Before you can edit your photos in Darktable you need to import them. There are basically two ways of doing this:
Import directly from camera
This is in my opinion the best way. When you have Darktable set up correctly, you only have to give your import a name, select the images you want to import and click the Import button. Your images will end up in the correct folder on your hard drive, with appropriate file names and even with copyright data and some tags automatically applied if you so choose.
Import from folder on hard drive
Some like to use dedicated software to download images from the camera. I have never done so, but I imagine these apps have similar functionality to Darktable. My philosophy is “why waste time starting unnecessary applications?” but this is also about the fact that I use Darktable to organize my photo collection. Some don’t, they use other applications for this (see above) or they just use the file manager of their OS.
Still, if you choose to do so, you still have to import everything into Darktable so it knows where to find them. Darktable keeps a database of all image locations and all edits. An important note is that when importing from the hard drive, Darktable never moves the files. It doesn’t put them into a large internal “bag” like Apple’s iPhoto used to do. It is all about noticing where the files are.
This is just as easy as importing from camera, or even easier. All you have to do is navigate to the right folder and click the Import button.
The term “metadata” is often explained as “data about data”. In the case of photography we mean all the extra data that is attached to an image. Our cameras add EXIF metadata, such as camera model, lens model, focal length, shutter speed and so on. In post production we can add titles, descriptions, keywords (tags) and other data to help us organize our images. All of this is easily handled by Darktable.
The video below explains everything (I hope) about importing and the use of metadata in Darktable:
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