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Creating Your Own Nature Photography Wallpaper

Updated on September 25, 2010

Nothing is more serene and relaxing than nature and it does wonders for the soul too. Research actually shows that simply looking at a nature scene increases well-being, restores mental clarity and reduces stress. But there is no need to venture out into the wilderness every time you want a dose of serenity. Scenic photos can give you the same benefits. And bringing life sized nature pictures to your home is easier than ever - most of us own at least one digital camera, and many companies are offering custom made photo wallpaper. Here are some shooting tips and ideas that will help you get started

Metering Modes

Before you start snapping photos, don’t forget to set the metering mode in your camera to ensure that your images turn out the way you want them to. If you want to single out a particular object in the photo, set it in spot metering mode. Center-weighted average mode takes the whole scene into account, but puts more importance on what's in the center of the image. Matrix or evaluative metering mode considers the entire image and gives you the best exposure for the entire scene.


The smaller the aperture, the shorter the depth of field, so if you want everything sharp, use an aperture of 11 or higher, and if you want to single out a specific object and make the background blurry, use 5.6 or lower.

Be careful with too shallow depth of field for portraits though. My favorite portrait f-stop is 7.1 which results in the person being totally in focus and the background blurry. Anything lower than that can have disappointing consequences, like the nose in focus but the eyes out of focus (or the other way around). Not ideal unless you're going for a strange and surreal effect.

I used a 4.0 aperture for the he photo of the fern to the right here:

If you are using a snapshot camera, set it in scenic mode for allover sharp shots, in sports mode to freeze action, and I have found that the “food” setting on mine produces wonderful shallow depth of field photos (of everything, not just food).

Shutter Speed

To freeze movement, you want to use a fast shutter speed, at least 1/80 sec.On a snapshot camera, set the scene mode to sports.

For this photo that I took of a wave crashing underneath the Ocean Beach Pier (San Diego, CA), I used an f-stop of 14.0 and a shutter speed of 1/80 sec.

Slow shutter speeds can create gorgeous images too, like those images of flowing water that has that soft, dreamy look, color streaks from car head or breaklights, or the colorful blur of a moving Ferris wheel.

This picture I found on Wall Decor Source is a perfect example of how water turns out with a slow shutter speed:

Photo: Mr. Perswall
Photo: Mr. Perswall

Tripod or Not?

I shoot without one most of the time (I just don't have the patience to fiddle with it), but a tripod is a must for slow shutter or low light shots, and one of my favorites when I have to use one is the Gorillapod. I'm not fond of dragging heavy equipment around when shooting, but these are small, lightweight and flexible - you can attach them to almost everything - and they come in sizes both for SLRs and snapshot cameras.


Natural light is the best lighting source (unless you're taking night shots of things like lit buildings or that Ferris wheel we talked about above), and many are surprised to hear that shooting on an overcast day can produce wonderful results. Sunshine creates pretty harsh shadows (especially in the middle of the day), and if you're doing a portrait on a sunny day, make sure your subject is in the shade.

I love the moodiness of grey skies (or heavily filtered sunlight); I think it creates a really calm and soothing image. This image I took in the White Mountains of New Hampshire a few years ago would not have had the same feel if the sun had been out.

Subject matter

Be creative when it comes to image subjects. During autumn, classic shots are pictures of leaves changing color or falling from the trees, and in the spring, flowers in bloom, but a tree or a flower doesn’t necessarily have to be the focus of a nature shot. You can use pictures of your children playing at the beach or how about an early morning shot of horses grazing in a beautiful pasture with a faded sun shining through the fog?

Take pictures of someone doing a bungee jump for an exciting and thrilling shot (and perhaps use that wallpaper on a focal wall in your home office). Have a picnic in the park or in your own garden and take pictures of your family members hanging out.

Take pictures of your pets while they play in the park or go to the zoo and capture images of wild animals. When shooting animals, patience and taking tons of photos always pays off. I probably took around 40 normal and cute pictures of this panda before, just by luck, I managed to capture this goofy look which I love:

Remember, if you plan to use images of people, animals in zoos, or shots including private properties other than for your own personal use, you have to get a model or property release.

Note: Most zoos in the US will not let you use the photos for anything but personal use, but in Europe they're much more lenient. Always ask though, and even if they just wave their hand and say "fine", make sure to get something in writing.


Creating the Wallpaper

Once you have the image you want to use for your nature wallpaper, you have two options: you can either enlarge and print it out yourself - there are applications on the Internet that allows you to customize the size of the images and they can be printed in blocks so you just have to assemble them on the wall like a puzzle.

The easiest and most popular choice, however, is to send the file to a company who creates the wallpaper for you. Use photos from a camera with at least 6 megapixels, and check with the company which DPI they prefer - it varies a bit

No Camera? No Problem!

Those who don’t have a camera can still get nature pictures on their walls - there are many images already available from the companies who also offer custom work, or you can buy a stock image. There are millions to choose from, they can be surprisingly affordable and you know you’ll get top quality photos

Nature photography wallpaper can add so much to a room - the wonderful tranquility of a calm ocean scene, the excitement of a rushing river, the heartwarming cuteness of baby animals playing. The right image and light can even make the room seem larger and brighter, and sparse scenes like a single tree with bare branches surrounded by a snow-covered field is a perfect complement to minimalistic modern decor. And if you took the picture yourself, all the better. It will be like a huge installation of your work.


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    • Cattie C profile image

      Cattie C 7 years ago from Boston

      Thank you!

    • passthejelly profile image

      Mark Passarelli 7 years ago from Lakewood Colorado

      This wallpapers are absolutely beautiful. Thanks for sharing! :)