Getting started with Shotwell

Shotwell is a simple yet powerful program that comes installed with most flavors of Fedora, such as Fedora Workstation and the Cinnamon desktop spin. It’s also available for install on any other desktop or spin. You can use it as either a photo viewer and organizer, or an editor.

Viewing and organizing photos with Shotwell

Shotwell works as a simple viewer for various formats, including PNG, JPG, and TIFF. It also organizes photos by either copying files to a database or showing and managing files from the source files. This provides the user with a wide flexibility of options for where they want to import their photos from. You can use it to manage different devices like cameras, phones, and more. Users of Apple computers may find it similar in functionality to iPhoto.

Photos can be organized into events (usually sorted by date) or by custom albums created by the user.

Shotwell, a viewer and organizer

Viewing and organizing photos

Shotwell as an editor

Shotwell also makes a simple and useful editor, the kind of program that “just works.” You can crop, resize, rotate, and straighten images. You can also automatically enhance and change some elements of your photos like hue and contrast.

Editing photos in Shotwell

Plenty of editing choices and options

If you resize an image and want to re-save it under a new format, it’s easy! Make your adjustments and then use the “Save as” menu option. If you need to adjust the scaling constraints, that’s also possible. You can have Shotwell do it for you automatically or you can manually enter the values you wish to use. Need to correct red-eye? There’s also a tool to make any corrections to some extra shiny eyes at the bottom of the editor mode.

Get Shotwell today

Shotwell is a useful tool for keeping photos organized and making minor edits and corrections to pictures. It’s also a well-designed, intuitive, and lightweight photo-managing program. If you are using Fedora 23 Workstation or some other desktop spins, you might already have it installed. If you don’t see it anywhere, you can install it from the Software application on Workstation.

If you are using another desktop, you can easily install it from the command line. Open a terminal and enter the following command.

$ sudo dnf install shotwell

Confirm the download and you will have Shotwell on your desktop!

In a second part, I will be commenting on other alternate photo viewing or editing programs available in Fedora, such as Gwenview, Gthumb, and GNOME Photos.

Image courtesy Giuseppe Milo – originally posted to Flickr as Newgrange – Co. Meath, Ireland – Travel photography

Using Software


  1. Andy Mender

    Thank you for this very nice article. I knew about Shotwell, but I completely forgot about it when looking for a ‘perfect’ image viewing utility. I’m looking forward to further articles on other similar tools :).

  2. sam

    Is shotwell still being developed? Yorba (the company sponsoring shotwell) have shut down and there is very little going on in git .

    Elementary OS created a fork called Pantheon Photos which is a bit more active. Should people switch to that or will their improvements be ported back to shotwell?

    • AFAIK, someone else has undertaken its development. I don’t remember their names.
      Anyway, I’ll be writing a couple of articles about programmes that work as Shotwell substitutes, in case you’re interested.

  3. Wayne Leggett

    $ sudo dnf install shotwell
    Where Do I Put This To Get It To Work ?

    • Hi Wayne, if you open the “Terminal” app on your computer, you can run

      sudo dnf install shotwell

      the command line to install it, if you don’t have an alternative like the GNOME Software app.

    • Wayne, you can also install Shotwell without using the Terminal. (1) Press the Windows key, which opens the “overlay” screen. (2) Type “Shotwell” in the search bar. (3) A Shotwell icon should appear in the search results. Click it! That should open up the Gnome Software app to the Shotwell page. (4) Click the Install button.

      This should work on Fedora 22 and later.

      • It works as long as you’re using Gnome Shell. If you’re using other desktop like KDE or Cinnamon, it won’t work because they only show the programmes you have already installed.

  4. AFAIR the Shotwell and Yorba Fundation RIP?

  5. Michael

    The Elementary folks took over the development of Shotwell..

  6. I like features from shotwell like importing into automatically into folders. Another cool feature of shotwell are tags, those can be selected to be embed on the images. So when you move everything to another computer, the tags are kept with the images.

    I would like to ask if there is a newbies guide to sort a photo collection. Some kind of collection of tips to create a structure, best practices to avoid dupes, hints to make easy find what you need and even how to better handle thumbnails, images y raw files.

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