Best Photo Applications For Linux

Brief: In this article, we’ll see the best photo software for Linux for various purposes.

When I last wrote about reasons to switch to Linux, a reader suggested me to write about Linux alternatives of popular Windows applications. After all, it is one of the most common concerns among Windows users thinking to switch to Linux.

In an effort to address the same concern, in this article, I have listed photo related applications that could be used for various purposes.

Best photo editors for Linux

It’s not really alternatives to Windows programs but rather a collection of image related applications in Linux that could be used for various purposes.

Best Photo Applications for Linux

Image editing applications in Linux

Gimp Linux image software

When I say image editing, I mean hardcore professional style photo editing. In other words, I am talking about Photoshop. And when it comes to Linux alternative to Adobe Photoshop, there is only one name that comes to mind: GIMP.

GIMP is a cross-platform, full-featured, professional-grade image editing application that comes with almost all the features of Photoshop. Unlike Photoshop, GIMP is free on all platforms such as Linux, Windows, OS X etc.

You can install GIMP in Ubuntu from Ubuntu Software Center. You can also use a utility like PhotoGIMP to give GIMP a Photoshop makeover.

Vector graphics tools in Linux

Inkscape Logo

If you are looking to create vector graphic designs from scratch, the best vector graphic design app in Linux is Inkscape.

Inkscape is a free and open source tool available for Linux, macOS and Windows. It allows you to create or edit vector graphics such as logos, icons, clipart, illustrations, diagrams, line arts, charts and complex paintings.

It is widely popular and is used by professionals and hobbyists worldwide. This also means that you can get plenty of guides and tutorials online about using Inkscape.

Photo management applications in Linux

Shotwell Linux sftware

I am talking about applications that handle image library. You can view your images, import them from camera and phones, edit them a little, share them etc. In Windows, we have Windows Photo Viewer.

In Linux, Shotwell is the most popular photo management these days. It is the default applications in various Linux distributions, Ubuntu being one of them. Unlike GIMP, Shotwell is lightweight but offers very basic editing features.

One good alternative to Shotwell is gThumb.

Recommended Read:

Applications to handle raw camera images in Linux

digikam linux camera app

As the price of DSLRs decreases, the number of (amateur) photographer increases in same proportion. As many DSLRs use RAW format to save the images, default image viewers like Shotwell won’t be able to handle these images.

This is where applications like digiKam come into the picture. An Open Source software, digiKam lets you handle your high-end camera images in a professional manner. You can view, manage, edit, enhance, organize, tag, and share photographs with digiKam.

Another good RAW photo editor available for Linux is RAWTherapee which also focuses on handling camera images.

Pinta Linux paint software
Paint applications in Linux

If you are looking for Linux alternatives to Microsoft Paint, my first choice is Pinta. You can do a little editing such as annotate with text, draw circles etc. You can draw images with pencil, brush and spray. In Ubuntu, Pinta can be installed from Ubuntu Software Center.

Another alternative to Pinta is Krita which is more powerful and provides more features. Better than a paint app but not as good as GIMP.

Instagram effects applications in Linux [not open source]

xnretro linux instagram effect software

In the end, let’s talk about beautifying your images. We have numerous retro image effects apps on mobile devices but that’s not the case with the desktop.

To apply Instagram like effects in Linux, I know only XnRetro which does the work in a neat way. I recommend reading this article to know more about how to use XnRetro in Ubuntu.

That compiles the list of various type of image applications available in Ubuntu and other Linux distributions. It’s not that this is the complete list of such apps. In fact, there are much more. I have just listed the best in each category.

What do you think? Do you use some other application for a particular purpose? Do share your views with us.

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  • The single most useful tool for me is a little application to transfer photos and videos from SD card to your photo/video import tree – yes, you configure that and it will follow the pattern creating folders with appropriate names. That app is Rapid Photo Downloader. It’s simple, elegant and just works! Lightroom has facility to do this but RPD does it better, IMO. Combined with RawTherapee, it gave me a decent workflow.
    To me, GIMP is too much like photoshop – difficult and unintuitive. Although powerful, it gets in the way of my enjoyment.

  • Appreciate your article, but I just don’t like gimp. In windows I use ACDSee, which, since they added perspective correction last year, it’s one less reason to mess with photoshop. Hopefully out of the ones that you mention here, I can find something that will work for me, as I have tried for years to get away from windows.

    • Try fotoxx. i started using it a couple of months ago and i would be lost without it. It has very good mamagement qualities and also good editing possibilities. For me it’s perfect.