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How to Use Virtual Copies in Lightroom

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Learn how to create multiple versions of your photos and save disk space by using Virtual Copies in Lightroom – your clients will love you for it!

Skills You Will Learn

  • Coloring
  • Tone

How to Create Virtual Copies

To create a virtual copy of an image in Lightroom, simply right-click on an image and go to ‘Create Virtual Copy’. No additional files will be created on your computer, these copies are references of the original image stored in the Lightroom catalog.

Create Multiple Versions of Each Image

Creating Virtual Copies will allow you to have multiple edited versions of your images that you can then send to your clients.

In this example we create two Virtual Copies of our main image and make one of the copies ‘Black & White’ and another ‘Sepia’. These edits take very little time and make it look like you are delivering much more!

Sync Settings and Presets

After creating ‘Black & White’ and ‘Sepia’ toned images, the same develop settings can be applied to multiple images in a catalog. To sync settings, simply click on the source image, then CTRL/CMD+CLICK on the second image in a series and go to ’Sync Settings’ in the Library module. Click on ’Check All’ and click ’Synchronize’. The develop settings you applied on the first image will be transferred onto the rest of the images selected in the Sync.

If you would like to create a Preset, start by clicking on the ‘Develop’ module at the top of the Screen and go to ‘Presets’ on the left hand side. After making Adjustments, click on the ‘+’ icon in the Presets Screen and name your preset under ‘User Presets’.

You can apply this Preset to any image moving forward simply by clicking on the preset name in the Preset window.

Exporting Virtual Copies

In this example, we create a ‘Color’, ‘Black & White’ and ‘Sepia’ version of two images and want each to be exported by editing Style.

Start by selecting each of the Variations and right-clicking to navigate to Export. For naming convenience, click on the ‘Rename’ option and choose ‘Filename – Sequence’ and type in a name for the editing Variation. Export to “Choose Folder Later’ and then create a folder name that mirrors the editing name on your computer and place the images in that folder.

In this example, we create folders named ‘Color’ ‘BW’ and ‘Sepia’ and export each edited Variation into each of the folders.

This way, when it comes time to deliver images to your clients, they will receive pre-sorted folders with different Variations in each!

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