Labeling Virtual Copies

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Today’s Question: I work in Lightroom and create virtual copies for variations on images. I would like to identify them, such as “more prominence to main subject”, “For client X”, or “cropped for 8×10”. If I change the filename on any of the virtual copies, it changes the filename on all and on the original. How can I label different virtual copies made for different purposes?

Tim’s Quick Answer: For this purpose I would suggest adding text to a field in metadata, such as the “User Comment” field available in the EXIF metadata.

More Detail: Renaming a photo can certainly help provide additional details about an image, but in the context of virtual copies in Lightroom this is not a good solution. Instead, I suggest adding information to metadata to reflect the notes you want to maintain for the image.

As you’ve probably noticed, there are a great many fields available in metadata that you aren’t likely to use. I recommend finding one of these fields that you aren’t likely to use for another purpose, and that makes sense for keeping notes about your photos.

For example, I would not generally recommend using the Title and Caption fields in metadata for this type of note about a photo, because those fields may be used for other purposes. For example, the Title can be used to label an image automatically when you share to online services such as Facebook.

So, the User Comment field is a good fit, I think, and you may find other fields that also represent a good option for this type of note, or for other details you want to remember about a photo.