The official spiel describes Shotwell as an “open source photo organizer” for the GNOME desktop. It is, however, a little bit more than that. Not much, but a little.

Photo organization
Organization in Shotwell takes two forms: Photos that have EXIF data in them and as such are arranged by date taken ” called “Events” in Shotwell, or just general photos arranged by magic name.

This approach is nothing new and in reality is almost too basic to fulfil the needs of anyone with an appreciable photo collection. If it supported tags or allowed you to manually add timestamps to photos missing them it’d be more useful.

Photos are automatically imported from Digital Camera’s under the GNOME desktop.


In the main grid you can zoom in and out on photo thumbnails using the slider at the bottom. Each “Event” is assigned a cover image, though this can be manually set.

Clicking on a photo in this mode gives you some simple options: –
I like the inclusion of Mirror and having these options just a right click away in the thumbnail mode makes adjusting wrong-way photos a very quick process.

One of Shotwell’s main selling points is the simple ” yet efficient ” image editing tools.


These non-destructive editing tools include: –

  • red eye reduction
  • adjust exposure, saturation, tint, temperature and shadow
  • cropping (with auto-format sizes)
  • rotation
  • one-click “auto-enhancement”
screenshot_006Cropping format sizes

Editing tool wise Shotwell is just about “okay”. The supplied tools are functional, do what they say and in all honesty are more than enough for Grandma to use.

I don’t like the “floating palate” way in which they are displayed ” especially when there is a wide piece of chrome to the left in which they could easily sit in.

Here’s a comparison of two photos ” one original and the other “auto-enhanced” using Shotwell’s one-click tool.

Other Features
Shotwell boats a slideshow feature that is no worse ” or no better ” than that of any other image viewer or organizer. You can specify time between transition or manually “next/previous” to zip though.

You can export photos specifying dimensions and compression quality.

Future Features
This release of Shotwell is a very early release and isn’t as feature-filled as future versions are intended to be. What’s to look forward to?

  • Export to Facebook and Flickr
  • Slideshow feature to support customisable music and transitions 

These sound like potentially distinguishing inclusions, though one would hope that other services than Facebook/Flickr could/would be included along the long. (Cough-picasa-web-cough)

The ‘personal’ slideshow is truly an awesome feature ” I’m not aware of any existing photo manager that has this. Nice!

On a last note, prepare  to hear a lot about the company behind this, Yorba, in the coming months here on OMG! UBUNTU!… 

As usual i recommend adding a PPA if you intend to install with this. This is to ensure you get the latest version with the latest features.


{thanks to webupd8 for letting me know about this app}

#apps #shotwell