Sieve through Photos with digiKam’s Light Table Tool

If you have a handful of storage cards in your photo bag, there is no need to worry about how many photos you can take before your digital camera runs out of memory. This means that you can easily take dozen of shots of the same subject trying different angles, composition, and lighting. But this also makes the task of picking the best photo from the batch a bit of a challenge. Fortunately, digiKam provides a simple yet efficient tool that can help you to compare and analyze multiple photos side by side and pick the one you like most. The name of this wonderful tool is Light Table, and you can evoke it by choosing Tools » Light Table from the main toolbar.

This opens an empty Light Table window, and you can add two or more photos by dragging them onto the thumbnail pane (called thumbbar in digiKam) of the window. Alternatively, you can select the photos in an album and use the Ctrl+L keyboard shortcut or the Image » Place onto Light Table command to add the selected photos to a new Light Table window. You can then add more photos to the current Light Table window by selecting them in an album and choosing the Image » Add to Light Table command or using the Ctrl+Shift+L keyboard shortcut.

Using Light Table is rather straightforward. If you have added only a pair of photos to the Light Table window, they will be displayed side by side, making it easier for you to examine and compare photos. Press the Synchronize button, and Light Table will keep both photos in sync. So when you zoom in and out or drag one photo, these actions are automatically applied to the other photo, too. You can reorder the photos in the Light Table window using the On left and On right buttons. And if you have more than two photos in the Light Table window, you can view them by pairs by clicking the By Pair button.

Freelance tech writer covering Linux and open source software.

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Posted in Open Source, Photography, Software
6 comments on “Sieve through Photos with digiKam’s Light Table Tool
  1. Thank you, now I understand the purpose of the “light table”. Maybe it would be better to change the name of this option to “comparison table” so it would be much easier to understand what it is about?

    • Eric Mesa says:

      Light table is used for historical reasons. When you had negatives, you had to put them on the light table to see them and compare.

  2. DanaKil says:

    These kind of post are always interesting for novice users, thanks :)

    No idea if this is doable but maybe the “picture fingerprint” (not sure about the english name) feature of DigiKam could be useful here, something like “Put all images similar to this one on the light table” ?

    • Chris says:

      You could just right click on the image, select the “Find similar” option and then select all from what that finds hit CTL-L to put them on the lighttable.

  3. Eric Mesa says:

    That’s an awesome feature. digiKam is a pretty strong contender against Adobe’s Lightroom which costs $300! I currently use Lightroom, but I’m keeping a very close eye on digiKam.

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