[clug] Photo management?

Ian Munsie darkstarsword at gmail.com
Wed Dec 23 06:10:34 UTC 2015

After being burnt by some photo mismanagement tools (F-Spot in
particular, which not only altered the original photos without
permission, it overwrote their correct timestamps with garbage) I
strongly advocate the K.I.S.S. principle for photo management:

1. One directory for each event prefixed with the date in YYYY-MM-DD
format of the start of the event, followed by the name

2. (Optional) Separate subdirectories for each individual day or
significant section of the shoot. Prefix these with (at least) 2
digits so they are still sorted correctly.

3. (Optional) Separate subdirectories for each separate camera/SD
card/DCIM folder used during the shoot

3. (Alternative) If the camera restarted the photo numbering during
the shoot, you may wish to use mmv to add extra digits before the
photo numbers so they can all be placed in the same directory and
still sort correctly.

3. (Alternative) If multiple cameras were used during the shoot and
their clocks were synchronised (or at least close enough), use your
knowledge of the Unix command line to rename all files from all
cameras use add a timestamp to the filenames so they can all be sorted
in a single directory (being careful not to overwrite any photos taken
within a second of each other that have the same timestamp).

4. For collections or other methods of sorting, symlink photos from
the above into separate directories (see below)

Viewing / managing from Linux
Use 64bit geeqie 1.0 to view photos (at this time I cannot recommend
geeqie 1.1 or 1.2 unless you need to view stereo photos (which I do) -
the monkeys were let loose on the code base and it is significantly
more buggy than 1.0 for almost no gain. The 64bit version is a must if
working with raw photos due to memory leaks that will images to stop
loading once it hits 4GB of virtual memory on 32bit).

Geeqie remains an excellent image viewer that is fast and easy to use.
It is one of the few image viewers that can be driven easily and
efficiently from the keyboard, which is important for me, but is just
as efficient to use with a mouse for fans of the rodent. Touch screen
users may wish to look elsewhere however.

Viewing from Windows
Give up now, there exists no good image viewer for Windows ;-) There
is an ancient port of gqview that can be coerced to run on it if you
are desperate, but it has bugs.

If sharing to Windows from Linux via Samba, you may wish to add 'vfs
objects = dirsort' to the smb.conf to make sure files remain sorted in
certain image viewers (not required for gqview, but is required for
e.g. nvidia's stereo photo viewer).

Viewing from Mac, Android, iPhone, etc
I have no idea, nor do I care to find out ;-)

I hear some of these platforms hate the directory tree, so I don't
think they could ever be very good choices for managing photos, but
maybe there's an app to fix that ;-)

To sort photos in categories other than by date/event, use geeqie's
sort manager (S) to symlink or copy photos into separate directories
(middle mouse drag and drop the destination folder from the tree view
into the sort manager as a shortcut to add destination folders, but
note that this is broken as of v1.1).

Symlinked photos exported through a samba share are viewable in
Windows as though they are the originals, so this will not limit you
to a single viewer (unlike certain other photo mismanagement tools I
have been burned with in the past). All that is required is the image
viewer not hide the directory layout from you (and if it does, ditch
that viewer).

It also has a collection manager to do something similar, though I
tend to avoid that on the assumption that the collections would be
limited to viewing with geeqie.

Press D in geeqie, change "Compare by" to "Similarity" and marvel at
the fact this was one of the first image viewers to be able to do

geeqie is not an editor (beyond EXIF rotation), but can easily call
out to your choice of editors from the right click menu.

At this stage, rawtherapee seems to be the hero for most of my basic
workflow, and GIMP for more advanced editing like cloning a
background. Never overwrite an original photo (I think all raw image
editors are good for this - only need to be careful when the JPEG was
the original) - either move or rename the originals out of the way, or
add a suffix to their filename to distinguish them.

I have yet to find a good solution for editing stereo photos, as these
add a lot more complexity to the editing workflow and even doing basic
tasks like cropping or adjusting the parallax can be fiddly.


Please avoid sending me Word or PowerPoint attachments.
See http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/no-word-attachments.html

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