In this video from our Lightroom 4 A to Z Workshop on DVD, we will demonstrate how to create 3 different Snapshots of the same image in Lightroom 4, and we will also discuss the different Snapshot options available.

A Snapshot is a record of an image’s editing at a certain point in its processing.

In addition, we will explain the difference between Virtual Copies and Snapshots. Watch the video or continue reading the article below!

Watch the Video

1. Basic Color Corrected Version

We will create 3 different Snapshots of the image below.


The first snapshot we will create is a color corrected version of the image. In the Basic Panel (“Ctrl + 1”), brighten up the image by bringing Exposure up to 0.99. Then, increase Contrast to +60 and boost up Highlights to +20 to brighten up the image a little more. Next, pull down Shadows to -20 and add some white to the image by pulling Whites up to +15. Then, add some pure black to the image by pulling Blacks down to -10. To give the image a cooler feel to it, bring Temperature down to 5600. Next, increase Clarity up to +40 and pull Vibrance up to +20. Below are the adjustments we made in the Basic Panel.


Below is the Basic Color Corrected version of our image.


Now that we have adjusted the settings for the color corrected version, it is time to create a Snapshot of the image. Click on the “+” sign in the Snapshots Panel to create a Snapshot. After you click on the “+” sign, the New Snapshot Dialogue Box will appear. Here, name this version of the image “Basic Color Corrected” and click on “Create.”


2. Black and White Version

Next, we are going to create a black and white version of the image. First, press “V” to convert the image to black and white. (Or just click “Black & White” in the “Treatment” bar at the top of the Basic Develop panel.)

Then, let’s make some more adjustments. Brighten up the image a little more by bringing Exposure up to +1.12. Then, add a little more blacks into the image by bringing Blacks down to -30. Bring Clarity up to +60, and by now we can really see a difference in this version. Below are the adjustments made in the Basic Panel.


Below is the Black and White version of the image.


Finally, add this snapshot by clicking on the “+” sign again and name this version “Black and White.” Then, click on “Create.”

3. Black and White Duo-Toned Version

The third version we will create of the image is a black and white duo-toned one. A duo-toned image is when you split-tone a black and white image. First, expand the Split Toning Panel by pressing “Ctrl + 4.” We will add some yellow tones in the Highlights and some red tones in the Shadows.



Next, we are going to leave the image more on the yellow side, so take Balance up towards Highlights. Below are the adjustments we made in the Split Toning Panel.


Below is the Black and White Duotoned version of our image.


Then, add this as another snapshot and name this version “B&W Duotoned.” We now have 3 versions of the image in the Snapshots Panel.


Snapshots vs. Virtual Copies

Now that we have 3 different versions for this one image, we will discuss the difference between Snapshots and Virtual Copies.

When we export this one image that has three snapshots, the only image that will be exported is whichever Snapshot was applied last.  This is because the Snapshots Panel just allows you to create different versions of the image, but only one of the Snapshots will be active and exported at a time.

However, if we create three separate Virtual Copies instead, and apply the different edits to those three images, then all 3 versions will be exported!

To create a Virtual Copy of an image, simply press [Ctrl + ’]. (That is, the CTRL key on a PC, or the CMD key on a Mac, plus the apostrophe or quotation key.)   Then, once you’ve created one or two virtual copies, you can edit them however you like and export all of those copies as separate images.


Snapshot Options

There are still a couple more options to learn about with Snapshots, so let’s go over those before we wrap up.

When you right-click on a Snapshot, a few options appear in the dropdown menu.


1. Copy Snapshot Settings to Before
After you make adjustments to an image , you can go back and see what your original image looked like by pressing the “\” key

However if you select the option “Copy Snapshot Settings to Before”, then it will set the selected Snapshot as the “Before” image that is revealed when pressing the “\” key.

For example, if I set the Black and White Snapshot as the “Before” image, then select the B&W Duotoned Snapshot and press “\,” I will be comparing those two snapshots, and not the original, un-edited image.

2. Rename
This option simply allows us to rename the Snapshot.

3. Update with Current Settings
This option allows us to take the current settings from whatever we adjusted and update a Snapshot with the current settings.  (You’re better off just making a new snapshot!)

4. Delete
This option deletes the Snapshot from the Snapshots Panel. You can also delete the Snapshots by clicking on the “-” sign in the Snapshots Panel.  (Snapshots barely take up any space on your computer, so don’t bother deleting them unless you have a very good reason to!)

Conclusion & Learn More

Snapshots are great if you want save your progress on a complex image edit, or create different versions of the image and only export one of those versions.

However if you need to export multiple versions of  one image, we recommend that you create Virtual Copies of your images instead. You can still export every Snapshot you create; however, this will be more time-consuming as you can only export one Snapshot at a time as opposed to exporting Virtual Copies all at once.

We hope you enjoyed this article and video excerpt from the Lightroom 4 A to Z Workshop on DVD. Stay tuned for our next article and episode!

The Lightroom 4 A to Z Workshop on DVD is a 14 hour video workshop turning any Lightroom novice into a complete master of Lightroom 4 in no time! The Lightroom 4 A to Z Workshop can be purchased by itself, or within the Lightroom 4 Workshop Collection which also contains our award winning and industry standard Lightroom 4 Preset System, as well as the Lightroom 4 Workflow System.