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I think virtual copies are useful if you want to have different versions of the same image but I'm not sure there is any advantage to having virtual copies of the same image for keywording purposes.

As Paulette says, different people have different needs.

 

I actually have an aversion to colour labels so using virtual copies for sorting based on colour labels isn't part of my workflow. Like you (apparently), I prefer the power of non-exporting keywords for any workflow sorting into Smart Collections.

 

However, I know may way around quite a few photographic apps well enough to think outside the box when others have different needs. And Foreign Export asked specifically about colour labels so that's what I answered, although I mentioned keywords too.

 

But otherwise, I agree with you - non-exporting keywords FTW (in Lightroom).

Edited by Russell Watkins

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As an appendix to the above, there are a few DAM gurus (like John Beardsworth) who deprecate the use of keywords for sorting in this way. 

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Vive la différence and each to his/her own 

 

I don’t use virtual copies but I can see how they could be very useful when producing different versions of the same image for whatever purpose - e.g different agencies. I may be missing the point here but I am not clear on the advantages of using them for record keeping. The simpler the better for me but then what appears complex to me may appear simple to somebody else. 

 

For me, when making records that are intended to be permanent, I prefer to avoid anything that is specific to a particular program, as such features may not or probably will not transfer to a new system. Labels and virtual copies are Adobe or Lightroom specific. 

 

I find labels are good for visual cues in sorting images for keeping, submitting etc but are too easily accidentally changed, so they are good in conjunction with keywords (or other metadata fields that travel with the image if one prefers) but a bit dodgy on their own. 

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