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Tony Whitmore: Photography workflow on Ubuntu

Published Nov 14 2012 via RSS

During the week I spotted a great blog post from Riley Brandt, a photographer at the University of Calgary. Riley currently uses a Mac for his photography work, but is keen to switch to using Ubuntu. I’ve been using Ubuntu for my photography work for, well, since forever. That’s not to say it’s always been easy. A tour of the archives of this blog will show the pain I’ve experienced over the years! Riley wrote a two part blog post about his nascent photography workflow on Linux. It was pleasing to see how much Riley’s workflow mirrors mine:

  1. Monitor profiling and calibration. GNOME Colour Manager works really well with my i1 and Colorhug colorimeters. There are some differences in the results of calibration between the two devices though that I would like to understand better.
  2. Download photos. I just click and drag the images from the compact flash cards! I don’t rename the images, though I can see why it might be useful for some people.
  3. Embedding metadata. Unfortunately gthumb doesn’t seem to support the RAW images from my Canon camera and won’t show the IPTC fields. (You can’t use Canon’s EOS Utility under Linux to set the fields directly on the camera either.) For my wedding photography, not being able to add the metadata is not a big problem though.
  4. Photo management, RAW editing. I also use AfterShot Pro. Yes, it’s proprietary but it’s good, not expensive and one licence covers you for a number of machines. It also stores all the image settings as XMP sidecar files, so you can easily move to another piece of software.
  5. Advanced editing. The GIMP really is very powerful, although the pace of development is still slower than us frustrated photographers would like! I don’t do a lot of detailed editing in my workflow, but when I do I use the GIMP.

But it’s great to see other professional photographers giving Ubuntu a try as a creative platform. It’s still not perfect, but it gets better with each release. I have tested my key applications on Ubuntu 12.10 and will be upgrading my work machine soon.

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