Project Description

Virtual copies enable you to edit multiple variations of a single photo without filling up disk space with duplicate image files. You can create as many virtual copies as you want, so you can creatively experiment with a variety of creative looks. Learn how easy it is to work with virtual copies in this video.

Photo: Andrea Livieri


A virtual copy is a copy of a photo that does not result in a duplicate file being created on your hard drive. Instead, Exposure stores the copy information in the master photo’s metadata.

It’s good to remember that Exposure is a non-destructive editor. This means that no matter how you edit -- virtual copies or not -- your original files are never touched.

Virtual copies enable you to edit multiple variations of a single photo, without taking up additional disk space with image file duplicates. When it comes to making creative edits, you can edit virtual copies just like you’d edit your original image.

First, I’ll make a few basic adjustments to the master image and then right-click and select Create Virtual Copy.

Notice in the filmstrip that there’s a turned-up corner in the lower left, to indicate the virtual copy.

In the image header and the Metadata panel, Exposure lists the image as “Copy 1.” You can edit this field. I’ll rename it to describe the preset that I applied.

I’ll switch my layout view to Horizontal, so I can see the master image and the virtual copy beside one another.

Virtual copies inherit any edits that you’ve made to your master image up until that point, so this virtual copy has the basic edits that I just made. But if additional edits are made to the master image after creating a virtual copy, those edits won’t apply to the virtual copy.

Now I’ll make edits to the virtual copy.

I’ll start with a preset. Then, from the Graduated Filters category, I’ll drag and drop Exposure’s Color Wash -- Orange preset. And I’ll adjust the opacity to taste.

Now I’ll add two more graduated filter presets as two new layers: Darken Sides, and then Darken Sky. I’ll adjust each one of them as needed.

You can make as many virtual copies as you want, and you can also make virtual copies from other virtual copies. I’ll do that now.

I’ll experiment with black and white looks on this additional virtual copy.

To shift the focus back to the original master image, right-click a virtual copy and choose Jump to Master.

I like this look. I’ll export this edit as a final image.