Category Archives: Lightroom 3

Lightroom 3 – Using Virtual Copies to preserve crops

I have not used this method on Lightroom 2, but it should work since the functionality was there to create Virtual Copies.

When working with images in Lightroom there are times when I want to maintain multiple crops of the same image. In the past I have had to change the crop setting on the image to accomplish different views of the same photo and lost the original crop in the process. I have now modified my workflow to accommodate multiple crops to the same image using the virtual copy. The process I use follows.

Develop View

Open image in the Develop View and perform the corrections to the image. Your screen will appear similar to this:

Once the image correction is complete it is time become creative and crop it. Before you start cropping place your cursor somewhere on the image and open the options drop down menu by pressing CTRL and clicking with the mouse or right click with the mouse. You should now see a menu similar to the one below.

From the dropdown select “Create Virtual Copy”, creating a virtual copy of your image. (This image does not take ¬†up space on you drive since it is a representation of the original file not a bit copy of it.) The image you are now looking at is the virtual copy so any changes you make will not impact the original file.

Now crop your image to suit your needs, in a project that I worked on I need 5×7 images so I cropped to a set ratio of 5×7.

Library View

Once you have completed your desired changes to the image return to the Library and you will see two files with the same name similar to this:

The file with the turned up corner at the bottom is the virtual copy and the one that you just performed your cropping on. Select the virtual copy and open the side panel containing the metadata. Open the Metadata window and you will see the File Name and Copy Name displayed similar to this:

In this case the file was the first copy so the Copy Name is “Copy 1”, ¬†useful information, but not what I would like to see. Select Copy 1, delete it, and enter the information that is more meaningful to you. Since I cropped this image to 5×7, I place that information into the copy name for future reference.

Now when I look at this file I know that it is cropped to 5×7 not some other size. This provids me with a quick reference that I can now use to make my life even easier using quick collections – a topic of a future post.

Hope this helps some of you save time and become more organized. Let me know what you think and if there is any additional information that you would like to see in a future post.