One of the most used features in my Lightroom workflow are virtual copies. I do this a ton in both my client and personal work, where I want to experiment with different adjustments on an image.

I might make one virtual copy black and white, or apply a film-look preset to another virtual copy. Or I might apply a slightly different tone to one virtual copy versus another.

ON1 Photo RAW 2018 introduces Versions, a way to achieve the same function. Download a fully functional trial version here.

Getting Started with Versions

For me, I love to take pictures of food and drink when I’m out and about. It makes me think creatively in terms of angles and lighting, and I love playing around with different looks once I bring them back to my computer.

Before I even think about creating different versions of a photo, I usually apply some basic “global edits” that I know I’m going to want. This might mean leveling and cropping the photo, adjusting exposure, highlights, etc. In a dark bar scene, this might mean applying a local noise reduction brush.

From there, I can create my different versions.

Creating versions in ON1 Photo RAW 2018 is super simple. I right-click on a photo in the Browser, Develop or Effects modes, and select “Create Version.” Alternatively, I can select a photo and go up to Settings > Create Version.

Once you’ve created the versions, you can treat them like any other file. While they’re tied to the main file you just versioned, they are separate files on your hard drive, and you can treat them as such. They’ll have different titles, metadata, you name it.

After you’re satisfied with your versions, you can compare your favorites in the ON1 Photo RAW Compare view. This will enable you to select which photo you’d like to move forward with, whether it be exporting or creating further edits.

When to Use Versions

I use versions not only when I want to play around with different looks, but also when I’m deciding how to crop a picture or make those fine-toothed edits that separate a good image from a great image.

For instance, if I’m photographing a theatrical performance, I might want to adjust the black levels depending on the look that would best represent the show. I might also want to selectively add contrast to certain areas versus the whole image, and using versions would allow me to compare the two images to choose the final one to send to my client.

If you want to get started and try out ON1 Photo RAW 2018 for free, click here.

Here’s a video from ON1 explaining how to use versions in ON1 Photo RAW 2018: