Book review: Linux Photography by Dmitri Popov

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linux photography cover by dmitri popov

Linux Photography by Dmitri Popov. Verdict: 4.5/5. An excellent overview of many Linux useful tools for digital photographers. Available at Gumroad.

Regular readers of this website are probably familiar with Scribbles and Snaps, the blog of Dmitri Popov. Dmitri is a prominent open source photographer and writer, and author of digiKam Recipes.

A few months ago Dmitri published a new book, Linux Photography, and I finally found time to finish it this weekend.

I was thoroughly impressed with what I read, and wanted to share the book with any readers here looking to get more out of their Linux workstation.

First impressions

Linux Photography is currently available as a .EPUB ebook at Gumroad.com, a publishing platform that offers a number of advantages over Amazon as the author is able to update the digital ebook for anyone who has already purchased it. Indeed, Linux Photography is already on its 13th version after just a few months, and I am sure Dmitri will continue to update it with new content in the future.

Jumping into the first chapter on the topic of importing photos via shell scripting, I was unprepared for Dmitri’s headfirst dive into lines of code. Linux novices with no real command line experience may find that some of the content in the first few chapters goes over their head. However, later chapters cover more user-friendly Linux photography applications that will be useful to a beginner, including darktable, gThumb, and Pixeluvo.

Reading deeper

Linux Photography is not really a book about photo editing. You won’t find a detailed rundown of all the tools available in darktable or RawTherapee.

What you will get is a set of recipes covering a range of programs available on Linux that can be combined to create a streamlined Linux photography workflow.

The book starts off with a number of recipes for photo management, such as using the command line to copy photos to your computer. You don’t need to use the command line to do this: programs such as digiKam or darktable will copy photos, but I find them very slow if I have full 32GB SD card to transfer. The command line tools shown here offer a potentially quicker way to copy large amounts of images.

The chapters on the editors gThumb, darktable, and Pixeluvo were relatively brief, and anyone experienced in these programs will be familiar with everything described here. One positive however is that you may learn about programs you are not familiar with – I’ve never used gThumb, but from the description in this book it looks like a powerful editor, and I have to confess that this was the first time I had heard of Pixeluvo (an inexpensive commercial editor for Linux and PC).

Some of the most interesting content is in the last few chapters. Backing up photos is like going to the dentist: you really ought to do it, but it’s a pain in the ass (or tooth). Linux Photography describes how to set up rclone to painlessly copy your photos to the cloud. There’s also two chapters on remote capture, a technique I’ve often thought about but never used.

But best of all are the chapters covering the Raspberry Pi, and how to turn it into your own personal photo backup and hosting server (because let’s face it, who wants to use Flickr when you have an excuse to hack the world’s coolest mini computer).

I finished Linux Photography a vastly more knowledgeable photographer than when I started, and I would recommend it to novice and experienced photographers alike. So why the deduction of half a star? In places I felt a few small details were missing – however, I look forward to future updates that expand on the existing content.

Further details

Linux Photography can be purchased at Gumroad for $5.99.

Dmitri’s earlier book, digiKam Recipes, is available at Amazon.

digiKam recipes by Dmitri Popov cover

You can find Dmitri Popov on:

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