Reverting to Original Photo


Today’s Question: I have routinely edited or processed my original raw images in Lightroom Classic. Now I have a reason to go back to the original raw image, but I am not sure how. Maybe I should have created a “Virtual Copy” and performed all my processing on that version? Can I get back to the original now?

Tim’s Quick Answer: You can indeed reset to the original version of a raw capture in Lightroom Classic by clicking the Reset button at the bottom of the right panel in the Develop module. If you want to preserve the edited version of the image you can create a virtual copy before using the reset option.

More Detail: All of the adjustments you apply in the Develop module in Lightroom Classic are non-destructive, meaning they don’t actually alter the original image file on your hard drive. That means you can modify or reset any (or all) of the adjustments you’ve applied.

If you want to keep both the edited version and the original version of the photo, you can create a virtual copy first. Simply right-click on the photo in question and choose “Create Virtual Copy” from the popup menu that appears. This virtual copy will have the exact same adjustment settings as the original photo.

You can then select either the original photo or the virtual copy and click the Reset button at the bottom of the right panel in the Develop module to reset all adjustments to their defaults. You could then apply new adjustments to that image after resetting it, or simply retain the original version for reference.

Note, by the way, that creating a virtual copy does not create a copy of the original image file, so it does not consume any real hard drive space. It is simply another set of metadata for the same source image. So the original image will have one set of adjustments in the Develop module, and the virtual copy can have a different set of adjustments.