How to use Snapchat Filters

Before we learn how to use Snapchat Filters, it is imperative that you know the difference between filters and lenses.

Although both the terms ‘filters’ and ‘lenses’ are, most times, simply called Filters on Snapchat, they are not the same.

Filters are layovers that you can add to your photos; lenses however are special effects that you can add to your photos and videos. Theses special effects (lenses) are built mostly to warp or distort your face.

how to use snapchat filters

Filters are of two types — default filters (color tones, time, temperature, etc.) and Geofilters. Geofilters are Snapchat filters that are only available around a specific geographical radius. Geofilters can be of two types — community geofilters and on-demand geofilters. Community Geofilters are filters created by artists and designers around a certain city, festivals, landmark, school, establishments, historic places, etc. On-demand Geofilters, however, are filters created specifically for an occasion, event (weddings, birthdays, etc.) or for a brand (advertisements).

A thorough discussion on the differences between filters and lenses have been covered in another post, so we shall not go into details here. However, for the integrity of this post, we shall refer to both Snapchat lenses and filters simply as ‘Filters’, unless otherwise mentioned.

How to Activate Snapchat Filters

By default, there are about 8 Snapchat filters that are available to you. These can be readily accessed without having to activate the Filters option in ‘Settings’. However, location based filters (called Geofilters) are only available after activating Filters settings.

In order to activate Snapchat Filters, follow the step below:

  1. Open Snapchat. Swipe down on the screen to open your profile screen.
  2. On your profile screen, tap on the little gear (screw) icon at the top right corner. This will take you to your Snapchat Settings.
  3. Scroll down on the Settings until you see Additional Services. Tap on Manage.
  4. Under Additional Services > Manage, toggle on Filters.

how to use snapchat filters

Alternatively, you can activate Filters on Snapchat directly by swiping left or right after you have taken a photo; swipe until you see a message that says ‘turn on filters’. This will take you directly to the Additional Services settings where you can activate Filters.

Geofilters require that you turn on location services on your phone. This is because Geofilters are only accessible around a specific geographical radius.

In order to turn on location services (if you haven’t done so) on your phone, here’s what to do:

iOS devices: Go to Settings (on your phone) > Privacy > Location Services > Snapchat, and select ‘While using the App’.

snapchat filters location services

Android devices: Go to Settings (on your phone) > Location > Turn on.

The steps may be slightly different on different Android phones, but it basically has to do with enabling GPS (Location) on your phone.

Depending on your location, there will be different Filters (community geofilters and on-demand geofilters) accessible to you.

How to use Snapchat Filters

Using Snapchat Filters is easy. However, lenses are slightly different, so we’ll get to that later.

In order to use Snapchat Filters, here’s what to do:

  1. Activate Filters on your Snapchat Settings (as instructed earlier); turn on location services on your phone.
  2. Go to your Snapchat camera and take a photo.
  3. Swipe left or right to use Filters. Keep swiping to access different filters and Geofilters.
  4. TIP: To use more than one filter on a photo, hold/press down on the first filter with one hand and, with your other hand, keep swiping across the screen until you find the other filter you want to add. Then release the hand that holds the first filter.

how to use snapchat filters

Depending on your location and the time, you will be able to use different filters specific to that location and time. For instance, you will see Christmas filters during the holiday seasons, but not on Summer. Likewise, you will be able to use a London city filter when you’re in London, but not if you’re in Sydney.

If there’s a wedding party and someone has created a custom On-demand Geofilter specific for that party, you will be able to use that particular Wedding Filter when you’re around the area of the party, for a specific duration (the duration is set by the person who created the filter).

Geofilters can be very accurate as Snapchat uses data stored in your phone and in third-party services that you connect with Snapchat. It is able to accurately show you your device’s battery life, your name, birthday, etc.

Also, when your birthday comes, you will have a Birthday Snapchat Filter exclusive to you. This filter only shows when it’s your birthday. However, your friends will not be able to use this filter unless it’s their birthday too.

If you’re throwing a party and want to create a filter that all the party-goers can use, you can create a custom On-demand Geofilter.

How to use Snapchat Lenses (Special Effects)

While Filters and Geofilters can be used only after you have taken a snap, Lenses can be used prior to capturing a photo or video. Lenses add special effects to your snaps. The most common Snapchat lenses include Dog filter, Flower crown filter, face swap filter, etc.

To use Snapchat lenses, follow the steps below:

  1. Open Snapchat camera. Switch to the front camera.
  2. With the front camera open and your face on the screen, tap and hold down on the center of the screen until the app reads your facial features.
  3. When the app has scanned your face, small circles will appear on the screen. These small circles are lenses.
    how to use snapchat lenses
  4. Select any one of the lenses you want to use.
  5. Follow the on-screen instructions, if there’s any (like opening your mouth or raising your eyebrows).
  6. To take a picture with the lens filter, tap on the big circle (lens).
  7. To capture a video, press and hold on the circle for as long as you want to record the video.
  8. Remember: Voice changer lenses only work on videos. So while you’re recording the video, talk or sing. The lens will change your voice automatically after you have finished recording.
sleeping filter
Sleeping beauty

You can also add filters to the snaps that are taken with lenses.

Lenses are constantly updated, so a particular lens that you use may no longer be available in the next Snapchat update. However, the most popular lenses (dog filter, flower crown, face swap) have never been removed. Here are all the Snapchat lenses currently available.

I do not see any Geofilter

Geofilters are created both by users and Snapchat team. They are mostly built around a specific holiday, landmark, occasion or a brand. So, your location and the current date and time will have a huge influence on the type of Geofilters available to you.

If, however, you’re unable to see any Geofilter, these may be the reasons why:

  1. You have not enabled Filters on your Snapchat Settings. To do so, follow the instructions given earlier in this post.
  2. You have not turned on Location Services on your phone. To do so, follow the instructions given earlier.
  3. No one has created a Geofilter for your current Location.
  4. No one has created a Geofilter for your festival. There’s usually a community Geofilter during famous festivals.
  5. The Geofilters feature is still unavailable in your country.

Even if Geofilters isn’t available to you yet, you will still have access to all the default Snapchat filters and lenses though.

Also, you can always create a custom Geofilter if no one has created one for your location or festival. Happy Filters!

All Snapchat Filters & Lenses

Snapchat Filters are overlays that you can add to your photos on Snapchat; these are available after you have taken a photo using the Snapchat camera. Lenses are special face effects that you use with your photos and videos; these are available by long pressing on the center of your Snapchat selfie camera screen.

These are all the Snapchat Filters and Lenses that are currently available. This list is constantly updated to keep up with all the new Snapchat updates. While there are no specific Snapchat Filters names given; we have come up with names of lenses and filters to easily identify them.

Default Snapchat Filters

By default, you will have access to the following Snapchat filters. To use these filters, take a picture, then swipe left or right across the picture. The more you swipe, the more filters you will see.

This is a list of all default Snapchat filters. The names of these filters are generic terms we have come up with.

Color Effects: You will have the option to choose from sepia, black and white and neon color tones.

Record Filter: Displays a frame and rec icon on top your snap.

Speed Filter: Displays the speed at which you’re travelling. You can change it to MPH or KMPH

Temperature Filter: Displays the current temperature of your location.

Location Filter: Displays your current location on your snap.

Time Filter: Displays the time the photo is taken. You can change the format of the time.

snapchat filters

Besides these default filters, there are a host of custom filters (Geofilters) that you can use. Scroll down further to know more.

Snapchat Lenses

There are currently 20 lenses available on Snapchat. These lenses can be used both on photos and videos. To use lenses, open your Snapchat camera. Switch to the front camera. Then tap on the center of the camera screen until you see small circles (lenses) appear.

With each Snapchat update, new lenses are added and old ones retired. The following is a list of all Snapchat lenses currently available. Snapchat does not give names to its lenses and filters, the names that we give are simply for identification purposes.

snapchat flower filter Flower Crown, commonly referred to as Flower Filter is one of the most popular Snapchat lenses. This lens is widely used by girls, and has been one of the longest running lenses on Snapchat.
snapchat dog filter The Dog/Puppy Filter is also among the most popular Snapchat lenses. Upon showing your tongue, this lens will display the dog’s tongue seemingly licking your phone screen. The dog filter is also widely popular among celebrities.
snapchat flower crown Flower Crown Filter: This is a newer and slightly darker version of the famous Flower Crown filter. This lens does not increase the brightness of your skin tone as much as the original flower crown does.
snapchat face swap Face Swap: This is a new and improved version of the original (no longer available) Face Swap lens. It lets you swap your face with anyone whose photo there is in your phone’s camera roll or gallery. Snapchat automatically detects faces from your gallery.
snapchat bee filter Bee Filter: Snapchat’s bee filter is relatively new, but has gained quite the popularity. Using this lens makes your eyes pop and gives you bee-like antenna and bumblebee (yellow and black) stripes.
avicii filter
Avicii Filter
blue filter
Blue color tone
Snapchat bunny filter
Black Bunny
snapchat filter
4 in 1 bunny filter
Dancing Koala
Dancing Koala
cat filter
Fancy Cat
broken mirror filter
Broken Mirror
spongebob filter
spongebob squarepants
voice changer filter
Voice changer
Frog filter
Frog Lips
snapchat voice filter
Voice changer
sleeping filter
Sleeping beauty
Snapchat love filter
Love Bubbles
Pink Panther Filter
Pink Panther
Shark filter
Blue Shark

Geofilters – Custom Snapchat Filters

Geofilters are special overlays created by users from and for a specific geographical location. Geofilters are accessible only within a specified radius of the geographic location for which it is built.

There are thousands of Geofilters all over the world; but all of these are specific to the particular location they are made for. For instance, you will have access to a ‘London’ Geofilter when you’re in London, but the same filter will not be available to you if you’re in Sydney.

Also, Geofilters can be made for festivals. If you’re anywhere in the US, you’d probably get access to the 4th of July Snapchat filter during that weekend; however this filter will not be accessible by someone living in Australia.

The most common Geofilters include City name, Site name, School, Festivals, Landmarks, etc.

There are two types of Geofilters — Community Geofilters and On-Demand Geofilters.

Community Geofilters

Community Geofilters are custom filters created by artists and designers for use in and around landmarks, festivals, schools, neighborhoods and cities.

Community Geofilters are free to create (they need to be approved by Snapchat) and free to use. To access Community Geofilters, simply take a picture on your Snapchat camera and swipe left or right. Swipe more to access more filters.

On-Demand Geofilters

On-Demand Geofilters are custom filters that are created for a specific purpose or event, including birthdays, weddings, etc. These filters are time-bound, location-bound and cost upwards of $5 to create.

On-Demand Snapchat Geofilters can be personal (those created for personal events and occasions) and business (created by brands for identity and advertisement).

These filters also need to be approved by Snapchat before they can be used.

What are Snapchat Filters and Lenses?

Snapchat filters are layovers that you can add to your photos and videos for effect. Filters enable you to show off your location, speed, temperature, time or add color tones to your photos.

By default, you will have access to the following Snapchat filters:

Color Effects: You will have the option to choose from sepia, black and white and neon color tones.

Record Filter: Displays a frame and rec icon on top your snap.

Speed Filter: Displays the speed at which you’re travelling. You can change it to MPH or KMPH

Temperature Filter: Displays the current temperature of your location.

Location Filter: Displays your current location on your snap.

Time Filter: Displays the time the photo is taken. You can change the format of the time.

Besides the above, there are thousands of Snapchat filters that you can use depending on your location (these are called Geofilters). You can even create your own filters on Snapchat.

How to use Snapchat Filters

In order to start using Snapchat Filters, you have to enable the feature from your settings. To do this:

  1. Open Snapchat. Swipe down on your camera screen to access your profile screen.
  2. On the top right corner of your profile screen, you will see the Settings icon. Tap on it.
  3. Under Settings, tap on Manage Preferences
  4. Under Preferences, scroll down to Additional Services and enable Filters.

how to use snapchat filters

Note that you should enable location services for Snapchat on your device to use Geofilters.

Alternatively, you can activate Filters on Snapchat by swiping left or right after you have taken a photo; swipe until you see a message that says ‘turn on filters’. This will take you directly to the Additional Services settings.

By activating the Filters feature on Snapchat, you should now have access to location based filters called Geofilters.

Before we proceed further however, you need to know what Snapchat Lenses are.

Snapchat Lenses – a different kind of filters

Filters are often confused with lenses, so it’s imperative that we do away with this confusion before anything else.

Lenses are special effects that you can add to your photos and videos. The most common lenses include the wildly popular dog/puppy face filter, face swap, voice changer, flower crown, etc.

snapchat lenses

While lenses and filters are basically the same in that they both add special effects to your photos and videos, there are basic differences between these two features that we need to know.

Lenses can change the appearance of your face, even the sound of your voice; Filters can not. Filters can only add layovers (messages, color tones, customized images and icons) to your snaps.

You can only use Filters after you have taken a snap (photo or video) from your Snapchat camera. On the other hand, you can use Lenses only before taking a snap.

To use Snapchat Lenses,

  1. Go to your camera screen.
  2. Switch to your front camera (selfie camera).
  3. Tap on the center of your screen and hold until Snapchat recognizes your facial features. Lenses are activated by reading your facial features.
  4. Small circles (lenses) will appear at the bottom of your camera screen to indicate that Lenses have been activated.

Most first-time users do not know the difference between filters and lenses, understandably so because both of these features are used for adding effects to snaps. The dog face lens is often called the dog filter and the flower crown lens called flower filter, and so on.

So to avoid any confusion, we’ll be using both these terms (Lenses and Filters) interchangeably. The use of the word ‘Filter’ to denote Lenses should not go under criticism.

Geofilters – location based Snapchat Filters

Geofilters are special overlays created by users from and for a specific geographical location. Geofilters are accessible only within a specified radius of the geographic location for which it is built.

There are thousands of Geofilters all over the world; but all of these are specific to the particular location they are made for. For instance, you will have access to a ‘London’ Geofilter when you’re in London, but the same filter will not be available to you if you’re in Sydney.

The most common Geofilters include City name, Site name, School, Landmarks, etc.

If you’re unable to use Geofilters, these may be why:

  1. Geofilters is currently unavailable in your country. This feature is not yet available in all countries and cities.
  2. No one has made a Geofilter for your current location.
  3. You have not enabled Filters from your Snapchat settings. To do this, go to Settings > Manage Preferences > Additional Services and enable Filters by toggling on the button.
  4. You have not enabled location services for Snapchat on your phone. To enable location services for Snapchat on your device, follow the instructions below:

    iOS devices: Go to Settings (on your phone) > Privacy > Location Services > Snapchat, and select ‘While using the App’.

    Android devices: Go to Settings (on your phone) > Location > Turn on.

To see which filters are available to you, swipe left or right across your screen after you have taken a photo.

Geofilters can be wildly accurate because Snapchat uses information from your device and other third-party services. It may sometimes include your name, your device’s battery life or even your birthday. These are information that are readily available on your device. Do not be alarmed if you see such custom filters.

snapchat lenses

There are two types of Geofilters — Community Geofilters and On-Demand Geofilters.

Community Geofilters

Community Geofilters are custom filters created by artists and designers for use in and around landmarks, schools, neighborhoods and cities.

Community Geofilters are free to create (they need to be approved by Snapchat) and free to use. To access Community Geofilters, simply take a picture on your Snapchat camera and swipe left or right. Swipe more to access more filters.

On-Demand Geofilters

On-Demand Geofilters are custom filters that are created for a specific purpose or event, including birthdays, weddings, etc. These filters are time-bound, location-bound and cost upwards of $5 to create.

On-Demand Snapchat Geofilters can be personal (those created for personal events and occasions) and business (created by brands for identity and advertisement).

These filters also need to be approved by Snapchat before they can be used.