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

Stay Organized — Name Your Virtual Copies

In Uncategorized on August 4, 2011 at 9:09 am

If you want different versions of an image, such as with different crops or both a black and white and color one, you can create virtual copies.   These aren’t duplicates of your file — you will still just have one file on your hard drive, but multiple sets of Develop instructions for that file.  To create a virtual copy, right-click on your image and select Create Virtual Copy.  In the filmstrip you will see that the virtual copy has a turned-up page corner (if your filmstrip is big enough), and that Lightroom automatically stacks (links) the two together.

You probably already knew all that, but did you know that you can name them?  They are actually automatically named Copy 1, Copy 2, etc…  This isn’t the File Name, but rather the Copy Name, which is another metadata field.  As you hover over the virtual copy in the filmstrip, it shows the Copy Name after the file name (see above).   I always use this field to document what the virtual copy is for — otherwise I end up with lots of virtual copies that I can’t for the life of me remember why I created.

Changing the name requires going to the Metadata panel in the Library module — scroll all the way down on the right side.   Simply click  and type in the Copy Name field and then hit Enter/Return.

I also find it useful to display the Copy Name above my thumbnails in Grid view in the Library Module:

You can do this by going to View>View Options, and setting the following circled in Red:

When you export virtual copies, you can also rename the exported copies to include the Copy Name.  In the Filename Template Editor, Copy Name is under the dropdown called Original Filename.

I’m not going to go into how to use the template editor here, but I do have a video on using it  HERE.   It’s an old one, so (a) it uses Lightroom 2, but there have been no changes, and (b) you’ll need to turn the volume way up.  (I have of course since learned how to do this in the video production!)

So you can see how handy and easy it is to name your virtual copies — so I say, just do it!


Follow me on Twitter

Find me on Facebook

  1. Hey – that’s very cool. And answers a question I’ve had for a while, which is how to preserve various versions of images where I want to keep my Develop histories and still be able to search for them later.


  2. […] Shoe has lots of goodies for those wanting to learn Lightroom.  Go watch and then maybe help her out […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s