NAS-Based Linux Photography Workflow

When a few months ago I decided to buy a NAS, my plan was to use it as a dumb storage device that makes it easier to access my files and keep them safe. Gradually, though, I found myself using my lowly QNAP T-231P NAS for various photography-related tasks, and now the appliance plays a central role in my Linux-based photographic workflow.


It’s all started with me moving my photo library to the NAS, so I could use any machine running digiKam to manage my photos. And since QNAP T-231P comes with the MariaDB database server, it also made perfect sense to migrate digiKam from SQLite to MariaDB backend. I documented the process in my Use digiKam with a NAS and MariaDB article.

At that point I was still using my own Photo Funnel tool to import and organize RAW files and photos on my primary machine, and then moving them to the NAS. That wasn’t particularly practical, so I decided to cobble together a tool for importing and processing RAW files and photos directly to the NAS.

Although QNAP NAS appliances are based on Linux, the underlying Linux distribution lacks some essential tools like Git, ImageMagick, rsync, etc. So the first order of business was to figure out a way to install packages I needed for my import tool. Lo and behold, I found Entware, a repository containing a growing collection of Linux tools. There is also a package manager that you can install on all popular NAS models, including QNAP. After a couple of evenings of Bash scripting and troubleshooting, Momo was born. Using it, I now import RAW files and photos directly to the NAS, and neatly organize them too. The Linux Photography book provides detailed instructions on deploying and using Momo.

So here is what my typical workflow looks like now. The INTAKE directory on the NAS is the first stop, where all imported RAW files and photos are transferred. Momo then organizes them in sub-directories by date using the YYYY-MM-DD format.

The LIBRARY directory on the NAS acts as the root album in digiKam. I move the RAW and JPEG files I want to process and manage in digiKam from INTAKE to appropriate project sub-directory in LIBRARY.

Then there is Natsukashii, a shell script that runs on the NAS, scans the photo library, finds photos taken on today’s date in the past and creates a simple web page with them. Again, the Linux Photography book explains in detail how to install and use Natsukashii.

Yet another simple shell script creates backups of digiKam MariaDB databases.

In addition to Momo and Natsukashii, I also use tools supplied with the NAS. The Hybrid Backup Sync app, for example, backs up data to the Backblaze B2 cloud storage service, and I use the Photo Station app to view and share my Android snapshots. Speaking of which, the Qfile app on my Android device automatically backs up all my snapshots to the NAS.

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Use digiKam with a NAS and MariaDB

Got a NAS? Still store your photo library and digiKam databases on a local machine? It’s time to take your digiKam setup to the next level by moving your photo library to the NAS and switching to the MariaDB (or MySQL) database backend. This allows you to access your photo library from any machine on the same network as well as keep your photo library safe thanks to the fact that storage on most NAS appliances is usually configured as RAID.

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digiKam Recipes 18.10.15 Released

It’s time for another digiKam Recipes update. The most visible change in this update is the new book cover. All screenshots were also updated to reflect changes in the current version of digiKam.


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Follow Photographers on Instagram without an Account

Love it or hate it, but plenty of great photographers use Instagram to share their photos. But like many other services, Instagram calls itself a sharing social platform, when in reality it’s just another walled garden that forces you to create an account and use their app. But it is entirely possible to follow your favorite photographers on Instagram without joining the service, courtesy of RSS-Bridge.

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Discover Photos from the Past with Natsukashii

Since I left Facebook for good, I realized how much I liked a simple yet nice feature. Every day, Facebook would show me photos I took on this day a year ago. Although I wasn’t sharing a lot of photos on Facebook, I enjoyed receiving these small greetings from the past. With Facebook banished from my life, I decided to build an open source tool that does the same with my local photo library.

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Photo Funnel: Easy Photo Import on Linux

A while ago, I cobbled together Photo Funnel, a simple tool for importing photos and RAW files from storage cards to a Linux machine. Although it wasn’t meant to replace digiKam, I ended up using it as my primary import tool for two reasons: speed and simplicity. But just because it does the job, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be improved. So I’ve spent a couple of evenings tweaking Photo Funnel.

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Build a Simple Android Photo App with Jasonette

For someone who doesn’t write code for a living, creating even the simplest Android app can be a daunting proposition. Fortunately for those of us with basic coding skills, there is Jasonette. In simple terms, Jasonette makes it possible to create a full-featured Android app using a single JSON file that describes the appearance and behavior of the accompanying Android app. To build the latter, you only need to modify a few simple settings in a ready-made app template, such as URL to the JSON file and the app’s name and icon, and then compile the app in the Android Studio IDE.

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Recipes for automated and streamlined photographic workflow on Linux

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Practical advice for nighttime photography

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