Linux as a Photographer’s Option

It seems that most people either use Windows or Mac for managing and editing their photos.  Some of us, though, have gone in another direction for their Operating System of choice.  I am one of those who just LOVES Linux.  Ubuntu is my chosen distribution based on maturity, stability and support via the user community and the those who manage the distribution.  There is also the initial purchase cost that is taken into account as well as being able to manage the system over time with relative ease.

I’m not downplaying anything about other OS choices.  Everyone has their chosen and for their own reasons.  I just choose Linux.  I’ve been using Linux for managing and editing my photos for a few years now.  I love it!

Now for the downside:  Many tools out there are written for PC alone, Mac alone or both.  Not many are offered for Linux.  Why?  Because Linux users do not typically represent a large enough target audience for many vendors of these software tools.  Whether someone calls it fair or not, it’s just the way it is.  We’re given a choice: Live with it, or move to one of the other Os’s.

Through trial and error, I have found some very good tools that can be used for photography.  I’m by no means an expert on photo editing.   I do what I need to do in order to make my photos as good as possible.  Most of my work is done when I actually take the picture.  My view is that if it’s a crappy photo to begin with, no amount of editing will make it a great one.  I take into account the subject, lighting, composition, what I am trying to capture or convey with the photo.  The last point usually directly affects the previous three.  There are other considerations as well such as “am I planning post-processing such as HDR or stitching photos together for panoramic effect?”.

I found the following as useful photographic tools:

  • The Gimp:  Open-source Photoshop-like editing software.  It’s very flexible and customizable with scripting.  It’s also a great learning tool with an abundance of resources to help with many tasks.
  • Darktable:  Another photo editor.  It’s a bit confusing sometimes but I keep it because it helps with some basic editing.
  • F-Spot:  Basic photo editing with no much in advanced features.  Great for quick contrast and effects changes.
  • RawTherapee:  Great raw editor.  Fully featured, as far as I can see.
  • LuminanceHDR:  As the name says, this one is great for HDR photos.  I find it very easy to use, although I don’t use most of the advanced features.
  • Shotwell:  This one is included in my distro and work well for photo management.  I admit that I haven’t tried others for managing my photos.

There are also screen calibration tools that work well on Linux.  I’m still researching these.