You can test different Lightroom effects using the software’s Virtual Copies feature. Find out how this tool can dramatically speed up your photo editing time.
Photography is all about making decisions – on lighting, composition, exposure, equipment and a hundred other things. But the decision making doesn’t necessarily stop when you put down the camera.
Post-processing options are enormous, from simple tonal tweaks to mono conversions, photo fixes and all manner of effects. With so many choices, an image’s journey from start to finish will invariably involve a few dead ends and U-turns along the way.
Adobe Lightroom makes the journey much smoother with useful workflow features such as Virtual Copies. Changes made to Virtual Copies in Lightroom are saved as extra data alongside the original image.
Not only does this make Lightroom the perfect tool for editing your raw files, it also means you can create several Virtual Copies of an image to try different treatments without clogging up your drive.
How Virtual Copies lets you experiment with different Lightroom effects
01 Make a Virtual Copy
Open Lightroom and go to the Library Module. Click Import and navigate to your start image, then hit Import. Next go to the Develop Module. In the filmstrip at the bottom, right-click the image thumbnail and choose Create Virtual Copy.
02 Improve the colours
We’ll begin by creating an improved colour version of the image. Go to the Basic Panel on the right and set Temp 5400, Tint+30, Highlights -80, Shadows +47, Whites -54, Clarity +5, Saturation +10. Next hit Cmd/Ctrl+’ to make a second Virtual Copy.
03 Convert to monochrome
This time we’ll apply a punchy black and white treatment. Go to the Preset Panel on the left and choose Green Filter within Lightroom B&W Filter Presets. It’s a little dark so go back to the Basic Panel and lift Shadows to +40, then set Clarity to +60 to add punch.
04 Make another copy
Switch to the Crop tool and use it to crop in slightly tighter and straighten the horizon. Next press Cmd/Ctrl+’ again to make a fourth Virtual Copy. Right click the thumbnail in the filmstrip and choose Develop Settings>Reset to clear all the previous settings.
05 Add a retro effect
This time we’ll apply a trendy retro finish. Go back to the Preset Panel and choose Cold Tone in Lightroom Color Presets. Next go down to the Lightroom Effects Presets and click Grain – Medium, then Rounded Corners Black. Set Exposure to +0.40.
06 Export the images
Finally, we’ll export our four images as TIFFs. In the filmstrip, hold down Shift and click the first of the four copies to select them all. Go to File> Export. In the Export box, choose a save location, then go to the File Settings and choose Image Format: TIFF. Hit Export.
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