Laura Shoe's Lightroom (and Occasionally Photoshop) Blog for Digital Photographers

Virtual Copies in Lightroom

In Uncategorized on March 30, 2009 at 11:16 am

I wrote a post recently about making snapshots while you work  so that you can explore different versions of your image — for example, a black and white and a color version —  with the goal of having just one version in the end.

If you want to end up with two or more versions — to export to share with others, or to use in the output modules, you can do so with virtual copies.  Simply right click on your image and select “Create Virtual Copy”.   You’ll see in Library Grid view or in your filmstrip that you now have two copies, and that the second one has a bent page corner symbol, indicating that it is a virtual copy.

Virtual Copy

You can now work on this second one as a completely independent image, converting it to black and white, cropping it differently than the first one, etc, etc.

Why is it called a virtual copy?  Because no duplicate of your original file is created.  A virtual copy is simply a second set of instructions to be applied to the one original file.  The days of having many different copies of your images on your hard drive for different purposes are over!

If you use virtual copies, leave a comment here sharing what you use them for.

  1. i am a wedding photographer. virtual copies make me”virtually” happy… they save my time through my work flow. “the folded corners” images are well attached to the image i liked in first place. there is no need for opening many files, saving them and giving them new names, like i used to do in photoshop. virtual copies just live side by side to the main image and i can be very creative what to make of them; a black and white version of color, sepia, with a vignette or without. really cool feature!

  2. […] of great Lightroom tips there that our readers may be interested. From the Crop Tool and Color to Virtual Copies and question marks, Laura is busy answering questions submitted by her […]

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