What is this all about?

This is a tiny site aiming to fill a tiny niche: people who want to fill their big, beautiful iMac Retina Display with great-looking images at just the right size. Most high-resolution images from stock photo sites cost a lot of money, but these don’t.

Can’t I just take my own photos instead?

Yes! Of course. If you have a decent camera and know how to use it, take your own photos. However, if you only have an iPhone or a point-and-shoot camera, you probably can’t take photos big enough to fill the screen. Any 18MP+ DSLR with a decent lens should be good enough.

Are these images retouched?

Yes. These images have been processed fairly heavily to bring out their best. Lots of pretty vignettes, blurs, control over light and shade, that kind of thing. They have also been cropped to fit the resolution of the Retina iMac (5120×2880) exactly.

How do I set an image as the desktop picture?

Copy these images to wherever you want to store them, though your Pictures folder is a good place. To set an image as your desktop background image, locate it with the Finder, then right-click or Control-click on it and choose Services > Set Desktop Picture.

If you want to cycle through a selection of images, choose Apple Menu > System Preferences, then click on Desktop and Screen Saver. Press the “+” button at the bottom of the left side of the window, then locate the folder of images you want to cycle through. At the bottom of the window, check “Change picture”, choose the time interval you want to use, and check “Random order” to mix them up.

Is a desktop picture the same thing as a screen saver?

No. A screen saver is the animation that takes over the screen when your computer has been idle for a while. They aren’t common these days because computers tend to save power by simply turning displays off instead. Desktop pictures, also known as wallpaper or desktop background images, are the static images that sit behind your desktop icons.


As with stock photography, there are some limits on what you can do with the photos. While they’re really intended for personal desktop use, if you’re a designer you might want to use them in some of your own work. To clarify, there are two kinds of licenses you can purchase:

  • Personal, which allows you to use purchased images in layouts for non-commercial purposes.
  • Commercial, which allows you to use purchased images in layouts you’re being paid to produce. Neither license allows you to resell the images, nor to sell prints or objects which show the images.

Some examples:

  • Printing one of these images out as a poster print is OK if it’s for your personal use, but not OK if you plan to sell it. (If you’re a print shop and want a license to reproduce any of our images, please contact us.)
  • Using images in a layout for a paying client is not OK with just a personal license.
  • Using images in a layout for a paying client is OK if you buy a commercial license and the products consist of substantially more than just the image itself.
  • Using images in a publication that you’re giving away for free is OK with a personal license.
  • Using images in a publication for sale is OK if you buy a commercial license.
  • Mashing up these images in compositions is totally fine. Please give credit to pic5k.com.
  • Making copies of the images for backup purposes is totally fine.
  • Giving your friends and family copies of these images is not OK. They aren’t expensive, so please ask them to buy their own copies, or buy an extra license for them.

Who made these?

The site is run by Iain Anderson, a designer, Apple Certified Trainer, video editor, animator and photo editor, among other things. He takes all the photos, corrects colour, applies effects, builds the website and everything else. He sometimes writes FAQ entries in the third person.

I have another question?

Contact Iain at iain@pic5K.com.

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