Using photos from digiKam

Hi all, I’m brand new here so please forgive any faux pas with my post.

I load my photos (both raw and jpg) into digiKam using folders organized by year, then by month, and then by day. There are about 35,000 in my digiKam folders. I would like to be able to load the raw photos into darktable, perhaps at a later date than when taken, but what I see in darktable when I do that is the date of import into darktable, not the date taken. If I instead use “add to library” in darktable then all I see is the day of the month and year for the collection. This behavior makes it hard for me to correlate the photos in digiKam, stored by year, month, and day, and those in darktable.

Does anyone have suggestions for how I might better manage this relationship between digiKam and darktable? I like both applications but would like to have them work more seamlessly. I may have to change how I import photos into digiKam, but am not sure how to proceed.

Jay Rutherford

Hello Jay, welcome here!

I’m afraid that I don’t understand your question. My photos are organized per year and month (so folder 2023, subfolder nov23, etc.). When I open a raw photo taken on November 7 in Darktable, it shows that date (datetime) plus the import time stamp, today. See screenshot.

As said, I don’t understand your problem I’m afraid.


If you already have your photos on the computer, that is the one you should be using, as the other option makes another copy.
add to library vs copy & import.

I don’t use digikam, so I cannot contribute to the rest of the discussion, but Paul has already responded to that.

I think the issue you are seeing is because the default of filmrolls. Switch the collection module to ‘folder’. This will present the images in the same tree structure as your file system after you use the ‘Add to library’.

When working with digikam, I suggest to turn on the darktable scan for xmp changes at start up. This will look to see if you edit a tag or rating within an external program. Within digikam you also have to enable the xmp format that darktable uses.

I agree with @g-man if you set the collection module to folders you can pick each day and do your edits. That is what I do with my edits. And don’t forget to look at the user guide for further guidance. I have bookmarked it in my browser because it is so informative and critical darktable 4.4 user manual - darktable

my suggestion is to use Digikam to manage you library, and darktable only for editing.

You can run darktable db-less. Here I’m sharing some ideas. If you have specific questions, I can share more details.

I’m managing metadata in Digikam and there was another thread where I was sharing some tips on how to setup Digikam to write metadata in the sidecar files.

Thanks to all for responding to my query. I do use digiKam as my photo manager, and only use DT for editing raw files.

I wasn’t clear in my original question, and your responses have helped me focus on what I really wanted, which was to have the Collections module display my DT library entries in full date format as that’s primarily how I find things in digiKam.

g-man and Terry suggested using my Collections as folders and I see that doing that provides all the date information I need. Also, I’m reviewing boredphoto’s suggestion for writing to XMP in both applications, and think I’ll do that.

Thanks again,
Jay Rutherford