Free Lightroom alternative: Moving your images from Darktable to GIMP

Tips & Techniques

This is the final part of a five-part series on the free and open-source Lightroom alternative, Darktable by photographer Chris Parker. Chris didn’t write a post to accompany the fifth video in the series, but we didn’t want to leave the series of posts unfinished, so here we are.

If you missed them, check out parts 1-4, covering Getting started with Darktable, Importing your images into Darktable, Processing your RAW files in Darktable, and Exporting images from Darktable for editing in another application. Another application like GIMP (which is also free and open-source). And that’s what this final video is about.

GIMP is essentially a free alternative to Photoshop. It’s doesn’t quite have all the bells of Photoshop and very few of the whistles, but it’s come a long way since its initial release back in 1996 and today stands up quite well as a fairly feature-packed image editing application. But there are a few gotchas, which Chris goes over in the video above.

Darktable and GIMP don’t talk to each other in the same way that Lightroom (or Adobe Camera RAW) talks to Photoshop. There are no smart objects, so you can’t go back and edit your RAW tweaks in Darktable after you bring your image into GIMP. You can’t save the changes you made in GIMP back out to your RAW file, either (just as you can’t in Photoshop).

If you’re used to using Lightroom or Adobe Camera RAW and Photoshop and want to make the transition to this free and open-source image editing software, then there is definitely a bit of a learning curve. But, Chris does a great job of walking you through the process and the caveats to get you up and running quickly.

Do you use Darktable and GIMP for your photo editing? Might you start using them now?

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