panel.
  • In the export window, you’ll need to make a couple of decisions about your wallpaper.
  • How big do you want to export the file? I recommend setting the long edge to a minimum of 1920 pixels. This will look great on most desktops, but if you want it to look good on large retina-display screens, I would go up to 2560. I wouldn’t bother specifying the short edge. The image will fill the screen no matter what aspect ratio it uses.
  • To watermark or not to watermark? This is a personal preference. Although I don’t usually watermark my web images, I do put one on my wallpapers. This is because I want anyone who uses it to see my signature logo every time they see my photograph on their screen. I give wallpapers away to build my brand, so why let people forget who took the photo?

The remainder of the export settings are pretty straightforward as you can see in the screenshot below. You can also create an export preset by clicking “Add” on the left under the presets panel. This will make it easier next time you want to export another wallpaper.


Customizing Cellphone Screen Wallpaper

Don’t forget that most people customize the wallpapers on their phones and mobile devices, so you can create vertical and responsive wallpapers as well. It’s simple to do this in Lightroom.

  • Right-click on the photo and select “Create Virtual Copy”.
  • Click on the virtual copy and open the crop tool (cmd/ctrl + R) in the Develop module.
  • Click on the Aspect drop-down menu and select 16:9.
  • Grab the Crop Frame Tool and drag a vertical crop over the image, moving it around until you are happy with the composition, then press enter.
  • Export the virtual copy following the same steps above.


As you build up a nice little collection of images you’ll find your audience will come to look forward to them and share them around for you. This is a great way to give something away that costs you nothing but can win you a ton of fans. Generosity can do wonders for your business!

About the Author: Rowan Sims


My name’s Rowan, and I’m a landscape and travel photographer. Whether in my stunning home country of New Zealand, or some other faraway land, you’ll never find me far from adventure and usually with camera in hand. This website combines a passion for travel, photography, and teaching.



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