(The Lightroom video tutorial in this post is just under the introductory text below. The working files for this article can be downloaded below.)

Virtual Copies are one of the most powerful features that Lightroom has as a non-destructive editor. By creating Virtual Copies, you are creating duplicates of the image settings rather than duplicates of the image itself.

This means that not only do Virtual Copies take practically no space on your hard drive, they allow you to create different versions of the same image with different develop settings.

For example, if an image works in both color as well as black and white, you can create a virtual copy of the image, one in color and one in black and white without actually duplicating the image itself. Then, when you go to export the image, Lightroom will automatically export two versions of the same image, one with the color settings, and one with the black and white settings on the virtual copy.

There is no limit to how many virtual copies you can create for each image and deleting virtual copies doesn’t affect the original.

This Lightroom video tutorial will introduce you to virtual copies and how we use them in our workflow. This is a simple feature in Lightroom, but one that should be learned well as we will be constantly creating and using virtual copies throughout our Develop Module tutorials.


Exercise File Download Links:

Note: These images have been provided to the SLR Lounge users courtesy of Lin and Jirsa Photography and Undfind for educational purposes only.

Full RAW Exercise Files (552MB) – For faster connections. The full RAW files will allow you to follow the tutorials while achieving the exact same results as shown.
JPEG Exercise Files (129MB) – For slower connections. The JPEG files will allow you to follow the tutorials, although the results may vary due to not having the image details of the full RAW file.
Lightroom Catalog – There are no new changes made to the Lightroom Catalog in this article.

Related Product Offers Recommended by SLR Lounge

1) Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 – As of April 25, 2011 – Among the larger reputable dealers, the lowest price we found for Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 is $264.77 (Free Shipping) through Amazon. Click any of these links to take you to the offer.

Click here to purchase Adobe Lightroom 3 from Amazon.com

2) Student and Teacher Editions of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 – For teachers and students, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 is available for $89 through the Adobe Educational Purchasing Site.

Post Production Pye
SLR Lounge Senior Editor
Partner ofLin and Jirsa Photography