Improve Photos Automagically with aaphoto

Dmitri Popov

Productivity Sauce

Jul 23, 2012 GMT
Dmitri Popov

For many photographers and shutterbugs, post-processing photos is an important part of the creative process. But there are situations when you want to improve your shots without going through the photo editing rigmaroles. And this is when aaphoto can come in rather handy. This simple utility lets you improve photos using a single command. aaphoto is available in the software repositories of many popular Linux distributions, so you can install it using your distro's package manager. On Debian and Ubuntu, you can do this by running the apt-get install aaphoto command as root. Alternatively, you can grab a compiled binary from the project's website, or compile aaphoto from the source.

aaphoto attempts to improve photos by analyzing their histograms and then adjusting key settings such as contrast, color balance, saturation and gamma levels accordingly. Although sometimes the results can be hit and miss, aaphoto usually does a decent job of improving photos. Using aaphoto couldn't be easier: run the aaphoto foo.jpg command (replace foo.jpg with the actual name of the source photo), and the utility automatically generates a new improved version of the photo. aaphoto can handle many popular image formats, including JPEG, JPEG 2000, and PNG. Although the utility only requires you to specify the name of the source image file, aaphoto supports a handful of other options, too. The --jpg and --png options specify the output file format, the --resize option resizes the photo to a specified dimension, while the --quality option modifies the image quality of the output file:

aaphoto --png --resize50% --quality95 foo.jpg

To view a full list of supported options, use the aaphoto --help command. Obviously, aaphoto won't replace a dedicated photo editing application, but if you need to improve a few snaps without too much hassle, this utility is just the ticket.

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