Robotic Tendencies
The personal blog of Robert McQueen

March 22, 2005

Managing photos

What do people use to manage and publish their photos? I’ve got a new digital camera (Canon IXUS 500 if anyone is curious, great for the price) and already have over 1000+ photos from it and photo CDs, and 7 films that still need developing. I’d like a web gallery that does this:

  • Stores the originals sensibly (filesystem ideally) and without modification
  • Generates sensibly-sized slides and thumbnails for web viewing and ideally caches them
  • Allows me to easily rotate pictures for viewing, either preserving the original or doing it losslessly
  • Allows me to arrange pictures into galleries and associate captions, and ideally move them around
  • For bonus points, reading EXIF data such as times and orientation
  • For double bonus points, integrating with WordPress somehow to handle linking/inclusion would be cool

A program that did these and had a good export to web feature would be acceptable also. But generally, I want the moon on a stick. Anyone got any recommendations?

posted by ramcq @ 2:51 am
Comments (17) .:. Trackback .:. Permalink

17 responses to “Managing photos”

  1. Struan says:

    Check out Picasa 2.0 from Google.

    It will defintely do all bar the last point on your list.

  2. robot101 says:

    Eh? Requirements: Microsoft Windows 98/ME/2000/XP,
    Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0+. I have neither. Either this runs exceedingly well under WINE or it’s not for me…

  3. Nico says:


    I’m hapilly using Gallery. Current stable is a bit of a crappy coding example, but the upcoming v2 looks pretty good.

    As for easy linking

    A set wrapper file allow for integration into WP, that is architectured to survive upgrades.

    See my site for v1 sample.

    And there is a Debian package!


  4. I was looking for that a while ago (when I bought my Powershot A75), so I wrote a script myself 🙂 (completely template-based, some sample output on and

  5. Shaya says:

    use apache-gallery, there’s a debian package.

    I have it setup on my machine so that any user can just add files or directories to their ~/gallery directory and it’s used by the galleries virtual host as ~/public_html/ is used for normal usage.

    see for an example of how a friend of mine is using it.

    does everything you ask, stores the originals on disk, thumbnails, galleries them and even lets you slideshow them. And is insanely simple to make multi user as opposed to the gallery package.

  6. Diwaker says:

    I use digikam for most purposes. If you need a special tool, you can check out kimdaba for indexing and searching, and showimg and/or gwenview for viewing. There are debian packages for all of them I believe.

  7. Elvis says:

    Try linpha (
    offers you everyrhing but your double plus points..
    Here’s an exemple how it looks:

  8. Jenner says:


    WALGEN ( does all this, except for moving the pictures around – you have to do it manually on your filesystem.

  9. Jon says:

    I have to say gallery also. It is far from ideal (I hate the templates) but it does match every point on your list. For reference lossless jpeg rotation is done via jpegtran.

  10. Simon Huggins says:

    I thought everyone built their own? Mine is at

    I need to fix it so the picture sizes aren’t hardcoded but other than that I’m quite happy with it.

  11. Ben Hill says:

    I use O.R.I.G.I.N.A.L. from

    You could take a look at too.

  12. Ben Hill says:

    My gallery is at if you’re interested…

  13. Gregor Hoffleit says:

    Strange that nobody mentioned it yet, but gthumb is a nice start, too. Evolved from a simple GNOME image browser, it has a lot of the features that you’re mentioned, but what I miss most is that collections will be corrupted when you move or track images (that’s a hard one to fix, tough).

    On the Qt side, I recently stumbled across Album Shaper which seems to be an (even) bigger gun. Haven’t tried it thoroughly, though.

  14. F-Spot ( integrates with flikr, gallery and other web-side tools but allows you to tag your photos on disk, rotate them, read exif data, etc.

    It has a nice timeline view that lets you navigate to a period of time and view pictures taken then.

    Pretty new, but pretty nice as well.

  15. I use curator, a python script used to generate static HTML albums, as the last
    step in my photo-management process. It’s fairly flexible, template and
    CSS-based, and it is customizable. There are a few shortcomings to the
    software that I’ve worked around by using imagemagick and exiftran, rsync, and
    a couple, not-so-clever shell scripts. My photos are generally taken at high
    resolution, which I don’t want to upload to my personal website. You’ll have
    this problem regardless of the album software. I rename them with a suffix
    “–orig” and then exclude those files from upload using rsync. I then run
    exiftran over the jpeg files to automatically rotate picture orientation and
    chmod them to read-only. Creating resized images of the “–orig” pictures to
    640×480 or 480×640 is relatively easy with convert from imagemagick or using
    Python Imaging Libraries (PIL). I’ll probably add this conversion step in the
    custom RC file for curator. Meta-data is in the form of a “.desc” file in
    RFC-822 format (or a close proximity thereof). BUG: Each field must be
    followed by a blank-newline. I then rsync the files over to the
    public_html/photos directory and run curator, which generates thumbnails, HTML
    files, directory, global, root, and track indexes. My album is viewable at Enjoy!

  16. Sami Dalouche says:

    As someone already pointed out, Gallery is the best way to go :
    Install the Gallery 2, the bleeding edge version. This web gallery has everything you need :
    – It is free (GPL)
    – It really is well designed.(v2) Completly OO Design, Filesystem to store the pictures + Database for the comments, etc (MySQL, PosgreSQL..)
    – Completly modular. Even the core is a module. There should be tons of modules in the next few months. There are modules for EXIF, for adding albums to the shopping cart, for downloading the shopping cart as zip, etc etc. Every single module can be enabled or disabled
    – Is it Embeddable. Lots of efforts have been put to allow g2 to be embeddable into CMS (Mambo, Drupal, Xaraya, WordPress, etc).

    => G2 is a MUST. don’t make the error of choosing something else.

  17. Patrick Lam says:

    Gallery 2 looks like it might potentially be nice; I haven’t tried it out myself. However, I find that the Gallery development process has a couple of deficiencies. For instance, when new versions are released, it is quite difficult to download diffs so that one can integrate one’s patches.

    I find the Gallery development process to be pretty irksome, as in:

    Personally, I use zoph for organizing my photos. It has a number of rough edges and hasn’t been maintained for a while, but it has some nice features that aren’t provided by any other software.

    If I had some time, I would really like to contribute patches to f-spot so that it could do some of the things that I’d like it to do. It has a lot of potential, I think.

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