I am using Adobe Lightroom to edit all my photos that I take with my Canon 70D. I shoot in RAW to preserve the detail of an image and have lately been wanting to "optimize" a lot of my photos for desktop wallpaper use.

Of course I can outright just set the photo as my wallpaper and it'll look fine. But there is something different about default wallpapers, for example, specifically the default wallpapers on Mac computers that gives it a much more pleasing look.

I'm really unsure if there is specific terminology for this, and I have tried to do as much research as possible on this topic, but I couldn't find much on the optimization of images for desktop wallpapers past cropping practices.

The best way I can describe it is that you can tell if a desktop wallpaper on somebody's computer is just a photo they took (even if it is a great photo overall) vs. one that someone may have downloaded from the internet, specifically posted as a wallpaper.

My question is, what are the general practices/ideologies in mind when optimizing your photo for desktop wallpaper use? What settings are primarily being changed and as a result producing that differentiating effect?

Thank you in advance for any ideas/help that can be given on this.

  • \$\begingroup\$ For best appearance, resize the image to the screen resolution before setting it as wallpaper. Experiment with file types to find what looks best to you: JPG, BMP etc. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 17, 2016 at 3:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ An example of your photos would be great. \$\endgroup\$
    – Rafael
    Mar 17, 2016 at 18:39

1 Answer 1


The great difference here is the vibrance, lighting and composition of the photo. In a desktop background you don't want a specific focus but the whole photo has to shine and that has to do with the photo themselves.

I'm not sure if this apply but HDR looks better in a lot of cases.


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