Digikam Caveats - things to make sure using Digikam

I have been bitten. And so I post this in the hope that some needy soul finds this before he/she/it gets bitten too.

Problem: Digikam saves image tags (ratings/captions that you spend hours editing) in its internal database. When you switch to a newer linux version, lose this information - unless you are careful enough to copy over the digikam.db4 file - which I was. The second problem is that if you move around or copy your files using a file browser, you lose this information ( !!!! ), and digikam doesn’t allow copy of albums (!!).


  1. Specify the location of your digikam.db4 file as the root directory of you photo library. This way, when you move your library, you have the digikam database with you.This can be configured through digikam Configuration > Collections.

  2. The most important step (which digikam should have made default according to the Principle of least astonishment)

    • Enable the all options starting with “Save” in digikam Configuration > Metadata. This would save all tags, ratings, captions and copyright information directly in the image instead of relying on digikam database for it.
    • Add author and copyright information in digikam Configuration > Identity. I put the following there:
      • Author: Sahil Ahuja
      • Credit: Sahil Ahuja
      • Source: http://sahilahuja.wordpress.com
      • Copyright: CC BY 3.0
        These steps will ensure that from now on all you files get properly tagged, the way you mean them to be.

What about the images I have already tagged, captioned and rated?

After these setting are applied, digikam enforces them only for images you write to from now onwards. For images that are already in your library, we need a write operation on them to embed the metadata into the files.

This can can be done by creating a custom search that matches all possible ratings one by one, and right clicking and assigning the same rating again. Do the same for all tags too. And now all your metadata should get embedded in the file. Voila!


A digital photographer's heaven

The more I use digiKam, the more I appreciate it. I can’t imagine managing my photos without it! (sorry windoze user :P )

The one feature the really struck me was the advanced search features. In digiKam you can create complicated search queries and can store the resulting photos as a group! Neat…
In the many chronologically arranged albums I had, I tagged the pics I liked with the tag “Cool shots”. Then to get all the cool pics at once, all I had to do run a search for all pics tagged “Cool shots” and it would show up all the nice pics all at once. The combinations are endless. For example, you might want to look at only the “nice” pics from the shots of your cousin you took.

One more great thing about digiKam is all its cool plugins. One really utilitarian plugin is the red eye removal plugin. It does work.

Using digiKam for managing photos.

Today I discovered one of the coolest softwares to manage photos from a digicam! The software’s name is digiKam.

The thing I liked the most about the software is the date view and the album view.

I own a Sony W70. It has 2 modes of connecting to the computer (both use the USB connecting cable provided with the camera). One is the “USB Mass Storage mode” and the other is the “PTP/IP Camera” mode. I asked my camera to show itself using the PTP.. mode (through the camera menu interface) and selected the import option in digiKam. Importing photos in digiKam really is easy.

After the photos get imported, in the date view all the photos show up in a cool chronological order. In the album view you can arrange the pics according to your preference. You can have albums, sub-albums, sub-sub-albums… in a folder tree fashion.

digiKam lets you resize, crop, rotate your images and apply simple color filters, adjust levels etc. It also has a cool feature of displaying the “EXIF” data of an image. That is basically information like focal length, digital zoom, exposure, ISO level and other details about the snap itself.