Organising a photo collection

Sorting and viewing

It would be nice to have some kind of smart annotation and viewing system which used AI to tag the photos without depending upon Google’s creepy data mining infrastructure. Apple photos promises that, but only runs on the mac. Check the alternativeto listing for Apple photos for some ideas here.

Some that look compatible with my ubuntu laptop:


What is it?

  • Self hosted wannabe Google Photos clone, with a slight focus on cool graphs
  • Django backend & React frontend.
  • In development. Contributions are welcome!


Currently implemented:

  • Label some faces manually, and train a face classifier to label the rest.
  • View photos by people in them.
  • Automatically generate “event” albums with nice titles, like “Thursday in Berlin”
  • See photos on the map
  • Backend caching
  • View photos grouped by date
  • “Optimized” frontend
  • Detect objects in photos, and make them searchable by objects
  • Search photos by the location
  • Authentication (using JWT)
  • Create custom albums
  • Docker ready

Digikam is a whole photo library and metadata management system.

The application covers the photographic workflow consisting of these major stages:

  • Setup your collections
  • Import photos, raw files, and videos
  • Organize your collections
  • Search in your collections
  • Browse, compare, and view items in your collections
  • Post-processing, editing, assembling, and transforming your photos
  • Share and publish photos

Tropy is an open source photo manager targeting researchers.

Tropy is free, open-source software that allows you to organize and describe photographs of research material. Once you have imported your photos into Tropy, you can combine photos into items (e.g., photos of the three pages of a letter into a single item), and group photos into lists. You can also describe the content of a photograph. Tropy uses customizable metadata templates with multiple fields for different properties of the content of your photo, for example, title, date, author, box, folder, collection, archive.


exiftool and exiv2 seem to be popular media manipulation libraries. pyexiv2 is a python binding. Mediainfo is “a convenient unified display of the most relevant technical and tag data for video and audio files.”

Erase all (or most) of the explicit metadata from an image:

exiftool -all= filename.jpg

Or! use browser tool removephotodata.


ExifTool is not guaranteed to remove metadata completely from a file when attempting to delete all metadata. For JPEG images, all APP segments (except Adobe APP14, which is not removed by default) and trailers are removed which effectively removes all metadata, but for other formats the results are less complete:

  • JPEG — APP segments (except Adobe APP14) and trailers are removed.
  • TIFF — XMP, IPTC and the ExifIFD are removed, but some EXIF may remain in IFD0.
  • PNG — Only iTXt, tEXt and zTXt chunks (including XMP) are removed.
  • PDF — The original metadata is never actually removed.
  • PS — Only some PostScript and XMP may be deleted.
  • MOV/MP4 — Only XMP is deleted.
  • RAW formats — It is not recommended to remove all metadata from RAW images because this will likely remove some proprietary information that is necessary for proper rendering of the image.

mat attempts to erase all metadata from everything it can handle.

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