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Photography workflow on openSUSE

by Martin de Boer

I am a hobbyist photographer. Which means my needs for a digital photography workflow are modest. However, open source definitely makes my life as an amateur photographer easier. For many people, it starts with getting their first (digital) camera and just exporting their photos to their computer. And maybe they like to do some basic photo edits such as cropping and/or resizing. There are 2 open source programs that prove to be very helpful for beginners:

  1. Rapid Photo Downloader (fast download of photos to your computer)
  2. Gwenview (for photo viewing and simple edits)

After a while, the more aspiring photographers will like to do a bit more with their photo’s. Maybe have a program where you can manage your photo library. And some programs where you can do some more advanced photo edits. These aspiring photographers most likely still use the .jpg format. For these photographers I would recommend the workflow:

  1. Rapid Photo Downloader
  2. digiKam (for advanced photo management)
  3. Hugin (for stitching photo’s into panorama’s)
  4. Luminance HDR (for stitching HDR images)

By the time you get (more) serious into photography, the first thing that you need to know is that professional photographers are working with RAW image files. This is the equivalent of the analog negative film (pictured below). A RAW file is not (yet) a photo, but it contains all the information needed to export a digital photo. In comparison to the .jpg / .bpm / .png format, a RAW image file contains all of the metadata and sensor data that is captured by the camera. With the right program, you are able to adjust things like color and lightning.

Most people have heard of Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom. This is what most professional photographers use for their workflow. However, these programs are (at this time) not available on Linux. The current (29th April 2018) pricing for the Photography plan is € 12,09 / month (in NL) or $ 9,99 / month (in US). So this is currently priced at ~ € 145 / $ 120 a year.

Lucky for us openSUSE users, there are some very capable programs that are alternatives for these 2 well known programs. And these alternatives are free (and gratis) to install and use. Lets start with the alternative for Adobe Lightroom. The open source alternative is called Darktable. It can do a lot of things with your digital negatives. It has over 60 modules that can make multiple adjustments to your photos.

The open source alternative to Photoshop is called GIMP (the GNU Image Manipulation Program). Just 2 days ago (27th April 2018) GIMP version 2.10 has been released (1). This application can seem daunting to learn at first. The trick is to not try to learn everything at once. But to learn small edits that you can do with the program, one edit at a time. This is also something I like to address in future posts.

This brings us to the workflow for an advanced or professional photographer on openSUSE. I would recommend the workflow:

  1. Rapid Photo Downloader
  2. digiKam
  3. Darktable
  4. GIMP
  5. Hugin / Luminance HDR

In future posts, I want to go into more details on how to use these programs. From basic features to more advanced photo editing.

Published on: 29 April 2018