These days, Snapchat Filters and Lenses are a must-have at any special event, but their creation can get a bit convoluted as there are many types of Filters/Lenses, uses for them, and ways to make them. The good news is making a Snapchat Filter or Lens can be as quick or involved as you want, and the tools are available for anyone to create the perfect Filter for just about any purpose.
Kinds of Snapchat Products
Snapchat offers several options for creating custom Filters and Lenses. Understanding your options might be the biggest hurdle in the whole process, so let’s break it down! When you visit their website, you’ll see three options:
1. Community Filters: Anyone can create Community Filters, but they are not available for business use and must be completely original designs—they cannot be created using Snapchat’s tools. Community Filters are either:
- Geofilters: Location-based Filters for a city or neighborhood.
- Moments: Object-based Filters that can show up at any location when a user snaps an image identified as fitting in a category (like food or pets).
2. Filters: This category consists of Geofilters only. You can create these using Snapchat’s web or mobile app, or in a tool of your choice and then uploaded to Snapchat’s website.
3. Lenses: Lenses are animated, augmented reality (AR) experiences. Anyone can customize an existing AR template on Snapchat’s website or mobile app. These utilize the front-facing camera for fun effects like sunglasses and animal ears, and pros can upload custom designs using Snapchat’s Lens Studio. Pro Lenses utilize the rear camera only and are unlocked using a Snapcode.
Filters (not Community Filters) and Lenses can either be for personal or business use, which you will indicate as part of the purchasing process:
- Personal Geofilter: Doesn’t include any branding and doesn’t promote a business. Typically for events like birthday or bachelor/bachelorette parties.
- Business Geofilter: Promotes a business or brand and must adhere to business guidelines.
Designing a Snapchat Filter
For the rest of this post, we’ll focus on Filters. Once you’ve determined which type of Filter to create, it’s time for the fun part: the design! Luckily, this part can be as quick or customized as you like. Visit the “Create” section of Snapchat’s website to get started.
The first option is to simply use a pre-set template and create your Filter in a matter of minutes. You can also create Geofilters (not Community Filters, though) on the mobile app—just navigate to Settings > Filters & Lenses. Using the web tool will give you a few more options than the app, such as the ability to add your Bitmoji or upload a custom object.
If you like the quick and easy approach, but aren’t feeling the Snapchat templates, check out Canva. Their web-based design tool has a ton of beautiful Filter templates that are easy to customize in your browser and download. After downloading your design, just upload it to Snapchat.
If you need something more custom, you may opt to build your Filter using design software like Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop. In this example, we wanted a Filter for a brewery’s 5K event, and none of the existing templates fit the bill. We downloaded vectors of a runner and beer and just modified the colors in Illustrator.
When creating your own Filter from scratch, be sure to review Snapchat’s guidelines. Files should be 1080 x 2340px and the exported file should be a PNG under 300KB with a transparent background. Improperly formatted files will not be approved. Remember that the top and bottom of your Filter may be cropped on different devices.
Adding a Filter
If you’re creating a Filter for a time-sensitive event, Snapchat recommends that you submit your Filter several days in advance to allow time for the review process and any revisions needed. To increase the likelihood of approval, be sure to carefully review Snapchat’s guidelines before submitting. If your Filter is rejected, Snapchat will give you the reason and you’ll just need to re-submit.
All Filters must be submitted through Snapchat’s web tool or mobile app, whether you’re using their tools or uploading a completed design. The tool will then guide you through the next few steps, such as selecting the dates and location for the Filter. Pricing depends on the demand for that area and how long you want to run the Filter.
And that’s it! The possibilities of Snapchat Filters and Lenses for personal and business use are pretty much endless. And with built-in tools, it’s super-easy to dip your toe into the world of Snapchat Filters.