Learn Photography

Lightroom >

Workflow > 5 - Develop Module

Make a Virtual Copy

Click on a preview that you want to edit and press Ctrl + ' (Windows) or Cmd + ' (Mac).

A virtual copy appears, denoted by a white turned-up corner.


Virtual copies don't take up any appreciable space on your hard drive.

You'll edit the virtual copy.

Go to the Develop Module

Press d on your keyboard to go to the Develop module or click Develop at the top of your screen.

Global > Local > Global

When editing, make global changes first.

Global changes affect the entire photograph, such as white balance and exposure.

Then, do local editing.

Local editing affects parts of your photograph, such as burning and dodging (darkening/brightening) with the Adjustment brush.

Finally, you go back to do some more global editing: sharpening and noise reduction.

Do the following.

1 - Global

Start with the Basic panel on the right side of your screen: WB (white balance) and Tone.

2 - Local

Use the tools above the Basic panel, such as the Adjustment brush.

3 - Global

Use the Detail panel for sharpening and noise reduction.

Raw files need sharpening, while JPEG files may not.

High-ISO photographs may need noise reduction.

Make Another Virtual Copy

You may want to make another virtual copy as you work.

For example, make a second virtual copy when you're:

• About to convert a color photograph to black-and-white.

Make a second virtual copy and then convert it to black-and-white.

• Going to make a print.

Make another virtual copy and tweak it so it prints better.

If you need another virtual copy, select the original virtual copy.

Then, press Ctrl + ' (Windows) or Cmd + ' (Mac).


Go to How to Edit/Best Practices for more detailed editing workflow.