I have spent a few years using Linux(Ubuntu) as my “daily driver”. I have had very few issues with it and it has run as flawless as any Windows or Mac machines. My use of it is both for normal daily tasks as well as programming and handling of my photography workflow. Since I spent a bit of time figuring out how to best handle everything from transferring images from camera to laptop over managing and editing of said images I thought my experience it might be helpful to someone else.

Importing images

Historically I have been used to images being imported into directories named by date of capture. So in order to stay with this I had to find a way to import pictures from SD-card to a directory and create folders based on date of capture.

For this part of the workflow I ended up going with Rapid Photo Downloader which can do exactly this. You can decide on date-format and then it is as simple as importing. One thing I have noticed is that the program can be a little resource intensive just idling in the background, so I only open, import and then close it back down. But apart from that it does exactly what I want.

Photo management

Before I moved my entire photo-flow to Ubuntu I had never really paid much attention to photo-management in terms of tagging etc. I have used Adobe Lightroom and Capture One in the past and only used their built-in photo-management features. But I somehow picked up on someone recommending digiKam as a good photo-management solution. And after having used it for a few years I have to agree. I have never had my images been as organized as they are on my Ubuntu-machine. Previously all the organizing was based on date of capture, but I had no real way to easily find images based on events or otherwise. But since I started using digiKam I also built up a workable hierarchy of tags to help me find images easily.

Finally I can easily right-click on selected images and select “Open with…” to open the images in my chosen photo editor.


For the photo editing part I have used Darktable which does take some getting used to, but over time can work almost as well as Lightroom or Capture One. I tried RawTherapee but one of the things that kept me away was that it could only open one image at the time. So if I wanted to open 10 images in the editor, then it opened 10 instances of RawTherapee. Darktable on the other hand has a “Lightroom” part which probably could take over digiKam entirely, but for some reason I have an easier time handling the tagging and searching for images in digiKam and then only using Darktable for editing.

As I am a Fujifilm shooter I can add a few comments about handling of Fuji raw-files in Darktable. First of all there is not much to it. It actually works quite well. the only real caveat I have run into is the fact that if you plan to edit your files in Darktable, then it is advisable to stick to shooting with the DR100 setting on your Fujifilm camera as the DR200 and DR400 messes up the exposure when editing with Darktable. If you stick with DR100, then there are no issues with the RAW-files. There are even people who have created LUT-files for Darktable that enables you to mirror the look coming out of the jpeg-processor in camera.

All-in-all I can say that I have a fully functional photography-flow on Linux/Ubuntu which in some ways is superior to anything I have had before. I would however lie if I said that I don’t dream of a brand new MacBook Pro with state of the art editor sometimes. Depending on which type of photographer you are, there may be limitations in terms of editing on Linux/Ubuntu but in my experience it is possible to get very far and have it be a free and enjoyable experience.