How to get Snapchat filters

Jazz up your images in seconds

While Snapchat was originally known for its disappearing photo concept, its filter overlays have quickly become an integral part of the app - chances are if you're a regular user then a lot of the pictures you see and send will have some kind of filter put on top. 

Because there's no filter store or central repository to browse, and Snapchat has a habit of changing the available filters on a regular basis, you're stuck with whatever filters Snapchat gives you. 

Geofilters associated with specific places crop up from time to time too, so the filters you can find depend on your location to some extent.   Here's how to get at all the filters Snapchat currently has to offer. If you want to make your own for your neck of the woods, head here.

1. Take a photo and check out basic Snapchat filters

Snap your photo or video using the rear camera on your phone and then swipe right to see the basic filters you can get access to. 

Overlays include the current time and your current speed (!) though you do get different ones depending on whether you're sharing an image or a movie.   

In the case of a movie you can apply fast-forward and slow-motion effects, for example. 

There are a couple of Instagram-style filters on offer, if you want to make the colors in your picture a little more saturated or go for a film-noir style black-and-white effect, though these options are pretty limited.

2. Check out Snapchat geofilters

As you swipe right, you'll see any geofilters that are available - these overlays cover famous locations and cities, and most big urban areas now have a filter of their own. As users can submit their own, a lot of smaller places will have one as well.

You're also going to come across geofilters for specific events, like popular sports games or music festivals and so on. It's hard to say exactly when you will find a topical geofilter and when you won't, but it's always worth having a look.

Sometimes the filters you can see vary between Android and iOS, in case you're wondering why you can't access all the ones your friends can.

3. Apply a second Snapchat filter

Here's a little trick to try: with one filter applied, tap and hold on the screen (as if you're holding the filter in place), then swipe right again and you can apply a second Snapchat filter.

It's not possible to combine all of the available filters in this way but you can, for example, put the time on screen and make your picture black and white at the same time.

In fact you can tap and hold and swipe again to apply a third filter, depending on the type and position - in the case of videos you can add up to five, should you need overlays, color adjustments and a funky speed effect at the same time.

4. Add Snapchat filters to your selfies

Switch around to the front selfie camera on your phone and you get even more options to play with - these filters are officially known as lenses and let you swap faces with someone else, turn yourself into a cartoon dog character and more.

To start, get your whole face in the frame and tap on your head to bring up the row of lenses at the bottom. As you swipe between them you can see the effect on your face in real time and in some cases you get instructions to lift your eyebrows or open your mouth to complete the animated effect.

5. Share your images

With your chosen filters and lenses applied, simply share your image as you normally would, saving it to your Story as well if needed.

If filters and lenses aren't showing up, first make sure you're running the latest version of Snapchat on your device. Next, head to the settings page (tap the icon of a ghost at the top of the capture screen then the cog icon), choose 'Manage Preferences' and make sure filters are enabled (you need to give Snapchat permission to track your location to get ones specific to where you are).

As we've said, Snapchat likes to add new filters regularly, so keep swiping over your photos and videos to see what's new.