Vote Charlie!

Starting with DigiKam

Posted at age 30.

I’m starting to figure out my photography workflow on Arch Linux. Previously I used Adobe Lightroom for organization but still did almost all editing in Photoshop. I never quite figured out an editing workflow I was happy with in Lightroom. But now I get to circumvent that step and figure it out on Linux. :-)

I wish I had more time over the past six months to document, but with the new job, it has been tough. I have been making an effort to get everything scripted at least in my dotfiles. So, this will be briefer and have less background than I’d like.

Replacing Photoshop and Lightroom was the main hangup preventing my switching to Linux at least a year ago. Initial research suggested Darktable could do everything I did with Lightroom, but I would lose some edits and maybe albums and other metadata. Now that I am on Linux, it seems I might be using DigiKam for everything I did in Lightroom. Before I opened Digikam, I did some edits using GIMP. It was a bit clunky since I have not configured anything, but I was able to find the curves tool, which is all I use mostly. Now I see Digikam does editing as well. I have yet to figure out where Darktable might fit in my flow.

I’m also less worried about falling behind technologically than I was before after reading a blog post written six years ago that mentioned some features DigiKam had before Lightroom: “fuzzy search, face detection, and integrated maps for geo-coded photos”

Random notes

I initially used the built in SQLite database, but just switched to local MySQL using MariaDB. I read in the docs this was better for large collections above 10 or 100K photos. I have more than 100K (can’t check now since database is migrating).

The interface has been a bit clunky, mostly due to unresponsiveness and my not being sure if it is doing something. This is especially true on the photo import window when I am trying to read and copy from a camera. Some of that might be due to my using i3 Window Manager — sometimes there are rough edges with that. It has helped to execute digikam from a terminal so I can see more detail. Patience usually works, too.

I used to upload photos to Facebook using “smart collections” in Lightroom. I would mark photos as “picks”, which I can do in DigiKam, and then have albums automatically created for the picks for each month excluding anything with an “@fb” tag. I did similar for Google Photos/Picasa. I am not sure yet how I will do this in DigiKam, but would be willing to do something more manual. I would at least avoid disappearing albums on Facebook then, a problem that seems to have happened with DigiKam as well. I tried to use the plugin for uploading to Facebook but got an error connecting, and the documentation is a bit incomplete, reading only: “TODO”. The bug report I filed last night already seems to have a solution slated for the 6.0.0 release.