Many of our cameras are capable of capturing images well beyond the standard formats, or your personal favorites. Shooting straight off the camera also introduces large file sizes, long upload times, and long download times for people looking to view your images.

My Canon 7D for example shoots 5184x3456px images. Plenty of pixels to work with! You'll need to check your cameras for what your native resolution is, but what I'm currently working on is 4k images.

With new displays coming out supporting this high resolution, there's a need for content to fill that gap. There's plenty of 4k video, but what about a desktop background? Why should consumers settle for scaled background images when their displays are capable of showing much more?

A quick breakdown of 4k:

4k resolution is 4 times the resolution of 1080p. This can be difficult to understand, but think of it this way: 1080p is the equivalent of seeing 1920x1080 pixels. Shooting this as 1080p HD results in fantastically clear image quality, but what about 4k? Displaying 1080p content on a 4k display means that 4 pixels will be displaying what one pixel would on a 1080p display. On spec sheets you'll see that 4k is often listed as being 2160p, which is double 1080p. When looking at a 4k display, the best way to think of it is imagining a 2x2 grid of 1080 displays to make up the image.


So what does this mean, having a 2x2 grid? It means you're going to have to double your measurements. If you crop anything down for use as a native 1080p display, you're going to have to push things to go bigger, and that's why it's important for your camera to take a large enough raw image, so that you have room to crop things down. The 4k resolution works out to be 3840x2160 px.


The aspect ratio is the same as 1080p, just scaled up. When you work with images that are vectors, you don't really have to worry about pixels, you just scale the image up and re-export, but when working with a digital camera, you can't add pixels that aren't there. You can cheat by adding a border to make up for the lost space, but overall, you do need to make sure you're starting off with enough pixels to fill up the space the final product image is supposed to go.

And don't forget, portrait or landscape is okay for this! Don't leave all those cell phones out, they could use some new wallpaper images as well. For someone with an older 1080p display on their phone, these wallpapers will scale down with no distortion. For those of you with a 4k display on your phone, the image quality will finally be put to the test.


When you post your images, include the make/model of your camera, and what the native image resolution is for reference. My example: Canon 7D, 5184x3456px.


Let's see some examples of 4k photography!