Site Map - skip to main content

Hacker Public Radio

Your ideas, projects, opinions - podcasted.

New episodes Monday through Friday.

hpr4087 :: Getting started with the digiKam photo management software

I will give you some suggestions to getting started with digiKam based on my experience.

<< First, < Previous, , Latest >>

Hosted by Henrik Hemrin on 2024-04-02 is flagged as Clean and is released under a CC-BY-SA license.
photography, photo, digiKam, Digital Asset Management, DAM, software, opensource. 1.

Listen in ogg, spx, or mp3 format. Play now:

Duration: 00:06:56


Getting started with the digiKam photo management software.

In hpr4071 I talked about my migration from Adobe Photoshop Elements and Lightroom to digiKam.

Today I will give you some suggestions to getting started with digiKam, based on my experience and my opinion.

You find the digiKam website at

On the documentation page you find a good and exhaustive documentation. The big user manual can be read online or downloaded as an epub book. I suggest you browse the manual before you install digiKam.

My second suggestion is that you go to the Support page on the digiKam site and look at the Mailing List Subscription section. You can browse the mailing list archive online. But I really recommend you to also join the mailing list. It is a very active mailing list where also the main developers participates actively. Many questions are specific and may not be of interest to you. But I have found that I learn a lot about digiKam, its capabilities and other ways of working with photos than I have thought of. Of course I also learn about issues. I have asked some questions myself and also contributed with answers. I highly recommend you to join the mailing list.

Thirdly, before you install digiKam, I suggest you copy a couple of your photos into a new sample folder. When you start digiKam for the first time a guide starts to help you to configure initial settings. One configuration is to tell digiKam where your photos are located. I suggest you use this sample folder only. Later on you add your real photo folders and you can also at the same screen delete the sample folder from digiKam. I suggest this because then you can consider settings in more detail first which includes the settings for meta data import to digiKam.

Forthly, consider also where you want to store the digiKam databases. Myself, I created a folder for them at the top level of my home catalog. But you can store them wherever you want to.

Install digiKam. Go to the digiKam settings. There are a lot of settings. I will focus only on meta data settings.

DigiKam stores what you do in its own databases. That is mandatory. In the settings, it is possible to select what should be written to metadata and not. Meta data settings also have settings for associated files, which most of all is about xmp side cars.

You can select that digiKam should read from associated files. This is important to decide before your photo collection is imported into digiKam. If you forget, it is possible to read meta data again after you change settings.

Then there is an option if digiKam should write to side cars or not. And if yes, if it should write to both side cars and the object, or only if the object is write protected.

Next I want to highlight the tick box if Associated files should be compatible with commercial programs. This needs further explanation:

  • Default in digiKam is to have separate xmp side cars for each type of photo file. For example, if you have a photo stored both as jpg and raw, they will have separate side cars. This indeed has its advantages but is in my knowledge not according to xmp side car standard. According to standard, which digiKam refers to as commercial, the jpg and raw share the same sidecar. For example Adobe Lightroom uses the commercial method.

Examples to clarify:

  • DigiKam side car file syntax: photo1.jpg.xmp and photo1.raw.xmp.
  • Standard/commercial file syntax: photo1.xmp.

I highly recommend you to spend an hour or two to review all settings, not only meta data, before you start to use digiKam for your real photos. If there is something you do not understand, go to the documentation and do not hesitate to consult the digiKam mailing list.


Subscribe to the comments RSS feed.

Comment #1 posted on 2024-05-13 20:21:31 by Henrik Hemrin

Good support from digiKam developers and community

In the show, I recommended to join the support mailing list for digiKam. A couple of days ago I had a specific use case I could not find out how or even if I could do it, I could not find out by trial nor find anything in the manual. I submitted a straightforward question to the digiKam user e-mail list. After about two hours one of the developers responded that that what I wanted to do is not currently possible but a bug report for the use case already exist. Of course, not every question is answered so promptly. But again and again I am amazed of answers given both by the community and developers.

Leave Comment

Note to Verbose Commenters
If you can't fit everything you want to say in the comment below then you really should record a response show instead.

Note to Spammers
All comments are moderated. All links are checked by humans. We strip out all html. Feel free to record a show about yourself, or your industry, or any other topic we may find interesting. We also check shows for spam :).

Provide feedback
Your Name/Handle:
Anti Spam Question: What does the P in HPR stand for ?