I'm currently trying Darktable for managing my photo library.

I'm not a photographer, just trying to sortout my photos. Typical example:

  1. On a weekend trip was took 100 photos
  2. I just want to select the 20 most interesting and save the selection
  3. I don't want to actually make copy of the files, of course.

In Lightroom it's done simply using "Virtual collection". Is anyone know the equivalent in Darktable ?

Thanks in advance, Stéphane


Darktable has a rating system: from 0 to 5 stars and rejected/not rejected. In the light table, the shortcut is r to reject a picture. You can reject all the pictures you don't want and then you can display only rejected pictures:

Select them all (Ctrl + A) and on the right panel in the selected image[s] part click on trash.

Be careful, those pictures will be erased.

  • Okay thanks, that's very helpful. However, doesn't it makes things complicated if I want to make a selection over several folders ? Eg. I want to have a "collection" of all the pics of my kid on the beach, over the years – Stéphane Nov 12 '17 at 13:01
  • 1
    Not that much if there's a common parent folder: when you import the pictures, there an "import recursively" checkbox. If no, the only solution I see is to import all of them as different "rolls" and use the keyword system ("tagging" on the right panel). Tag them "Stockholm" for example if your week-end was in Stockholm. Then on the left panel, clear all the rules and add a "tag" relative rule... Keep in mind that DT is a workflow software so, maybe not the most suitable for sorting. Hope it helps... – Patrick Augeau Nov 12 '17 at 13:10
  • Maybe the keyword system is the right thing to do ... If you have in mind a more suitable software for "sorting", I'll give it a try ! – Stéphane Nov 13 '17 at 14:06
  • I would say that a "basic" viewer like eye-of-gnome could be fine, you can delete files from it. If you're using Linux, you can try Geeqie that can show RAW files too. – Patrick Augeau Nov 13 '17 at 16:04
  • You didn't tag your question with the Operating system you're using. If you're on Linux, KPhotoAlbum has extensive tagging and searching options. You can create all sorts of selections/albums very easily and they are stored in its database without duplicating any images. – Joe Nov 14 '17 at 18:37

You can make collections by using tags, and if you want to have independent copies, you could easily generate virtual copies with ctrl-d. The only thing that you cannot do is changing the order of the files in a collection, besides the standard sorting options. Plus, you have to care for the collection namespaces by yourself within the global tag namespace. I use hierarchical tagging for this purpose, especially I am tagging people (“People|Family|John Doe”, “People|Friends|Jane Doe”), places (“Places|Scotland|Isle of Skye|Old Man of Storr”), projects (“Projects|Photobooks|2017|Summer Holiday Somewhere”, “Projects|365|2017|27” for day 27 of the 365 project), events (“Event|Christmas|2016”), and subjects (“Subjects|duck”).


I've covered some of the rating system basics here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/44333999@N04/34393720730/in/photostream/

Rating along with keyword tagging your photos is essential to sort your collection and allowing easy grouping of tagged photos into collection presets in darktable's lighttable.

Collection preset example

In that screenshot, you can see I've filtered all my photos for a rating of 2 stars or more, a few different tags, a color label, and a specific day all at once and saved the results in a collected images preset to recall whenever I wish.

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