How to Avoid Losing Original Images in Photoshop

It’s irritating and tiresome if you lose the original images after editing them in Photoshop? But, it’s easy to avoid losing original images in Photoshop.

Here, in this article, I have described my favorite ways (a total of three easily followable ) to avoid this problem ever happening. Also, I will share tips on how you can save the original image along with the changes you make in Photoshop. 

So, let’s jump into it.

Avoid Losing Original Images in Photoshop

We make mistakes so often. It’s the nature of humans to keep forgetting things. Likewise, you can avoid making the same mistakes easily. 

Avoid Losing Original Images in Photoshop

Here is how…  

Tip #1: Save the Image as a Copy 

First, you can make a duplicate of the image before opening it in Photoshop.  Before opening the image in Photoshop, make a second copy of the image.

Save the Image as a Copy

To make a duplicate of an existing image/file- 

  • First, go to the top right side of your pc screen. You can see the file name. In this case, The file name is “Wedding.jpg”.
file name is “Wedding.jpg”
  • At this point, If you make any changes in the image then save the changes. For saving the picture, Hit the File menu which is in the Menu Bar
  • After clicking on the File menu you can see that the Save As option. Keep in mind that you don’t do any overwrite in the raw file. Because it’s not good. Save the image as a copy, for that you can avoid overwriting the file. 

 Save The Images 

After clicking on the Save As an option, a dialog box will be open. In there, you need to give the file name. After writing the name then click on the Save option.

Save As an option

Save The Images

If you are working with the JPEG file then Photoshop will open a dialog box. In the dialog box, select the Maximum quality of the image like 12. And in the format options, you can see the Baseline Optimized option, click on it. Next click Ok Option.

Baseline Optimized option

Now again, go to the document’s tab. YOu can see the file name “Wedding_COPY.jpg”. That you changed before when you were saving the file. 

That means you were working on a copy of the photo. For that, your original file will be safe. After finishing all of the photo editings, you need to save the copy. Don’t the original file. 

copy of the photo

Edit the image

For editing the image you need to go to the Image menu. After that, select the adjustments then select the Desaturate. I mean Going to Image > Adjustments > Desaturate. Here’s the picture:

select the Desaturate

That’s not the better way to transform the photo into black and white. But it’s good for our purposes. It’s just desaturating the picture color:

desaturating the picture color

Save and close the document

Now it’s time to save your work. Hit the File menu which is on the Menu bar. Click on Save:

Save the document

Next, you have to close the document. So again go to the File menu. And select the close Option.

close the document

Again Open the Original Image

Again you need to open the Original Image. So, reopen the image. To reopen the image, go to the Home Screen. In the Home Screen, you can see the thumbnails which you opened before.

go to the Home Screen

Look at the picture, You can see the copy file which is on the left side of your pc. But now you need to reopen the original file. So, click on the original thumbnail.

click on the original thumbnail


So, now you can see the original image which reopens in Photoshop. See it’s color is intact yet.

original image reopens in Photoshop

Tip #2: Save your file as a PSD. Format

This second tip is relevant to the first tip. In the first tip, you save the image in the JPEG. format. But the next step, Save the image in PSD format.

 If you want to overwrite the original image then the PSD file won’t prevent you from doing that while keeping the originals too. 

Save the image as a Photoshop document

To save the file in the PSD format. Hit the File Menu and select the Save As option.

select the Save As option

Then a dialog box will be open. After that, you can change the Image Format. Here, the file extension will be PSD Format. I believe you know that, PSD. stands for “Photoshop Document”. After giving a name with PSD Format, click on the save option.

change the Image PSD Format

Now, look at the Document’s Tab. you can see the name with Psd. format. 

name with Psd. format

Tip #3: Work on a Separate Layer

In this third part, you need to edit the photo on a separate layer. Keep in mind that you saved the image file as a Photoshop document. 

Look at the layers panel, you can see the image open on a background layer.

image open on a background layer

It’s better to edit the photo on a separate layer. For that, you won’t lose the original photo, when you start making changes to the layer.

Copy a Layer

For making a copy of the background layer, click on the Layer Menu then select the New. After that, select the Layer Via Copy option

On the other hand, Press the keyboard shortcut. Press on Ctrl+j for windows. At last, for Mac click on Command+j.

Layer Via Copy option

You can see the Layers panel appearing on both layers.

appearing on both layers

When you are going to convert the image to black and white, you need to do double-click on Layer 1. And rename the layer. After that, tap on entering for windows and return for Mac.  

convert the image to black and white

Applying a Black & White Image Adjustment

In the first tip, I removed the color from the photo by using Desaturate Command. But the right way is to convert the image to black and white with Image Adjustments.

However, here I make B&H adjustments in an image to demonstrate this method. Hence, you can apply the same method while doing other edits like –   Fixing grainy photos or making gifs in Photoshop

For that, you have to go to the Image menu. Select Adjustments and finally click on the Black and White option. 

click on the Black and White option

After clicking the Black and white option, you’ll get a dialog box. And the dialog box includes many kinds of sliders. which you need to drag to adjust the brightness and different parts of the image that depend on the picture’s original color.

 After completing all of the adjustments, click on the Auto button, and then click on the Ok option for closing the Dialog box.

Black and white dialog box

After applying all of the Adjustments, the picture will be look like these:

Adjustment the picture

Keeping the Edits Separate from The Original

Look at the layers panel, you can see the converted one layer to Black and white. But the original picture is still in color if you see the background layer.

converted layer to Black and white

If you want the Black and white layer off then press on the Visibility Icon.

Black and white layer off

Now look at the original image color:

look at the original image color

Next, you want the Black and White layer back. Then again press on the visibility icon

Black and White layer back

Then get back to the Black and white photo.

back to Black and white photo

The best idea about PSD format is that the layers are saved with them. For that, you can reopen the document. And turn the different versions of the image at a time.

You may read:

Ultimate Guide To White Background Product Photography

11 Ways to Avoid Image Copyright

A Complete Guide to Mask an Image

Closing the Document Immediately You Finished Editing in Photoshop

For saving the document you can go to the File menu and select the Save option.

 select the Save option

When the Photoshop will ask you about Maximizing Compatibility, then click just ok.

Maximizing Compatibility

Now, you can close the document. For that, Return to the File menu and click on the Close option.

click on the Close option


Get back to the home screen and you can see the Original JPEG format which is in the middle of the picture. And the updated Psd format image is on the left side of the picture. Notice that the PSD. Format thumbnail, it’s color is appearing Black and White. Because you turned on the layer in Black and white. Furthermore, By pressing on the thumbnail you can reopen the PSD. format.

When you reopen the PSD. format, both layers are still intact. Now you can create changes apart from losing access to the original image:

losing access to the original image

Intact both layers.

Intact both layers

Tip #4: Use Adjustment Layers

This method is useful to save the original image with the modifications. Also, I use this method while I create a Clipping Path or Retouch a Photo

Here you can use the adjustment layers. This is a special type of layer. The adjustment layer makes the photo editable. 

Go to the Layers panel, and delete the “Black and white” layer. So, drag it down to the trash bin:

Black and white layer

Now return to the original image which is on the background layer.

original image on background layer

Image adjustments vs adjustment layers

For image adjustments in Photoshop, you need to go to the Image Menu first. Then select the Adjustments. But the Adjustments are static. 

select the Adjustments

However, Image adjustments are available as adjustment layers. The Adjustment layer can’t make permanent changes. 

Photoshop’s Adjustment Layers

For adding the adjustments layer, you need to go to the layers panel. After that press on the Adjustment Layer and New fill Icon which is at the bottom of the Layers panel.

Icon at the bottom Layers panel

Most of the image adjustments are available as adjustments layers. 

image adjustments layers

How to use an adjustment layer

For Instance, you are choosing the Black and white option for adjustment from the adjustment layer.

choosing the Black and white

After adding the adjustment layer, it is shown as its separate layer in the layers panel.

Black and white adjustment's

And by using the properties panel, you can control the adjustments. Here you can see the same auto button and same color sliders that you saw in the previous Black and white adjustment’s dialog box.

adjustment's dialog box

But the ok and cancel buttons, you can’t see here. Because you didn’t apply the settings of the image. Now click on the Auto button.

click on the Auto button

And you will get the same result which you did from the standard image adjustment.

standard image adjustment

Saving and closing the document

For saving the document, you need to go to the File Menu and select the Save option.

the Save option

Next, when you want to close the document then go to the File Menu and select the Close Option.

Close Option

Reopening the Photoshop document

You need to return to the Home Screen and reopen the Photoshop document by pressing its thumbnail.

Reopening the Photoshop document

And you can see the reopen document. The adjustment layers and original layers are still intact.

 intact adjustment layers and original layers

Hiding and Showing the Adjustment Layer

Toggle the adjustment layer on and off by pressing on the Visibility Icon which is in the layers panel. For showing the original image then turn the layer off. 

pressing on the Visibility Icon

Edit The adjustment layer

Adjustment layers remain editable but the standard image adjustments are not permanent. If you don’t see the options in the properties panel, keep in mind that the adjustment layers are chosen in the layers panel.

chosen in the layers panel

If you want to make any changes that you need then do that by using the properties panel. After completing all of this, restore the original image by turning off the adjustment layer. Or save out the picture in the JPEG effect.

On the other hand, just save and close the Photoshop document.

turning off the adjustment layer

Conclusion on Losing Original Images in Photoshop

By using these methods you can avoid losing your original image in Photoshop! But, it depends on your awareness while working.

So, make a habit, perform one of those methods even if you do not need the image later. Because mistakes can happen and you always have options to delete it afterward.

You may also read:

Best Photoshop Photo Editing Services for Photographers

What Photo Editing Software Should a Beginner Use in 2020?

Photoshop Liquify Tool Guide: How To Use the Liquify Tool

Easy Steps for Sports Photo Editing in Photoshop [ Pro Tips With Images]